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5.0 out of 5 stars Fudge Cupcake Murder
Hannah Swensen, the red-haired and sassy-talking baker at the prosperous bakery The Cookie Jar in small town Lake Eden, Minnesota, is back at her amateur sleuthing ways for yet another time to solve a murder mystery in the fifth installment of the Hannah Swensen cozy mystery book series by best-selling author Joanne Fluke.
Hannah is now the teacher of a nightly...
Published on March 27 2006 by ravenclaw29

versus
3.0 out of 5 stars an entertaining but "light" read
I'm a fan of the Hannah Swenson mystery novels, but I have to admit, I kept on reading "Fudge Cupcake Murder" because I enjoyed the interactions between the characters and because I wanted to know if Hannah had made up her mind as to which one of her beaux (handsome police detective Mike Kingston who makes her pulses race, or dependable dentist Norman Rhodes who...
Published on Feb. 29 2004 by tregatt


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5.0 out of 5 stars Fudge Cupcake Murder, March 27 2006
This review is from: Fudge Cupcake Murder (Hardcover)
Hannah Swensen, the red-haired and sassy-talking baker at the prosperous bakery The Cookie Jar in small town Lake Eden, Minnesota, is back at her amateur sleuthing ways for yet another time to solve a murder mystery in the fifth installment of the Hannah Swensen cozy mystery book series by best-selling author Joanne Fluke.
Hannah is now the teacher of a nightly all-girls' cooking class for the Lake Eden high school girls at the Jordan High School. Hannah loves teaching the girls how to cook countless desserts, especially since all the girls are bubbly and helpful and willing to learn. In unused classroom right next to Hannah's cooking class, her sometimes-boyfriend, Detective Mike Kingston, is now also teaching a class for teenagers, except his is self-defense.
A man representing the publishing company that published Connie Mac's best-selling cookbooks now needs another baker for a new cookbook. And thus, while browsing Lake Eden, the publisher chooses Hannah for the job. Now, Hannah has been working vehemently hard, trying to round up all the best recipes the Lake Eden residents have to offer, and she's been struggling to get her hands on the delicious Coconut Cream Cake from Hal & Rose's Cafe.
More recently, however, Hannah has been anxiously awaiting the elusive arrival of the secret recipe for Fudge Cupcakes from Ted Koester's mother. After Old Grandma Koester's death, Ted's wife, Beatrice, forages the Fudge Cupcakes recipe from a dusty recipe box. But Old Grandma Koester took the final secret ingredient of the Fudge Cupcakes to the grave with her, and Hannah has to make fruitless attempts at experimenting with different sweet ingredients to discover the missing piece.
While experimenting with the secret ingredient of the Fudge Cupcakes late one night at Jordan High after the cooking class ended, Sheriff Jim Grant strolls into the room, and samples one of the Fudge Cupcakes, a batch made with an attempt at peanut butter. Later, when Mike accompanies Hannah to take out the trash to the dumpster in the school parking lot, Hannah makes a gruesome discovery---Sheriff Grant's dead body lies in the dumpster, and with some of the fudge frosting from Hannah's cupcakes smeared on his shirt!
This time around, there's no way Hannah is going to have any regrets about doing her own little "illegal" investigations of who the murderer of Sheriff Grant really is; because this time, the lead suspect is Hannah's very own brother-in-law, Bill Todd---Sheriff Grant's rising rival in the battle of the polls for Lake Eden's sheriff. Everyone seems to suspect poor Bill---even Mike---except for Hannah's closest friends and family.
Once again, Joanne Fluke has written a great cozy culinary murder mystery, with wacky characters, a comical subplot involving Moishe refusing to take his Senior Cat Diet Pills, and the activities of upcoming Halloween holidays crammed into the whole entire story. This fifth installment in the Hannah Swensen series is just completely wonderful.
Highly recommended!
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4.0 out of 5 stars I enjoyed it., March 7 2011
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I am making my way through the books in this series and really enjoyed this one. The murderer and why was a surprise to me up until the end. The antics of Moishe the cat are always enjoyable and amusing. I do find the subplot of Hannah, Mike and Norman to be tiresome and unbelievable. As someone who grew up in a small town, this is quite far-fetched. However, all in all, I would recommend it to anyone who wants a nice cozy read.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Give Me FLAVOR & Hear Me ROAR!!, May 12 2007
By 
Linda G. Shelnutt "Mystery Novelist" (Rockvale, CO USA) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
True to her series' successful addictions, again Fluke provides readers with an anticipated invite into morning routines with Hannah's macho cat, Moishe, this time introducing the battle of the Crunchies.

