Caterer and sleuth extraordinaire Goldy Schulz jumps from the frying pan into the fire as she tries to solve a puzzling murder that is much too close to home, in this latest entry in the New York Times bestselling series from "today's foremost practitioner of the culinary whodunit" (Entertainment Weekly)
The Whole Enchilada
Goldy Schulz knows her food is to die for, but she never expects one of her best friends to actually keel over when she's leaving a birthday party Goldy has catered. At first, everyone assumes that all the fun and excitement of the party, not to mention the rich fare, did her in.
But what looks like a coronary turns out to be a generous serving of cold-blooded murder. And the clever culprit is just getting cooking.
When a colleague—a woman who resembles Goldy—is stabbed, and Goldy is attacked outside her house, it becomes clear that the popular caterer is the main course on a killer menu. With time running out, Goldy must roll up her sleeves, sharpen her knives, and make a meal out of a devious murderer, before that killer can serve her up cold.
New York Times bestselling author Diane Mott Davidson wrote three novels before one was accepted for publication—when she was 41. She has since written 14 more mysteries, all featuring Goldy the caterer. In addition, she has written short stories and poetry for various publications. Davidson has won the Anthony Award from Bouchercon, and has been nominated for the Agatha, another Anthony, and the Macavity Award. In 1993 she was named Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers' Writer of the Year.
Davidson was educated at St. Anne's School in Charlottesville, Virginia, where her English teacher, Emyl Jenkins, encouraged her to become a writer. She attended Wellesley College, where she was named a Wellesley Scholar, before transferring to Stanford University, from which she graduated with a double major in Art History and Political Science. Several years (and one child) later, she received her MA in Art History from Johns Hopkins.
Davidson has volunteered for numerous organizations. She was a tutor in a correctional facility, rape-victim counselor, and served for 10 years on the Board of Examining Chaplains of the Episcopal Diocese of Colorado. For years she taught the adult Bible study at her parish, where she was also licensed to preach.
Davidson has been married to her husband, Jim, for almost 40 years. They have three sons, a daughter-in-law, two grandchildren, and a basset hound.
A fitting end to a good series. I will miss reading more of Goldy's antics! Perhaps it will come back again... :( The characters were always so vivid.
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In this 17th book in the series, Goldy the caterer looks into the suspicious death of a friend. The book can be read as a standalone.
This isn't one of Diane Mott Davidson's best efforts. In this book Goldy is catering a Mexican food birthday party for a teen after which the teen's mother - a close friend of Goldy's - suddenly collapses and dies.
Goldy feels compelled to find out about her pal's mysterious death and as usual thrusts herself into the police investigation. Soon afterward Goldy's pastor is stabbed and a rival caterer who tried to steal Goldy's business is murdered.
I don't want to give away essential plot points but the story involves too many disparate elements: terrible parents, misuse of trust funds, art shenanigans, unfaithfulness (and more) to ever mesh together in a satisfactory way. Goldy also bullies witnesses and leaps to conclusions from the tiniest hint of "evidence." I liked this series for a long time but for me Goldy is losing her mojo.
This was yet another cozy series that I read for ages, then gave up on only to discover there was just one more book in the series. I guess I'm more of a completist than I thought as I spent a few days with this book - one I knew I probably wasn't going to like much, but felt compelled to read anyway.
I gotta admit that there was a pretty intriguing little mystery going on in this one, though the convoluted circumstances surrounding the murder made it nearly impossible to figure out who-dunnit. Sheesh! The author does bring everything to a nice conclusion, and provides warm little epilogues for all her characters.
I think the main problem in Davidson's tales, and the one that kept me from enjoying the series more, is that her main character, Goldy Schulz, is rather dull and lifeless. I'll remember her as an uninteresting gal who chugged a lot of caffeine, and let her obnoxious teenage son walk all over her. Even after reading seventeen books, I've never understood why her husband and friends are so devoted to her.
On the plus side - there was Goldy's friend Marla - always ready with a funny quip, AND the recipes. I've tried many of them, and they are delicious, and mostly hassle-free. This one, my husband's favorite cookie, is the one that's earned me the most compliments:
16 T (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened 1/2 cup confectioners' sugar 3/4 t vanilla extract 1 1/2 C all purpose flour 1/2 C rice flour (available at health food stores) or all purpose flour 1/4 t baking powder 1/4 t salt
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
In large mixing bowl with electric mixer, beat the butter until it is very creamy. Add the confectioners' sugar and beat well, about 5 minutes. Beat in the vanilla.
