by Kathleen Costa
Hallmark Movies & Mysteries has premiered a new signature mystery series starring a pair of Hallmark regulars: Nikki Deloach and Andrew W. Walker. The two have partnered before, so their connection is one they’ve perfected. The Curious Caterer series is based on the Goldy Bear (later Goldy Schultz) Culinary Mystery books by Diane Mott Davidson which once again have provided a fun, clever, and entertaining cozy.
It’s dark. Goldy is running through the woods. She falls. There’s a gun…
Four days earlier.
Goldy Berry (Nikki Deloach) is divorced, mother of a teen daughter, and running a catering business in Elk Park, Colorado. She’s been hired to cater the Booster Club luncheon at her daughter’s school, and is humbled by the flow of compliments for her culinary delicacies. This includes her good friend, psychiatrist Dr. Laura Smiley, who can’t help but down a few chocolate-coated shortbread cookies. Laura, however, is a bit distracted. She has something she wants to share with Goldy and asks that she pop in at her home later that night.
Goldy’s ex-husband, Dr. Richard Berry, is in attendance promoting his new investment opportunity for the Elk Park Wellness Center with Dr. Owen Gentle and spearheaded by Archie Dennison, husband of the wealthy Adele Dennison, the booster club’s president. It’s not all business, though, Goldy learns that Brad Bowman, her daughter’s teacher, is interested beyond parent/teacher conferences, and would she be open to a date?
The luncheon was a success, so Goldy takes off to meet with her friend and find out what was bothering her. On the way, she’s stalled by a road accident. It’s Laura…and she’s dead! The lead investigator, Detective Tom Schultz (Andrew W. Walker), is sensitive to her loss, but that doesn’t last when Goldy starts insinuating herself into the investigation often caught talking to people of interest or snooping key areas. The detective scolds her appropriately, but he recognizes she’s an insider and intuitive to boot and begrudgingly an informal partnership is formed. But, is there a bit of personal interest detected?
Together, they deal with several interested parties theorizing Laura’s death, and since forensics is delayed, suicide seems at the top of the list. But, they also discover an ex-boyfriend hiding in plain sight, rumors of an affair and a disgruntled wife, a witness to Goldy’s husband arguing with the victim, a burglary at the victim’s home, similarities with this death and a suspect’s first husband, and a clinic client who may be an obsessed stalker. Goldy is sanctioned to do a bit of covert interrogation, records helpful information, and finds herself being chased through the woods by a killer.
It’s all great cozy fun! I absolutely vote for more!
Unlike some of Hallmark’s mysteries, for me, Curious Caterer is more engaging, well-written with reasonable actions and reactions, and a great cast ensemble that looked good and interacted well. I didn’t roll my eyes once or say “What?” to question a characters’ predicament. Due to their previous co-star roles, Deloach and Walker make their new character’s conflicts and connections realistic and endearing. Ok, we knew that ultimately the death would be officially deemed murder, but the delay in forensic reports and cause of death added to the intrigue allowing the pair (and viewers) to explore several probable suspects with plausible motives without preconceived ideas. And food? Plenty of talks in the kitchen and taste testing a new recipe, but, unlike the books, no recipes!
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