First genre in my Adult Lit class is Mystery! I like mysteries but I lean more towards a grittier mystery type. I blame my mother who introduced me to Ed McBain's 87th Precinct at an early age.... I like Winspear's Maisie Dobbs; Louise Penny's Three Pines mysteries; and even Tana French's mysteries that are set in Dublin. But I felt I should read something else so I chose a "cozy" mystery.
Dark Tort by Diane Mott Davidson. It was published April 11th 2006 by William Morrow and the ISBN is 0060527315 (ISBN13: 9780060527310).
Dark Tort is the 13th book in Diane Mott Davidson’s Goldy Culinary Mystery series. Goldy Bear (now Schulz) is a caterer in a suburb of Denver, Colorado. She is headed in to prepare breakfast at her current cooking gig - a local law firm – when she literally stumbles over the body of young paralegal-in-training, Dusty Routt. She immediately attempts CPR but it’s too late – Dusty is already dead. Dusty was not only someone Goldy knew at the law firm; she was a friend and a neighbor. Dusty’s mother pleads with Goldy to figure out who killed poor Dusty. The rest of the book revolves around Goldy somewhat surreptitiously assisting the local police in the investigation of Dusty’s murder. Was it Dusty’s ex-boyfriend Vic? Or one of the wealthy lawyers at the firm? Or maybe, just maybe, a jealous wife? And what’s up with Bishop Uriah and his sticky fingers? And the insufferable office manager, Lousie Upton? Lots of red herrings and dead ends in this light-hearted mystery that comes to a satisfying conclusion when one man’s (or woman’s) trash holds the key to solving the murder.
Dark Tort fits the mystery description in our textbook perfectly! It has a murder, an investigation with lots of clues, and great character development of the investigator and suspects. I would classify it as a cozy mystery with an amateur sleuth, caterer Goldy Bear Schulz. It has the added element of including recipes so that makes it a cozy, culinary mystery. Goldy’s husband, Tom, and her son, Arch, are prominent characters in the story but her best friend, Marla, also plays an important role. Friend and mentor Charlie Baker also provides an important piece of the puzzle – even though he has recently died. I have not read the other books in the series, but I would assume that each of these characters plays a more prominent role in other books. Davidson also painted a vivid picture of late October in Colorado. At least, the portion near Denver.
I did enjoy the story - eventually - but I won't rush out and read the other books in the series. It took me a while to get hooked into the story. I found Goldy likable but it is a very light read – something that would be good for a beach vacation or a long plane ride. Maybe after I finish my degree, I might go back and revisit the fictional Aspen Meadow, Colorado and see what else Goldy cooks up. Be forewarned – don’t read these books on an empty stomach or when beginning a diet! The description of the potato and sausage casserole made my stomach grumble with hunger pangs. I would recommend this series to anyone who has read other cozy mysteries and enjoyed them - especially if they liked the ones that centered around food!
People who enjoy reading fictional books about Colorado, such as books by Kent Haruf, might enjoy the setting of this mystery series. Also, readers of cooking memoirs such as Julie and Julia: 365 Days, 524 Recipes, 1 Tiny Apartment Kitchen: How One Girl Risked Her Marriage, Her Job, and Her Sanity to Master the Art of Living by Julie Powell or Voracious: A Hungry Reader Cooks Her Way through Great Books by Cara Nicoletti might find them to be a good match.