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Tough Cookie    by Diane Mott Davidson order for
Tough Cookie
by Diane Mott Davidson
Order:  USA  Can
Bantam, 2001 (2000)
Hardcover, Paperback, Audio

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* *   Reviewed by Hilary Williamson

Goldy's life is never simple ... this time the drains in her renovated kitchen are at fault, causing her catering business to fail its kitchen reinspection. In Goldy's words 'The time before Christmas should be full of laughter, parties, shopping, decorating, baking, family gatherings. So why was I dealing with the loss of my beloved business, a live television fund-raiser for a kind, outdoorsy fellow who'd died in an avalanche, and - as of twenty minutes ago - a crazy, earring-studded guy sending poisoned love notes to a cop?'

That's Goldy for you; there's always a lot on her plate. As usual, the mystery plays second fiddle to the food, the settings and the cook's commentary on events, as when she is asked 'Are you getting any? In Colorado, this meant snow, not sex.' I also liked her comment on motherhood 'I longed to create a Mother's Day card that told the truth: You can't win'. Of course it is especially true of Goldy's tolerant approach to her son Arch's everlasting teen sulks.

This time Goldy is hosting a PBS cooking show in the posh ski resort of Killdeer, Colorado. She tries to raise Christmas funds by selling a valuable set of antique skis to a sleazy local art critic, whom she once dated. Of course, he is murdered and there are links to two previous deaths. It's almost a case of curiosity killed the caterer when someone objects to her sniffing around, and forces Goldy's van off a snowy mountain road. But our heroine always snoops her way to a solution.

She manages the same recipe for success this time, though with less help from her friends than usual. You can't take this Tough Cookie too seriously but she's always entertaining.

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