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Sticks and Scones    by Diane Mott Davidson order for
Sticks and Scones
by Diane Mott Davidson
Order:  USA  Can
Bantam, 2002 (2001)
Hardcover, Paperback, Audio

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* *   Reviewed by Hilary Williamson

How can you avoid growing fond of a mystery heroine whose response to the direst emergency is to seek refuge in chocolate remedies? This caterer sleuth even labels a scrumptious recipe (included in this tale) Chocolate Emergency Cookies. The story starts with a gunshot through Goldy's window, which leads to one of the funnier quotes later in the story when a suspect denies involvement saying 'Windows don't turn me on.' Goldy's response? 'I raised an eyebrow at her. "Mac user?"'

There are more ramifications to the plot of Sticks and Scones than Davidson usually supplies, including serious bodily harm to Goldy and those closest to her. The unusual setting is a mouldering castle transported from England. An elegant woman shows up on the scene, an old flame of Tom's, to Goldy's dismay. And the Jerk is out of jail, where he formed some shady connections, including a new girlfriend who 'with her thin face and body, spiked blond hair, black-heeled boots, tight black pants, and fashionably poufed black nylon jacket, looked as if she were on her way to a stint with a punk rock band.' Poor Goldy, who feels that her own plump practicality suffers in comparison.

Delicious odours permeate the story - garlic, chili, curry, jams galore and (of course) chocolate - all redolent of a love of cooking and good food. If you like the idea of munching along with your mysteries, then pick up one of this series. Try the recipes and enjoy the plots. They're getting better all the time.

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