Sift the flours with the baking powder and salt, then add them to the butter mixture, beating only until well combined.
With floured fingers, gently pat the dough into two pans (8 inch, ungreased). Using the floured tines of a fork, score the shortbread into eighths. Press the tines around the edges of each shortbread to resemble fluting, and prick the shortbread with a decorative design if desired.
Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, or until the edge of the short- bread is just beginning to brown. Allow to cool 10 minutes on rack. While the shortbread is still warm, gently cut the marked off wedges. Using a pointed metal spatula or pie server, carefully lever out the shortbread wedges and allow them to cool completely on a rack.
Makes 16 wedge shaped cookies.
So yummy that I'll even offer an espresso toast to Goldy - Cater only to those you love, and enjoy your retirement!
I must be getting cantankerous in my old age but Goldy Schultz did not really amuse me this time. Here are my problems with her in this book: 1. Who goes to her parties or hires her? There is always a dead body at her catering events. 2. She has gotten rude. She shows up at 8 am on a Saturday morning to interrogate somebody. Yesterday she had thrown the man and his wife out of his son's birthday party. Then she wonders where their common courtesy is. Really? 3. Why are sheriff deputies helping her in her catering business while on duty? Please. 4. Why is everyone she knows independently wealthy? Julian, Marla, Ophelia? 5. Why is there no recipe for the chile relleno torta? 6. Is this her last book? I think so. I think it's time for Goldy to hang up catering apron. Just how many murders can there be in one small town?
I gave this book 2 stars and not 1 like I really think it deserves, only because I did manage to finish the whole thing.
I finally found out, yes it took me this long to do this, that this author had retired after this book, so no more speculation as to why this book was so...er...well better I leave it unsaid.
Can This Be the End of Goldy and her Snooping?
This was one of the most convoluted books I have ever read. Mysteries are supposed to be somewhat difficult to figure out, or the readers just would not bother reading them. Unfortunately, this book was filled with too many red herrings, a lot of possible plots, and interesting ideas that had been started and then never expanded upon. In addition, there were so much unnecessary (and boring) details of daily life; clothing, décor, etc. – that I eventually wanted just to start skimming the wordy book just to get to something interesting.
This novel had more characters than Carter has pills, and I wish the book would have come with a descriptive list just so I could keep all the main characters, secondary, tertiary, and so on, characters straight. The ending came from virtually nowhere and was quite unsatisfying. Goldy’s usage of her husband’s job on the police force has become a farce. Tom just comes off looking like a fool, as does Boyd and the other police people that are there to “protect” Goldy. No one and nothing can stop Goldy and Marla – even Tom, who supposedly upholds the law---for everyone. And this is a big problem in my eyes. Why Marla and Goldy don’t get PI licenses is beyond me. Had they done so, it would have helped me suspend my disbelief and put a more believable spin on this book.
If you are not Episcopalian, you may have some issues with the very religious aspects of this book.
What once was a cozy mystery series of a caterer doing her best to create a life for her son and do her best at her job while using her smarts to clear up wrongdoings has changed to something I don’t even recognize anymore.
Perhaps what happens in the epilogue is evidence that this will be the last book in this now-tired series.
When this series first came out, with Catering to Nobody in 1990, I found it quite fun and enjoyable. Goldie and I shared similar backgrounds and interests and there was an element of humor that lifted my spirits. By the third or fourth book, however, several things about the series became tiresome and downright annoying.
Let’s not forget this entire series takes place in a span of about 6 years (Archie is 11 in book 1 and 17 in book 17).
Let’s start with Aspen Meadows, vying for “Murder Capitol of the World.” They ought to make a reality series called “The Real Housewives of Aspen Meadow” because there is more backstabbing, gossip, lying, treachery, adultery, illegitimacy, nastiness, alcoholism, shallowness, and sheer bitchiness than any reality series out there. NEVER go to a doctor or lawyer in Aspen Meadows. They sleep with their patients/clients, do more "mal" than practice, overcharge, over-prescribe, embezzle, boondoggle, lose rights to practice, and even switch babies (I’m pretty sure that figured in one book). How about the bizarre weather and the road department’s lack of preparedness. It is always snowing/flooding/burning in Aspen Meadows. Dangerous roads are never repaired, closed or cleared. The police are kindly and well-intentioned but useless to abused spouses and unable to solve simple crimes. Perhaps they spend too much time looking after Goldie.
