Bake Until Golden is a Sweet End to a Tasty Series

Susan Ellingburg

Authors: Linda Evans Shepherd and Eva Marie Everson
Title: Bake Until Golden
Publisher: Revell

The final entry in the popular "Potluck Catering Club" series reads like … well, like the final entry in a series. If you've been following the adventures of the cooking companions this should wrap up their stories with a neat little bow on top. If this is your introduction to the series, it's a bit like coming in at the middle of the movie.

That's not to say you won't be able to catch up. The authors are careful to furnish any important details new readers need to know.

In fact, ‘careful' seems an apt description for the entire book. It's as if they looked at the cozy mystery criteria checklist and meticulously marked off each one. Female friends and femme fatales? Check. Fashion notes? Check. Food? Check and doublecheck. That's not a criticism, you understand, just an observation.

Each chapter is written from a different Club-er's perspective, which can be disconcerting if you fail to note the name at the top of each chapter's title page. (Don't ask me how I know.)

But enough of all that; let's get to the story. Previously in The Potluck Club series, a group of women began cooking together, went on a cooking reality show, won a million dollars, and started a catering company. So far, so good. The trouble begins when they come home from a television interview on Daystar and start finding bodies.

No, I'm not going to say whose bodies; it would be rude to spoil the surprise. There will be more than one and may or may not involve murder. That's all you need to know at this point. As well as dead people, there's a buried treasure mystery dating back to Gold Rush days and the modern-day equivalent of a lost heir. The last two are moderately entertaining side stories but don't add much suspense to the proceedings.I will say that one of our heroines finds herself suspected of murder and it's pretty much her own fault. She may be a committed Christian, but that doesn't stop her from struggling with serious anger issues. Like the rest of the crew, she's not perfect, just forgiven. To complicate matters even more, another Club member works for the sheriff's department—and is related to the victim. Family, friends, and fatalities: a recipe for disaster in anyone's kitchen. Fortunately, it's the kind of disaster that makes for yummy reading.

Of course when you see a title that includes "bake" and mentions a "potluck," you KNOW food will be involved—and it is. Everyone in the book eats better than I do. Even better, there are recipes in the back of the book. Lots of lovely mouthwatering recipes.

In summary, Bake Until Golden is a fairly tasty tale. It's not going on my list of great mysteries, but it's a pleasant way to while away a couple of hours. Just make sure you have snacks at hand. Reading about all that luscious food will make you hungry!

**This review first published on February 7, 2011.