In college, it is exam time for students and grading hell for faculty. For tax people (and in deed for many people), it is April 15 -- or this year April 17. But that is not what I am writing about today. Yep, it is a new murder mystery with a punny title -- Crunch Time by Diane Mott Davidson. A Wellesley alumna, Davidson has published loads of mysteries iwth food related themes, focused on her key character -- Goldie -- who is a caterer in Colorado in a town called Aspen Meadows. She has been through a marriage to an abuseive husband, is remarried to a (former) cop, and has a son who is in high school. Across the novels, there have been various twists and turns, but in every case it involves food, Goldie's eye for detail, and murder. In fact, I have reviewed prior books by Davidson here.
In this case, one of the key plot twists/character elements involves a set of Cuban refugees, which makes for some interesting foodie (not to mention political) commentary. There are puppies (lots of them), a school dinner, snow in the Rockies, and trips to Denver, all brought together by the effort to solve some puzzling murders (of course). Have you ever eaten guava marmalade? It is a recurring note here, though inessential to the plot really. Like many mysteries, one question here is whether a friend is really telling all the truth, and if not, why not. And, like all of Davidson's there are tidbits here of fmeinism in the guise of perspectives on marital abuse.
Davidson seems to me to be at the top of her form here, as it is a more full novel than some of hers -- and I do not mean only that it is longish. The characters are multiple and the the possibilities for the core of the murder so many one wonders if Aspen Meadows is where crummy people go to bother each other. But, it is also filled with lovely people who take care of their own -- and of strangers. Small town life.
As always, recipes at the end. As always, a fun romp and a good way to hide from the "real" world -- whatever that is.