This cat continues to do a reader capture, maybe a kidnap. His shenanigans could make a cat-a-phobic warm up to hair balls. If possible, Moishe has kicked up the flavor of his mystique in this Fudge cupcake venue. Wonder if he's ever heard Emerile bam around his TV stove-top? Loved the various executions Moishe devised for flavorless Crunchies.

"To be or not to be; that is the question ..."

-- Shall the choice be for Crunchies of grrreeeaat taste but bad rep?

-- Or shall it be nada taste with "Good-for-you" tag-of-approval?

I have the uneducated taste to ask, is there a question?

The Vet has advised Hannah to cajole Moishe to gobble up Senior Cat Food, with a force-feed-tag included if necessary. Throughout the novel I pray that Hannah wises up and gives Moishe his "burger" HIS way. (This was a ruff-n-tumble alley cat prior to Hannah taking him in; eating who knew what out of the sewers of life.)

Of course Hannah's morning ministrations wouldn't be complete without her unwelcome mother clanging into a busy daughter's life, a mother reviled with relish, so much so that whenever the comely cat sniffs The Mother's presence, even over telephone wires, Moishe hisses with ears back, tail twiching warning.

Dolores doesn't appear to be a Joan Crawford parading the "Mommie Dearest" mystique. The M.D. (Mother Dolores or Mommy Dearest a la Swensen) here is merely a nosey, critical, demanding, domineering, bad taste influence in Hannah's life, a woman who always refers to Hannah, tellingly, as "dear," and never hits a good time to step into Hannah's constant rush.

Fluke develops characters with a generous pen, with just enough savory spice and redemptive reprieve. It seems that Fluke dearly wants to paint Dolores as a hometown, modern day, sour-milk-mamma, destructive to a daughter's spirit shining gleefully off-beat to her own drummer. Yet, as I continue reading the Hannah Swensen series, I catch welcome flashes of redemption flickering through devious Dolores's seemingly thin veneer of character.

Myself being a 59 year-old-reader who will forever grieve the loss of a Mom, who grieves the loss of ongoing opportunities to show deserved appreciation and admiration to that treasured woman, I welcome any flash or flicker of Hannah's developing an expanded generosity toward Dolores's foibles.

Fluke continues to sensitively paint Hannah defending her valid youthful needs for independence and space, appealing to women who identify too well with the conflict of an ageing, single mother needing validation and compassion for a rapidly arriving life passage, a passage which can be antithetical to a young daughter stretching and strengthening a new backbone. That tricky relationship-demand is a worthy, vital one to feature in fiction.

All of us have irritating personality rough spots, and any mother is in a potent position to harm the psyche of a child. My Mom and I were human enough to have mild personality-clashes and need-dichotomies, but she was a woman who had earned admiration and respect. She was a Margie, not a Dolores. Gotta remember that as I continue reading this series. (I now have an Amazon Short available on the USA site, COAL & COCA-COLA, which celebrates my Margie, who loved fudge cupcakes, and developed a secret sweet roll recipe which became famous in her Malt Shop bakery.)

Returning to a well plotted novel with plenty of perky maternal ambiance, in this Fudge Cupcake w/Secret Ingredient story, the Mother's hoarding a secret! This twin pair of secret-plot-yarns shored my curiosity to an entertaining level, kept it there, and tucked the threads into a denouement tapestry to weave for.

Enjoyed the morning routine twist in this book when Hannah was dreading Dolores's voice on the phone and heard Andrea instead. Liked the fact that Dolores distanced herself a bit from her daughters in this book. Maybe Dolores was stepping out of a warn-out character, turning the tide of interest toward her instead of away? Might this be a good sign for those daughter readers who've lost Mom and continue feeling that loss? I hope so.

