Tough Cookie (Culinary Mystery Series #9)

Tough Cookie (Culinary Mystery Series #9)

by Diane Mott Davidson

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A deliciously deadly novel by the New York Times bestselling author of Prime Cut.

“A surprisingly tart and savory reading experience.”—The Washington Post Book World

When caterer Goldy Schulz is offered a temporary stint hosting a cooking show for PBS, she jumps at the chance. After all, she could use the money—not to mention the great exposure. Plus taping the shows at Colorado's posh Killdeer Ski Resort will be fun. A little cooking, a little chitchat. What could go wrong?

The answer: everything! When Goldy has to do one of her shows live for a PBS telethon, the broadcast is riddled with culinary catastrophes—from the Chesapeake Crab Cakes right down to the Ice-Capped Gingersnaps. But the deadliest dish of all comes after the cameras go off—and a baffling accident claims a life. Then a series of suspicious mishaps places Goldy's own life in jeopardy, and she knows she'd better whip up her own crime-solving recipe, and fast—before a deadly dash of danger ends her cooking career once and for all. . . .

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780307430373
Publisher: Random House Publishing Group
Publication date: 11/04/2009
Series: Culinary Mystery Series , #9
Sold by: Random House
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 336
Sales rank: 8,874
File size: 2 MB

About the Author

Diane Mott Davidson lives in Evergreen, Colorado with her husband and three sons and is at work on her tenth novel.

Read an Excerpt

Show business and death don't mix. Unfortunately, I discovered this while hosting a TV cooking show.

Up to then, I'd enjoyed being a TV chef. The job didn't pay well, but this was PBS. Arthur Wakefield, the floor director, had crisply informed me that most chefs made nothing for guest visits, much less five thousand clams for six shows. He could have added: And what's more, those chefs' kitchens haven't been closed by the county health inspector! But Arthur said nothing along those lines. Like most folks, he was unaware that my in-home commercial catering kitchen had been red-tagged, that is, closed until further notice.

So: Bad pay notwithstanding, I was lucky to have the TV job. Actually, I was lucky to have any food work at all. And I certainly didn't want more than our family and a few friends to know why.

I could not tell my upscale clients -- those who'd made Goldilocks' Catering, Where Everything Is Just Right! the premier food-service business of Aspen Meadow, Colorado -- that our plumbing wasn't up to code. And of course, I could never let it be known that my dear husband Tom was ransacking the house for valuables to sell off, so we could buy fancy drains and thereby get my business reopened. No plumbing? No drains? It sounded nasty. Sordid, even.

In September, things had gone badly. The county health inspector, giggling from the shock engendered by his surprise visit, closed me down. The bustle in our kitchen immediately subsided. Calls for catering gigs stopped. Suppliers sent letters asking if I wanted to keep my accounts current. Yes, yes, I always replied cheerfully, I'm looking forward to reopening soon! Soon. Ha!

Without my business, an enterprise I'd lovingly built up for almost a decade, I entered a spiritual fog as thick as the gray autumnal mist snaking between the Colorado mountains. I gave up yoga. Drank herb tea while reading back issues of Gourmet. Spent days gazing out the new windows in our beautifully-remodeled-but-noncompliant kitchen. And repeatedly told Tom how gorgeous the kitchen looked, even if I couldn't work in it....

Truly, the place did look great. So what if it didn't meet new county regulations mandating that every commercial kitchen sink have backflow protection? Months earlier, Tom had rescued the remodeling job after a dishonest contractor had made our lives hell. During time away from his work as a Homicide Investigator for the Furman County Sheriff's Department, he'd put in marble counters, cherry cabinets, expensive windows, a solid oak floor. And the wrong drains.

To fix the problem, Tom was now tearing out the guts of three new sinks and prying up the floor beneath. He insisted we should heal our temporary cash-flow problem by selling a pair of historic skis he'd bought years before in an odd lot of military memorabilia. In October, I'd started calling antiques dealers while wondering how, during a prolonged closure, I could keep my hand in the food business.

