Crunch Time by Diane Mott Davidson
Description: Colorado caterer Goldy Schulz cooks up big trouble as she tries to help her longtime friend and fellow chef Yolanda Garcia. When the rental house shared by Yolanda and her irrepressible aunt Ferdinanda is destroyed by arson, the pair move in with cop-turned-PI Ernest McLeod. But then Ernest is shot dead and his house is set on fire, nearly killing Goldy, Yolanda, Ferdinanda, and nine beagle puppies that Ernest had recently rescued from a puppy mill.
Concerned for her friends, Goldy invites them to stay with her while the sheriff’s department investigates. Yet even Goldy’s house isn’t safe, and after a failed break-in by an unknown intruder a cop is sent to keep an eye on things. Then a second body is found.
Swapping her chef’s hat for a sleuthing cap, the intrepid Goldy steps up the investigation. But she’s got to move fast. It’s crunch time to close in on a killer, before he can close in on her. (via amazon)
Review: This is one of my favorite book series. I love culinary mysteries, and I love stories where the setting is important, and this series catches it all. While it wasn't my favorite book in the series, it was still a jam packed action ride.
This book was full of new and returning characters, and sometimes it was hard to keep them all straight. I love the character of Goldy Schultz and the way she can get people to talk (usually baked goods are involved!), and in this book she is at her best. However, two newer characters, Yolanda and her great Aunt Ferdinanda were kind of annoying. Having Ferdinanda in a wheelchair seemed a bit gimmicky.
There are a lot of storylines going on at once so it got a bit chaotic at times. Ernest had several clients when he was killed, so each of their storylines are developed along with the main "whodunit" mystery. There are also a few other sidelines and characters thrown in for good measure.
I did like how so much of Crunch Time, like the other books, depended on the mountain setting. Some of the most pivotal parts of the story couldn't happen in, say, the wetlands. Davidson is very good at putting the reader right with Goldy in her big ole catering van tooling around Aspen Meadows.
While this wasn't the best of the series, I do highly recommend them. Start with the first book Catering to Nobody.