Killer Pancake, a Catering Murder Mystery, by Diane Mott Davidson. Review

A Goldilocks' Catering Murder Mystery, Featuring Goldy Schultz

Killer Pancake, by Diane Mott Davidson
Killer Pancake, by Diane Mott Davidson

Number Five in the Series

Killer Pancake is the fifth book in the Goldilocks' Catering murder mystery series.

Goldy Schultz is the owner of Goldilocks' Catering, in the fictional town of Aspen Meadows, Colorado. Her husband, Tom Schultz, is a police officer. They have only been married for a few years. Goldy's first husband, John Richard Korman, was and still is, abusive towards her and their son.

Marla, Goldy's best friend, was also once married to John Richard. I don't know how Goldy and Marla met, or how they became great friends. I hope I'll find out in one of the earlier books.

Goldy has one son, Arch, from her marriage to the abusive guy. Arch is thirteen.

Goldy's catering assistant, Julian, lives with Goldy, Tom and Arch. I don't know how Julian came to live with the Schultz family. Another history I'll have to catch up on.

Unfortunately, I have some problems with this particular book, see below. But, I do want to give the series another chance. I like Goldy, Julian, Frances and Marla. The discussions and descriptions of food and food preparations were fun --- and there are plenty of them.

Complete List of All Goldy Schultz Catering Murder Mysteries

In Order
of Appearance
Catering to Nobody 
Tough Cookie
Dying for Chocolate
Sticks and Scones
The Cereal Murders 
Chopping Spree
The Last Suppers
Double Shot
Killer Pancake
Dark Tort
The Main Corpse
Sweet Revenge
The Grilling Season 
Fatally Flaky: A Novel
Prime Cut 
Crunch Time: A Novel
The Goldilocks' Catering series has apparently been published by three separate companies, at different times.

Killer Pancake

Killer Pancake (Goldy Culinary Mysteries, Book 5)
Killer Pancake (Goldy Culinary Mysteries, Book 5)

Goldy doesn't especially like eating low-cal food herself, but a fancy cosmetics company insists upon all diet food at its banquet to introduce its fall line. Goldy can't afford to pass up the chance to cater it.

 

Goldy Dislikes Low-Cal, Low-Fat Foods

There is a reason why weight-loss cookbooks have you serve everything dripping with hot mustard, streaked with Tabasco sauce, or speckled with chopped peppers or red pepper flakes. They want to convince you you're actually eating something. Forget your appetite, see if this doesn't make fire come out of your ears!

. . . But, We All Have Our Price, Or So the Mignon Cosmetics Company Figured . . .

 . . . correctly, it turned out. They agreed to Goldy's enormous premium prices for catering their low-fat banquet.

Goldy even agreed to develop a recipe for chocolate torte with no butter. (Yuck!)

"Chocolate torte? . . . Ninety-nine percent fat-free chocolate flavored air is more like it."

Her only demands were: no mashed lentils, no mayonnaise, and no egg substitutes.

Julian has developed a romance with a beautiful Australian sales woman about his age --- nineteen --- at Mignon Cosmetics. They're happy together, but don't know for sure what will happen when her student visa runs out.

They don't need to worry.

Fate intervenes.

I Can Relate --- To Some Things Better than Others

I don't like low-cal, diet foods, either. I don't think they're really very healthy, despite what M.D.'s like Dr. Lyle Gordon say. Dr. Gordon treated Marla for a heart attack.

I like that about Goldy, and I love her descriptions of food, and of how she and Julian cook things and set them up for the guests.

I did not think that John Richard Korman --- the first husband --- was realistic. I don't see how any M.D. could act like that. I think Dr. Korman is thinly drawn, and shallow. He seems more like a person with a psych disability. Anybody who really acts like that needs help.

But, it's disturbing to have to read about him. I am a survivor of domestic abuse. It's unclear why he's allowed to just walk right into Goldy's home, when picking up Arch. It's unclear why he's even allowed unsupervised visitation with Arch at all.