There'd been no takers for the skis. How else to get money? I'd wracked my brain for other ways to work as a cook: Volunteer at a school cafeteria? Roll a burrito stand up and down Aspen Meadow's Main Street?

Eventually, it had been my old friend Eileen Druckman who'd come through with a job. Loaded with money and divorced less than two years, Eileen had just bought the Summit Bistro at Colorado's posh Killdeer Ski Resort. Eileen -- fortyish, pretty, and blond, with cornflower blue eyes and a full, trembling mouth that had just begun to smile again -- had hired a good-looking young chef named Jack Gilkey, whose food was legend in Killdeer. To Eileen's delight, she and Jack had quickly become an item personally as well as professionally. When I told Eileen my business woes, she and Jack had kindly offered me the position of co-chef at the bistro. But I couldn't work restaurant hours -- seven in the morning to midnight -- fifty miles from home. Restaurant workers, I'd noticed, had a high mortality rate, no home life, or both.

Eileen, ever generous, had promptly pitched a cooking-show idea to the Front Range Public Broadcasting System. They'd said yes. I'd demurred. Eileen argued that my cooking on TV, at her bistro, would boost her business plus give her a huge tax write-off. Meanwhile, I could use my television exposure to publicize the new culinary venture I'd finally hit upon: becoming a personal chef. That particular avenue of food work requires no commercial kitchen; it only requires a wealthy client's kitchen. Just the ticket.

So I'd said yes to show business. The Killdeer Corporation had offered free season ski-lift passes to me as well as to my fourteen-year-old son, Arch. Shot through with new enthusiasm and hope, I couldn't wait to cook and ski. I gave up herb tea for shots of espresso laced with whipping cream. In November, I plunged eagerly back into work.

Every Friday morning, I would appear at Killdeer's Summit Bistro to do my bit before the camera. At first I was nervous. And we did have a few mishaps. Thankfully, Cooking at the Top! was taped. Viewers never saw me slash my hand -- actually, sever a minor artery -- while boning a turkey during the first episode. The spray of blood onto the prep counter had been distinctly unappetizing. The following week, I produced a meringue so sweaty it needed antiperspirant. I also dropped two roasts -- one of them stuffed -- and splattered myself with a pitcher of Bearnaise. But with glitches edited out, even I had to admit the Saturday morning broadcasts looked pretty good.

On the upside, I told jokes on-screen and mixed cream into smashed garlicky potatoes. I chatted about the rejuvenating properties of toasted, crunchy almonds while folding melted butter into almond cake batter. I gushed about the trials and joys of learning to ski as I chopped mountains of Godiva Bittersweet Chocolate. I swore to my viewers that my recipe made the darkest, most sinfully fudgy cookies on the slopes. I even assiduously followed Arthur's tasting instructions: Take a bite. Moan. Move your hips and roll your eyes. Say M-m-mm, Aaah, Oooh! Yes! Yes! Watching the footage, Tom had quipped that the program should be called The Food-Sex Show.

All in all, the first four weeks of taping went well. By Week Four, though, my personal-chef business still had not taken off. I only had one upcoming job. Arthur Wakefield himself had offered me a gig the following week: preparing food for a holiday in-home wine-tasting. Arthur supplemented his floor director income by working as a wine importer. He needed to showcase some new wines -- and serve a gourmet meal -- to high-end customers and retailers. So, even in the personal-chef department, things were looking up.

Unfortunately, in Week Five, Cooking at the Top! hit a snag, one occasioned by a predictable Colorado crisis: blizzard.