Goldie is obsessed with her abusive ex-husband. She never gets past her victim mentality and continues to allow his emotional abuse as she whines and complains for several years after his death. It’s as if Davidson cannot let her character grow.
Archie is an obnoxious spoiled brat and needs a (figurative) smack upside the head. Goldie caters (no pun intended) to him in a way that insures he will never have a healthy relationship with a woman. And what’s up with not hugging or showing public affection for Archie because he’s a boy and will be embarrassed? Geeze, Goldie, embarrassing your kids is part of parenting.
The supporting characters are one dimensional, including Goldie’s detective husband Tom, who is a caricature of the romance hero. He’s the handsome guy in the background providing support, superlative love-making, handy in the kitchen, with coffee and massages at the drop of a towel. Tom has no needs, no life outside of Goldie and his job to get in the way of the plots. Goldie constantly takes and Tom gives. Even to the ludicrous point of including her in police investigations.
And a word about the recipes. The Dungeon Bars and Gourmet Spinach soup from early books are favorites in my home. But later recipes have become so convoluted, snooty and pretentious I don’t even bother to look at the recipes anymore.
In 6 novel-years (24 real-time years), 17 novels and good Lord I’ve lost count of the deaths, Goldie has learned nothing. She is headstrong, stubborn, careless, unthinking, and selfish. Her curiosity and need to do what she wants to do when she wants to do it comes before anything else in her life. Despite being a supposedly talented and competent caterer who exercises and does yoga, her clumsiness is frequently a plot device. She is constantly falling, having auto accidents, being assaulted, shot, knifed, poisoned, and … have I left anything out? She spends so much time in the hospital she is probably uninsurable at this point.
The review of this book: Predictable, repetitious, and uninteresting. Tom wants to have a baby.
I have read all of the books in this series, and frankly, sometimes I wonder why. They first started out as an interesting concept - a caterer, with a police investigator husband, who gets herself involved in mysteries who is aided by her best friend a wealthy socialite. The books are very light reading, and include some of the recipes that are mentioned in the book.
I love British mysteries and "cozies" - the authors make them seem more serious somehow than most of their American counterparts who usually have some kind of "gimic" (in this case a caterer.) It is difficult most of the time to believe that Goldie's husband, Tom, lets her get away with her investigations, while his own team is investigating. I cannot imagine this happening anywhere except fiction, even in a small town near Denver, like Aspen Meadows. In this book, Tom actually even goes with Goldie while she investigates (or rather "snoops".) And frankly, I could care less what, Marla, Goldie's best friend is wearing - the author really doesn't describe any one else's clothing, so why just Marla's. It doesn't seem to flow.
The author seemed to repeat herself quite a bit. First we would have the scene, then Goldie would describe it to someone, usually her husband, and finally, she would think it over. It is as though the author were looking for filler to get the book to a proper length. The ending did surprise me, but mainly because there were no actual clues leading in that direction.
I really didn't hate the book, but I didn't like it that much either. The prologue made me think that this might be the last of the series, and perhaps that's a good thing.
The Whole Enchilada, the 17th book in Diane Mott Davidson's Goldy Bear Culinary Mystery series, is the apparent conclusion to the series. The story stumbles to a rather too-simple conclusion to a series for which I had somewhat higher hopes. Readers of the series may as well finish it out with The Whole Enchilada, but don't expect to be fulfilled at the end. As with the previous installments in the series, main character Goldy the caterer stumbles into The Whole Enchilada and, despite being distracted by the supposedly scrumptious food she and her assistant make, by the end is hospitalized for injuries she carelessly and rather ridiculously sustained while solving the central mystery in the book. The reason I stuck with a series that I will admit is no feat of excellent writing or surprising plot lines is Davidson's exploration of spousal abuse, recovery of self-esteem and ultimate empowerment. Sadly, Davidson seemed to have lost that plot in the long interim since the first book in the Goldy Bear Culinary Mystery series, leaving readers with too-light plots and predictable stories. By the end of The Whole Enchilada, I didn't really care who committed the murders - I just wanted it to be over. The ending, clearly meant to provide readers with a happy and fulfilling conclusion to Goldy's story, instead seemed forced - a rushed, too-simple happy ending to what should have been a much more nuanced story of Goldy's journey to empowerment. Readers of the Goldy Bear Culinary Mystery series may as well finish it out with The Whole Enchilada, but it is a weak finish to a series that started with much more promise. I have tried some of the recipes in the previous books and found them quite bland, so I doubt I'll bother with Davidson's planned Goldy Bear cookbook. Ultimately, Davidson let readers down with The Whole Enchilada.
