“I’m Sorry, I’m Usually Not Just…” “Dealing with the Death of a Dear Friend While Talking to a Detective in Your Kitchen?” “Yeah, Pretty Much.”
I know I read the first book in Diane Mott Davidson’s mystery series years ago, but I didn’t go on with it. Still, when I found out that Hallmark was going to use the series for the inspiration for The Curious Caterer, their newest mystery movie franchise, I was all in. Dying for Chocolate premiered this last Sunday, and I enjoyed it.
Goldy Berry (Nikki Deloach) is a divorced single mother trying to make a go of it with her catering business. She’s just been hired to cater a lunch for the private school her daughter attends and where her friend Laura (Erin Boyes) is now working as a counselor. Laura has something she wants to tell Goldy, but they don’t have a chance before Laura leaves. Goldy is going to meet up with Laura when she comes across an accident scene. It turns out the accident involved Laura, and she is dead.
That’s when Goldy meets Detective Tom Schultz (Andrew W. Walker). Tom has questions about the accident, and it isn’t long before Goldy does as well. As she begins to gather clues, she starts working with Tom to solve the case. Will she figure out what is going on?
I did have to laugh when this movie employed one of my least favorite tropes in the first few minutes. If you ever know a secret about someone – blurt it out to everyone as quickly as possible or you’ll wind up the victim of murder. Poor Laura hadn’t learned that lesson, and she died as a result. However, once I got past that, I got caught up in the story.
While Tom doesn’t necessarily welcome Goldy’s efforts to solve the case, I appreciated the fact that he still treated her with respect. I also appreciated how Goldy went to Tom with what she learned quickly and often. They avoided two more tropes of the cozy mystery genre right there, which I appreciated.
And I liked both of these characters. There is obvious chemistry between them, which was also fun to watch.
Overall, the mystery is strong with several good suspects and multiple secrets that Goldy has to uncover before she can figure out who did it. I also liked how the final pieces clicked into place for her and us at the same time.
Those who are fans of the books will definitely notice some differences here. I looked up the first two books in the series, and this movie’s plot sounds like it might sort of maybe have an element or two in common with those early novels. But the characters are very different, making them more Hallmark friendly than they are in the series. I approve of the changes, but I’m sure they will bother those who are invested in the books.
I’ve been watching some older Hallmark mystery movies in the last few months, and I can definitely see how the quality of these movies has improved over the years. There is still a little bit of cheese, but it isn’t nearly as bad as it used to be. (And I’m happy to say that it’s not just that I’m getting used to it.)
I’m hopeful that we’ll see more of movie in this new Curious Caterer franchise. Dying for Chocolate is a promising beginning.