Warning: if you’re a boy, you should probably click on over to a more different choice of reading material. Like “Angela’s Ashes,” Terry Pratchett, or “Peace Like a River,” all fantastic boy-friendly books. This one, I’m pleased to say–I mean, sorry to say–is not.
My mother-in-law is a mystery addict, and she has opened my eyes to a whole new genre of books called “cozy mysteries.” They are written in long series, and almost inevitably feature a woman with a serious hobby or fun career who also does amateur detective work. There are heroines who do scrapbooking and mystery solving, quilting and mystery solving, stamping and mystery solving . . . you name it, and there’s a series. If you read the quilting ones, there are quilt patterns in the back. If you read the catering ones, there are recipes in the back. You get the idea.
For the most part I think they’re fun and harmless, but they’re not usually my preferred choice of book. Plus, as a past English major, I have an inherent sense of guilt when reading things that feature cartoonish pictures on the front with titles which are usually plays on words based on the showcased hobby, like “Stamped Out” or “The Cereal Murders”. Will people throw things at me if they discover I’m not reading Shakespeare or James Joyce or something?
I’ve since discovered that humanity has no desire to chuck things at me when I’m found surreptitiously leafing through a fun read. Thank you humanity! Though Joyce’s book of short stories “Dubliners” is a jewel in the crown of literature, just so we’re straight.
All this said, my mother-in-law managed to completely sink me with a series by Diane Mott Davidson. I don’t know what made these books click when the others didn’t, but click they did, and I have read every single one. There is something so relaxing about curling up with a book in which you know that the danger the heroine experiences will not result in her demise. She’s going to come through OK, and not just that, but she’s going to cook delicious things throughout. Today, her books rank in the top 5 of my guilty pleasures list. Also included in that list is “The Biggest Loser” and soft red Oliver wine. Mmmm. I wonder what would happen if I read one of her mysteries while watching The Biggest Loser while drinking a cuppa soft red? The world would probably explode. Presumably though, this combination is not viable since it would be impossible to read a book through the tears generated by the inspirational weight-losing stories happening on the screen in front of me. Looks like the world is safe for one more day.
The heroine of these books is Goldy Schulz, a recently divorced mother of a young son who, early in the series, falls in love with a good cop in the small Colorado town where she lives. She runs a catering business from her home, does yoga in the mornings, and solves a bajillion murder mysteries. Actually, 15 so far, to be exact. In every book she manages to get hurt (usually the work of the villain or his/her henchmen/women), so she’s always wandering around bruised but valiant, drinking loads of coffee to keep going, and catering all kinds of parties. She’s brave and funny and gutsy, and I love her to death.
If you choose to join me in my guilt, try to read the books in order, though I did not and still got hooked.
To balance out the scales, next week I will post a more sober book review on 3 classics. I promise they’re really good, and they will restore your good opinion of my taste if I have lost it via a book called “Fatally Flaky.”
I love you Diane! Keep up the good work and please publish 15 more at your earliest convenience!