The Whole Enchilada is the 17th book in the Goldy Schulz Culinary Mystery Series. I recently ranted about authors who seem to become bored with their own characters and series. It's refreshing that Ms. Davidson still seems to enjoy writing this series and has a lot of fun with Goldy.
For those of you that aren't familiar with the series, Goldy Shulz is a caterer in Colorada who is married to a policeman. Each novel is based on a crime that has taken place in their town with some connection to Goldy or a friend of hers. Goldy loves to 'help' solve the mystery and trouble ensues.
Yes, it is pretty formulaic. And the twists and turns aren't earth-shattering. But, boy, is it fun to read about her adventures. Her long-suffering and devoted husband works well as a secondary character along with her best friend (and ex-husband's ex-wife?!?!?) Marla.
Is The Whole Enchilada going to change your life? Nope. However, I really liked the easy reading and relaxed nature of this installment. 3.5/5 stars and recommended as a good cozy mystery.
I won an ARC of The Whole Enchilada through the Goodreads Firstreads program and thank them!!
Skimmed to finish. Felt like the end was the end of the series. and if it is I think series fans would be happy with Goldy'S ending. I am bored by Goldy and find this was formulaic and filled with filler.
By book 17 in the series, the characters are old friends, Goldy, Marla, Tom, Archie, Julian and the rest; nice to see them again even though someone or other has to die for us to get back together. For mystery readers that is not as sad as it sounds. We expect a sudden murder and relish the suspense, the clever sleuthing, and the brilliant wrap-up. However, this was not, in my opinion, Diane Mott Davidson's best book. In fact it may be her worst. The wrap-up chapter was long and introduced many new facts, with a suggestion of "I just have to finish writing this book by tomorrow so i'll sum up the last hundred pages in one chapter and be done with it." Seriously, that's what I think she did! I haven't tried the recipes so maybe they are a redeeming feature of the book. They LOOK yummy.
I've read all of the Goldy books and find this one to be my least favorite. I got annoyed at the repetition of information that the author kept slinging at the reader . First we were in the scene, then later on Goldy would repeat the scene to someone and then she would remember the scene in detail. Your readers are not that dense, Ms Davidson. We follow you. The last twenty pages go by fast and filled with great storyline. Most of this book is filler or the author just wanted to stretch it out. I'll keep reading her because I love the characters and the plots are usually good. This one...not much.
I love a good culinary mystery, purely light reads just for entertainment. This book was a delightful read, as have been all the other Goldie the caterer books, though it's not my favorite in the series. I received a free pre-release copy from the publisher.
The Whole Enchilada story begins with a 17th birthday party for Arch, the son of Goldie the caterer. Wish I'd been there as the recipes sounded fabulous! Fortunately, I can make those Enchiladas Suizas myself with the included recipe. No party of Goldie's goes without extra added drama, and there is plenty of drama lurking at this party! The birthday bash ends with the mysterious murder of one of Goldie's good friends. As usual, Goldie does some investigation, and in that process gets into all sorts of unexpected trouble. While it is the same basic premise as the other books in the series, the twists and turns are always unique and entertaining. Solving the case turns out to be logical, but a total surprise! And there is an extra added bonus in the story that left me hanging and wanting more--I can't wait for the next book in the series to see how the extra complexity plays out!
I have not read any of the previous books in this series, and am not an established fan of Davidson, so if you are looking for someone who knows these books well it isn't me. I found the book unsatisfying. I was looking for charming, funny and sweet, similar to the Joanne Fluke books. But I didn't really like Goldy Schultz nearly as much as I liked Hannah Swensen, and her family and friends.
I used to "swallow" each Goldie Shulz mystery, but this one dragged. I got through it thanks to the marvelous Barbara Rosenblatt (reader) and to the fact that I was on a staycation. Boring. I tried it twice before, and this time it took determination to stay on it. Characters no longer interested me, the story was boring, but the worst part was that it was interminable. The last chapter which explained all the storylines was plain didactic. Even the good things must end at some point. Apparently, the author has retired. Thanks, Ms. Davidson, for a fun ride but enough is enough.
