Diane Mott Davidson, Author . Morrow $24.95 (310p) ISBN 978-0-06-052729-7

The divine diva of the culinary cozy returns with a crime novel that will have fans of Goldy Bear Schulz, caterer and caffeinated sleuth, cheering as they race for the nearest pastry shop. The 12th carb-laden installment of Goldy's adventures (Chopping Spree , etc.) offers as its main course a toothsome corpse –du jour: Goldy's abusive ex-husband, Dr. John Richard Korman ("the Jerk"), whose shenanigans have annoyed a long-suffering Goldy and enlivened Davidson's series since its debut 14 years ago. After Goldy arrives at her new catering center to prepare for a memorial luncheon, she's attacked; when she comes to, she discovers that her kitchen is full of spoiled food and overrun with mice. She immediately suspects her longtime nemesis Korman, who's out of prison after serving less than a year for aggravated assault and living lavishly in Aspen Meadows with Sandee Blue, his "fifty-fourth conquest"—a young stripper, according to his other ex, Marla, Goldy's entertaining sidekick. When Korman attends the almost-sabotaged event, he argues with Goldy over their son, Arch. Shortly afterward, he turns up dead alongside Goldy's missing gun, making her a prime suspect in an aromatic brew of murder and mayhem. This marks a turning point for Davidson, as the elimination of Korman provides a much needed jolt to the series. Her latest noir-flavored cozy may attract new readers to a sleuth who feverishly cooks through any crisis and whose recipes are now gathered at the back of the book. (Warning: do not read on an empty stomach!) Agent, Sandra Dijkstra . 9-city author tour. (On sale Oct. 19.)

Reviewed on: 09/13/2004
Release date: 11/01/2004
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