Catering to Nobody



  • Catering to nobody / Diane Mott Davidson.


Publication Info

  • New York : Bantam Books, c2002.


  • 0553584707 $6.99 (US) ; 10.99 (CAN)


  • 301 p. ;


  • Paperback
  • Compact disc (Publisher out of business)
  • Hardcover (Out of print)


  • Mystery
  • Suspense


3Q, 4P

Reader’s Annotation

When Goldy’s ex-father-in-law is poisoned, her catering business is shut down and she decides to investigate for herself.


Goldy Bear takes a job catering the wake of a beloved teacher who has apparently committed suicide. At the wake, her ex father-in-law becomes violently ill. Rat poison is found in his coffee cup, and the police shut down Goldy’s catering business. Her abusive ex-husband blames Goldy in front of everyone. Desperate to support herself and her young son through the holiday season, Goldy decides to help the police with a little of her own investigating. As she digs deeper, she uncovers long-buried family secrets involving the dead teacher and stirs up a hornet’s nest of trouble.


Catering to Nobody is an entertaining and quick read. Davidson drops enough clues to keep the attentive mystery-solver following along, but holds something in reserve. The violence happens “off-screen,” so to speak, and the language is clean, but the author also deals with some fairly heavy themes which keep the story from drifting off into fluff. Goldy is a heroine many women can relate to, but other characters are shallow or stereotypical. The writing occasionally gets a little cheesy, like this line on page 3, “Long ago I had learned to stop depending on regular child support payments from Arch’s father, even if he did have an ob-gyn practice with an income as dependable as procreation,” but it’s part of the charm of the book. Enjoy it as escapist entertainment and a nice little puzzle to solve.


The author’s page at HarperCollins


A fun article in The Denver Post




Reader’s Read

Appeal Factors

This book has factors that could appeal to both traditional mystery readers and cozy mystery readers. It’s culinary theme will also draw a certain audience.


Chocolate Chip Cookie Murder, by Joanne Fluke. These books share the genre mystery and a culinary theme. Both include recipes.

Death by Rhubarb, by Lou Jane Temple. These books are both light mysteries with a culinary theme and recipes. They also share a strong female protaganist.

Death by Darjeeling, by Laura Childs. This book is also a light mystery with a culinary theme and an amateur female sleuth.


Anthony Award nominee; Agatha Award nominee

Booktalk Ideas

A booktalk could focus on events at the wake, culminating in discovering the poison in Fritz’s cup. Alternatively, it could be a character description of Goldy also mentioning her various family ties in the book.

Discussion Questions

A cozy mystery happens in a setting where everything is really nice, except for this murder. Violence happens off-stage and it usually contains no graphic language or sex. Do you think this book falls into the category of cozy mystery? Why or why not?

Who was your favorite character and why?

Do you think Goldy and Marla should warn Arch’s new fiancee of his violent tendencies? Why or why not?

How long did it take you to solve the mystery? Did you figure out both suspects?

Why I chose this book

This was a book discussion group choice. Culinary mysteries are also popular at my library, so this seemed like a good introduction.

Memory Hooks

Goldy Bear, catering, rat poison




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