I've been avoiding cozies of late because I was beginning to find them tiresome. However, I really do enjoy Davidson's Goldy the caterer novels. Plus there are enough murders to make it a little less - er - cozy! The book opens with Goldy preparing the food for a joint birthday party for her son, Arch, and his friend, Drew. Drew is the son of an old friend of Goldy's. She and Holly had been very close at one time. In the years since they were part of a threesome that called themselves Amour Anonymous - three women who were married to doctors, but now were divorced - Goldy has become a successful caterer, Marla is wealthy in her own right and Holly has become a successful artist who makes custom portrait collages. That night Holly collapses outside of Marla's house (she had volunteered her home for the party) and is dead from what may be a heart attack. Soon it is obvious that it is not. Furthermore, there's a fun little subplot about a little rich girl who is underestimated. This was a lot of fun. The writer gets into a lot of detail about food. The recipes look great. Enjoy!
Several years have passed since Davidson’s last book in the series about Goldy, the Colorado caterer, who has survived any number of life changing events – an abusive husband, single parenting, starting a new business who is now married to a highly ranked police detective in Aspen Meadows, Colorado.
This novel allowed me to reconnect with her older son, her protégée, Julian, and Marla, her best friend. However, there was too much coming and going and considerable reaches for the lengths she will and can go in an investigation. The reader needs to suspend belief that even some of this would be allowable.
While I enjoy the discussion of food prep that is imbedded throughout the novel and recognize its therapeutic value etc., the plot was convoluted and difficult to follow in places. Further, the epilogue was unusually lengthy, tying up what seemed to be too many plot lines, introducing new material, and just a bit too much.
I am not such a fan of this author, but I can't stay away from the books! The recipe for Chocolate Comfort Cookies in The Grilling Season has become a standard of excellence in my family.
The writing is very clumsy at times, there are uncomfortable exchanges of dialogue one after the other, and if you do any cooking yourself, you will find the prep time for her catering dishes somewhat improbable. But the heroine has a sweet relationship with her husband and child, and the Colorado setting is nicely depicted. Good quick reading. Don't wince too often!
OH, and just to pick one more nit -- if the entire action of your book takes 3 days, please don't take me from a positive pregnancy test through the birth of the baby in your EPILOGUE!
For some reason that I cannot explain, I keep reading these mysteries. I think I do it just to see if Goldy and the other characters have changed at all. In this particular book (her last?), all I can say is that Goldy is slightly less strident than she has been in previous stories. She's still clumsy, headstrong, arrogant, and overly-protective of Arch (who is still bratty as usual) and marginalizes Tom. As with past stories, this one also has a number of twists and turns and the one redeeming quality - plenty of descriptions of tasty food.
This mystery is muy bueno! My favorite parts of this book are when Goldy is describing the food. She makes it sound so appetizing. The mystery involves the murder of her friend Holly during a party that Goldy is catering. She soon becomes a target for murder too. The book ends with a beautiful surprise. I loved Barbara Rosenblat's performance on the audio. She was the perfect Goldy. Don't miss this cozy mystery if you love culinary mysteries or Mexican food!
The story took so long to tell that I fell out of the suspense. I'm not sure what my feelings are for this book. Each section gave me different opinions. As much as I love to read, I can't count the number of times I stopped the book to talk on the phone (bored).
This was a fun, simple murder mystery to read. A friend lent it to me to read after I raved about a cookie recipe she shared with me and told me the recipe came from a Diane Mott Davidson book. Each of her Goldy Schulz books includes recipes at the end. Goldy is a caterer / sleuth and there are many references to food in the book which will make your mouth water. It isn't the most well written book I've ever read or anything .. but it was fun and a good distraction.
Another solid, enjoyable book from Diane Mott Davidson! So many potential suspects, the story just kept building, leaving me guessing right up until the reveal. Still hoping my library snags the remaining books in this series, because given the quality and crafting of the two books I've been able to read, I just know I would enjoy the rest. Nice surprise at the end. Very worth the time to read.
Like Jessica Fletcher, dead bodies appear wherever Goldy is, which is a definite negative when she is holding her catering events. I am not sure which takes up more of her time, catering or investigating murders. Light and breezy, this novel is filled with appealing characters and encourages you to play "Who done it".
Book 17 and the last book in the series. By now the characters are old friends; Goldy, Marla, Tom, Archie, Julian and the rest. Not the strongest book in the series which I started after finishing all the Sue Grafton Kinsey books. Definitely not in the same league as those but an enjoyable series overall.
So trashy and fun and not very well-written. I will never stop reading this series, which I started back when Diane Mott Davidson did! And I will question her sense of time in EVERY book which has ridiculous amounts of things crammed in an hour. Suspension of disbelief for vacation reading, ya'll.