Saturday, January 16, 2016

Book Review: Sugar Cookie Mystery

Joanne Fluke's Hannah Swensen series is my guilty pleasure. Although I know it is by no means literature of substance and it doesn't lead to deep thoughts, I still seem to enjoy the series. Even as I read along, I find myself picking apart little things in the story (in this particular one, Hannah is told not to inform others of the murder, yet she proceeds to blab the information to almost every single person she interviews or talks to). Yet, I'm still hooked on the main character and hanging on to find out which beau she will choose in the end (is there an end yet? I think there are nineteen to date). I can't imagine reading all nineteen, since the books are extremely formulaic (Hannah wavers between her attractions to the two men, a body shows up, the authorities rely on Hannah's detective abilities, the murderer is ferreted out and multiple delicious recipes are divulged). Nonetheless, I'm always glad when I can find another one in audio form, to walk to in the morning, and even when I have to physically read the books (as I did this one), the read goes by very quickly (read this one in one afternoon).

In this installment, Sugar Cookie Murder, Hannah is gearing up for a dinner to showcase the recipes for the Lake Eden Holiday Buffet Cookbook. A member of the community is returning to town with the new wife he found in Vegas. Sparks will fly as the old wife attends the dinner where the new wife is set to be introduced. Not surprisingly, Hannah discovers a body in the parking lot and everyone is kept indoors on the pretense of a blizzard that is blowing through. While everyone is trapped inside, waiting out the storm, Hannah investigates and - voila - solves the murder.

This was probably my least favorite in the series. It was a bit too neat and tidy. There were so many arguing voices in my head. The actual detectives do next to nothing while Hannah solves the mystery. A five year old writes a letter to Santa that is quite unbelievable and sophisticated. The blizzard doesn't seem to impede their progress when Hannah's sister goes into labor and has to be rushed to the hospital. The suspect list was quite flimsy. The solution to the mystery seems to simply fizzle at the end.

And yet, here I am intending to look up book seven, Peach Cobbler Murder, to see if my library has it in audio or bound form. Something keeps drawing me into the stories and I cannot look away. If you are looking for a series of fluffy, cozy mysteries - look no further. Hannah Swensen is the gal for you (but don't start with this one). And if you are at all interested in trying new recipes, then you've hit pay dirt. In this book, the recipes even went further afield than desserts, as it provides a variety of recipes from the Lake Eden Buffet Cookbook. The only ones I'm interested in trying are the recipes for Spinach Quiche and E-Z Lasagna, but over fifty recipes in various categories are offered at the end.

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