That ruined the book for me. I felt it was just a cheap trick to get me to hate him. But, if the author wants me to believe he's a stereotypical villain, then what does the author want me to feel about Goldy's letting him have unsupervised contact with Arch.

It's inconsistent.

Life Is Worth Living --- Even If You're Not Middle Class

A family of poor folks moved in at a Habitat for Humanity home near Goldy's house. There was grandpa John Routt, and his daughter, a single mom, and her two kids, a baby and teenage Dusty, who works in the department store selling Mignon Cosmetics.

I dislike the frequent allusions to the "fact" that the Routt baby was unfortunate to be born to a single mom whose dad abandoned them. It's patronizing, and demeaning.

I am a single mom myself. My kids are all adults now.

I wish I had a buck for every time someone said, "It's cruel to bring a child into the world. Don't you use birth control? Don't you know abortion is legal?" The only place where a single mom will never hear that is from fellow Catholics in the Roman Catholic Church.


Not Recommended :-(

I really wanted to like this book, and tried hard. As I say, there are many things I do like about it. I wouldn't give a murder mystery book a low rating just because of some little credibility flaws. That's the whole point of a murder mystery --- especially a cozy.

It's supposed to be escapist. (I guess I have to add that I'm never sure if these authors consider their murder mysteries to be cozies anymore.)

There is really way too much violence in this book, as well.

First, there's John Richard Korman, Goldy's ex-husband. He terrorizes Goldy, right in her own home. Why is he even in her home at all. It was distracting me. I found it so disturbing, I couldn't concentrate on the storyline.

There's even a scene where a character has a deadly weapon in front of Arch. She doesn't point it at Arch, but still --- Arch is right there, and she's pointing it at Arch's dad --- the violent doctor.

The author must have been banking on the reader's desire to see John Richard get a big compeuppance. That's what the scene with the deadly weapon was supposed to provide, I guess. But, it didn't do that for me. It just jolted me out of any suspension of disbelief.

John Richard is not a convincing villain, because he's obviously not in control of himself. A villain has to be in control.

Otherwise, how can you hate him?

The poor guy obviously doesn't even know what he's doing. A good villain would have to have intentionality. But, that doesn't diminish Goldy's responsibility to Arch. She should be protecting him. Instead, she just says that John Richard never has done anything violent toward Arch, or in front of Arch.

Therefore, she grants total carte blanche to Arch's dad, as far as Arch is concerned. Big mistake.

I just can't recommend a book with such violence, even though there are many things about it that I do like. I found the characters of Julian and Frances especially likeable. Unfortunately, Frances is the one with the aforementioned deadly weapon.

Grandpa John Routt is a very interesting character, with a sad tale of injury caused by Mignon Cosmetics when he was serving time for driving a getaway car.

I do intend to try some of the other books from this series. I hope they won't have these disturbing scenes and characters. I'm hoping John Richard finally gets the professional help he obviously needs, and Goldy takes her responsibility to Arch a little more seriously.

More by this Author


Comments 7 comments

Susan 4 years ago

Well, I am sorry that you were a victim of abuse, but you obviously are not an expert on the subject. John Richard Korman is very much like, almost an identical twin to, 3 such abusers in my area. The law does not always keep the abusers away from their victims. Even when they do, the abusers often manage to find the victims & persecute them even more. 1 of the 3 in my area was finally imprisoned, for a totally different charge, but convinced his mom to take him home for a visit, where he drove straight to his ex-wife's home, drug her outside & beat her to death before anyone could stop him. Another of the 3 was never charged with anything, was allowed to be with the children at any time, the abused mother always had someone else with her when he picked up the children, & he did eventually kill her & both children. The law then said maybe they should have taken the other abuses seriously.... A lot depends on the laws, their intent, & how they are followed, in various areas. Oh, & of the three, 1 was a lawyer, 1 was a doctor, & 1 was a laborer. There are many others, but to think that any professional, or any doctor, could not act like this is ridiculous! And yes, all abusers have some kind of psychiatric problem, even if they are an M.D., or some other type of professional. I'm very glad that your case was solved, & that you are now living a safe live, but that doesn't happen to many abused people, even those that try everything they can to escape their abuser.


