Thursday, February 4, 2016

Book Review: Peach Cobbler Murder

The Hannah Swensen series by Joanne Fluke is very formulaic and yet the formula works over and over again. I will say that my interest is starting to ebb, but I fully intend to give it some time away and then return to more books (since my library has several of the volumes in audio form from this point on in the series). I guess I'm still hooked enough to be interested in finding out who Hannah ends up with. Sadly, I accidentally stumbled on a spoiler that, in the most recent book published, Hannah is set to marry a different man from the two who are courting her in this murder mystery - seriously?

In Peach Cobbler Murder, Fluke has given Hannah a rival for both her business and one of her two boyfriends. Southern belle Shawna Lee Quinn has opened a bakery business across the street from The Cookie Jar and is seriously cutting into Hannah's customer base. Plus, Mike Kingston continues to dedicate a lot of attention to Shawna Lee (somehow it is okay for Hannah to kiss and date another man, but not okay for Mike to spend time with another woman). When Hannah stumbles upon Shawna Lee's dead body, she knows that she is a prime suspect. Thus, it is truly up to her to solve this mystery and put the right man or woman behind bars. (One of the things that tests the willful suspension of disbelief is how frequently Hannah solves the mysteries while the town's detectives barely lift a finger to find the truth.)

After reading six other Hannah Swensen books, I was almost too familiar with the set up. Hannah does her sleuthing, with the help of her sister, Andrea, and business partner, Lisa. She comes up against the killer in a final show-down, but is saved by an unexpected source. The bad guys are put down and Hannah saves the day for yet another book. Amazingly, the small Minnesota town of Lake Eden, has triumphed despite another murder on the books. As I said, much of it pushes the envelope of plausibility and yet the cozy mysteries are entertaining. Add in the ten new recipes, if you're into that kind of thing, and you can see why some readers keep coming back (including me).

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