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Tough Cookie (Culinary Mystery Series #9) 3.8 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 48 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Really hoping there will be new ones coming out. I have them all
Ryan_G More than 1 year ago
When Goldy Schulz is offered a temporary stint hosting a cooking show for PBS, she jumps at the chance. After all, she could use the money-not to mention the great exposure. Her catering business is in shambles, and publicizing her new venture as a personal chef will help get her back on track. Plus taping the shows at Colorado's posh Killdeer Ski Resort will be fun. A little cooking, a little chitchat. What could go wrong? Unfourtunately for Goldy, a lot could go wrong. Horrible snow storms covering the land which makes her driving back and forth between home and work hazardous to her health, and the job isn't quite doing what she needed it to do to begin with. She's only booked one client for her personal chef buisness, and that her boss at the PBS station. Add on a murder, attempted murder via car plunging down side of a mountain, and threats against her family and you have a fun little mystery set in the moutains of Colorado. I don't want to give too much away but I was able to figure this one out about halfway through the book, but the way it's delivered more than makes up for it. The ending is a hair raising chase full of action and danger. This is the second book I've read in this series, not in order, and I highly enjoy them. Goldy is well written and her policeman husband and bratty yet sweet teenage son, help ground her as a character. One of my favorite things about the Goldy Schulz series are all the great recipes that are included within each book. This book serves up 10 delisciously sounding dishes that I'm going to have to try out. As soon as I make the Snowboarder's Pork Tenderloin and the Chocolate Coma Cookies I will let you know how they turn out.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This was the first book I read of hers, and I loved it so much I went out and bought all the others at once! I just wish she would bring to life her husband as well as she has her son and best friend. But all in all, once of the best series that I've ever read!
Guest More than 1 year ago
For me it seems like the Goldy series just gets better and better! The killer is a total shock and the plot is just wonderful. If your looking for a good book this is your ticket!
Anonymous 16 days ago
krissa on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This series has grown, and I like the changes it¿s making. Not only has Goldie and her family grown and changed, she has `matured¿ too. She doesn¿t do (as many) stupid things as she used to (I equate it to the girl that goes by herself down in to the dark basement in a horror movie.). I think Tom has been a good influence on her. And yet they are not less interesting, and there is not less action. For a caterer she gets sucked in to a lot. I like that they are light, fast reads. It bothered me a little that this one (and I think the last one) were `out of town¿. But I guess there can only be so many murders in one small town before it get hokey. And it¿s as good of way as any other to get new blood (no pun intended) into a series. Definitely and addict, and will definitely be finishing the series. =D
MsBeautiful on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Enjoy this character, love hearing about cooking/recipes
kingsportlibrary on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
The main character in Diane Mott Davidson's Tough Cookie is a caterer, meaning the book is riddled with cooking metaphors and references. It also contains several recipes which is a neat twist. Any fellow cookbook-for-pleasure readers will enjoy this book. The mystery part of the book is a bit too obvious and somewhat unbelievable, but the book is worth reading for someone looking to read a quick, easy book for fun.
caroren on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago

Culinary mystery, filled with lots of fun and recipes, plus an exciting plot.  Goldy Schultz is trying to get her catering business up and running again, while making some extra cash doing a series of cooking shows at an Aspen ski resort, where a dead body is found.

WillowOne on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Goldy Schulz, caterer extraordinaire, has been shut down by the health department. In an unexpected visit to her home several violations have been found and in order to resume business these items must be fixed. Goldy begins working for a PBS cooking show to try and make enough money to make renovations. Goldy's husband Tom decides that he could sell some of his military memorabilia to help out and that is were is all unravels. Tom has an old pair of skis that are supposedly worth ten thousand dollars. Goldy finds a buyer, who happens to an old acquaintance. What Goldy doesn't know is how this man connects to many parts of two previous mysteries and how this is just the start of a very tangled web.I was impressed with Mrs. Davidson's mystery writing ability. I liked the fact that she did not gush about her recipes through her characters and I was captivated and kept guessing until the very end.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Always a page turner! Always a page turner!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
A Rollercoaster plot. Very good read!
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Silly. Poor character develepment. (A un -paid review)
sherlockSW More than 1 year ago
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dkreaderMI More than 1 year ago
Another entertaining tale of the multi-talented caterer.
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