Huntgoddess profile image

Huntgoddess 4 years ago from Midwest U.S.A. Author

Hi, Susan, thanks for reading my Hub, and thanks for your comment.

Everything you say here is correct. No argument.

This is a book review. My comments are about a work of fiction. A fictional villain doesn't work for me unless she or he has deliberate malice. That's all I meant. Of course, nobody has to agree with me on that, either, though. It's just my opinion.

I do appreciate your pointing out these ugly realities about real domestic abuse and violence. I hope readers don't get the impression that I was referring to real domestic abusers.

Thank you again.


Au fait profile image

Au fait 23 months ago from North Texas

Soon as I saw the words Killer Pancake, the movie "Attack of the Killer Tomatoes" came to mind . . .

If John Richard is a successful doctor he has money. Goldy likely does not have money. You can't fight money if you don't have any of your own. People with money tend to get their way no matter what and that is why he has unsupervised visitation. In fact, I'm surprised Godly even has custody of their son. Believe it or not, the world of wealthy people is not the same as that of ordinary people. Judging them or their behaviors/actions by the same standards of those of ordinary people will only frustrate you because you are comparing apples and oranges.

Very good and honest review. I know if people wondering about this series of books finds this review they will appreciate your time and effort in writing it.


Huntgoddess profile image

Huntgoddess 23 months ago from Midwest U.S.A. Author

Thanks for reading my Hub, and thanks for your comment.

Yes, the title does kind of remind me of Attack of the Killer Tomatoes --- a very fun movie!!

Wow, that IS a really good point, Au fait --- about John Richard's "socioeconomic satus". (We're not allowed to say, "class" here in the U.S. We are supposed to be a "classless society." Tee, hee.)

I believe you, and I do know exactly what you mean. One of my kids' dads was a Wall Street stockbroker --- although he was a homeless junkie when I met him.

His dad was a professor at Columbia. Their family certainly did a number on me and my other kids, I'll tell ya.

The universe will never be a benevolent place for us.

They weren't really wealthy, though. Just well-connected.

Obviously, this is not the place to write more. I plan to eventually write a book about it.

However, I was looking at the issue as a matter of fiction. If I wrote fiction (which I never have), I would want readers to like and empathize with my main protagonist, Goldy.

Goldy's likeability and credibility are both lowered by her lack of any comment whatsoever about John Richard's access to Arch, I think.

If readers "saw" Goldy trying to get John Richard out of Arch's life, even perhaps by struggling against John Richard's wealthy slimeball attorneys or something, that would have made sense in the context of the book.

I also felt that John Richard was not a good fictional villain, because he's just too pathetic.

Thanks for the nice compliments, and thanks for reading my Hub, dear.


Au fait profile image

Au fait 21 months ago from North Texas

Your reviews are great and very helpful I should think, to anyone torn between whether or not to read certain books. I haven't been able to read fiction for several years now. Used to love it, but now I have to have nonfiction. I would most likely have read these books you review if I'd come across them 20 years or so ago.


Au fait profile image

Au fait 16 months ago from North Texas

The title to this piece makes me think of the movies Elvira used to host. Did you ever see any of those? Attack of the killer Tomatoes, and such. A great review and very interesting and well written.


Huntgoddess profile image

Huntgoddess 16 months ago from Midwest U.S.A. Author

Yes, I love Elvira!!

Wow, thanks so much for the great compliments, Au fait.

Thanks for reading and commenting. Always a pleasure!

The weird thing about the title of this book: I don't see that it has any connection with the contents! LOL

But, I guess Davidson didn't want to give away too much info, right in the title? LOL

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