Also enjoyed the focus on Mike in this mystery, with Norman kept off page somewhere through most of the plot (though I honestly like both these men, almost equally). The draw of Mike's sex appeal was played well in this book, stimulating Hannah's bemoaned lack of sophistication into steaming up her cookie wagon windows, as she happily learned a little late in life about adolescent auto alignment. Fluke filled up the tank of readers' questions about to whom (when, why, and where) Hannah will give an exclusive commitment.

With coffee for blood, this cozy author percolates ongoing, unanswered questions. I won't say which ones were answered here and which ones were tabled for later treats. I'll just say I closed the book with hunger pangs satisfied, yet with an appetite for more in this series.

Linda G. Shelnutt
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5.0 out of 5 stars THE AUTHOR IMPROVES WITH EACH BOOK, Dec 13 2005
By A Customer
I have read the whole series and I am excited to note that they are getting better. While the interactions between the characters remain the same and the darling kitty continues to steal the show, the murder plot seems to get better. They are smoother and more believable and the author drops subtle hints so that it does seem more like a true murder mystery. Really looking forward to new books by her.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Delicious Small Town Murder, July 1 2004
By 
This review is from: Fudge Cupcake Murder (Hardcover)
If cozies are your cup of tea, you'll savor this latest entry in the popular Hannah Swensen series. It's charming, chatty, pleasant, and easy to digest. Adding to the fun are the several original (and quite good) cookie recipes and enough baking tips to warrant keeping Fudge Cupcake Murder on the shelves in the kitchen.
--Marcianne Miller, author of The Artful Cupcake
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4.0 out of 5 stars What Is The Secret Ingrediant, June 17 2004
By A Customer
This review is from: Fudge Cupcake Murder (Hardcover)
Hannah Swenson, owner of the Cookie Jar in Lake Eden, Minnesota is having a couple of problems.
First there's the sheriff's race, where Bill, her sister Andrea's husband is running against Sheriff Grant.
Secondly, she's attempting to put together a cookbook filled with Lake Eden's favorite Potluck dishes. And the late Mrs. Koester's fudge cupcakes are proving a problem.
Beatrice Koester's very anxious to have the cupcake in the cookbook, for her husband Ted's sake. He & mom were very close. Unfortunately, the recipe includes 1/2 cup of secret ingredient. It's up to Hannah and her partner Lisa to try and find out what that ingredient is.
So it trial and error as they bake and bake. Hannah's first batch is taking to the Potluck Cooking class that she's teaching at the local community college. (They're testing all the recipes.)
Sheriff Grant is at the college, and Hannah gives him a couple of cupcakes to try out. Unfortunately, he wasn't able to give a review as when she's putting out the trash, Hannah finds the Sheriff's body in the dumpster.
Who'd want the sheriff dead? Did it have anything to do with the election? What about his son's death in a car accident a couple years ago? Or maybe it was the "big case" he always found and solved just before elections.
Things get even worse, when Bill is taken off duty by acting Sheriff Mike Kingston,(Hannah's Boyfriend), as a possible suspect.
Hannah and Andrea have to work hard to find who the killer is, before Bill gets arrested.
Highlights:
Hannah's relationship with her two boyfriends, Mike the Cop and Norman the Dentist. Both great guys, and it's unusual for there to be two boyfriends in a series.
Family and Friends. This series has wonderful relationships between Hannah and her family and her friends. There are a lot of returning characters in each book, you really get to know them well.
Murder Victim - Another unusual thing to this series, is that the murder victim is often someone who has appeared in previous books. Sheriff Grant has been in the books from the first, so it was surprising to have him killed off.
Hannah's cat Moishe. He almost makes me a cat lover.
Great Recipe's.
Lowlights:
Guessing the killer was too easy. I knew who did it very early, but not why, so it was still an enjoyable mystery.
Hannah acting totally stupid at the end of the book. There was no reason for any of it to happen if she had done things a little smarter.
This is a great series. I've already pre-ordered the next one, The Sugar Cookie Murder.
If you're looking for another good series to read while you're waiting, I found a one by Victoria Pade, there's only two books, Divorce Can Be Murder & Dating Can Be Deadly, but they're both very funny along with a good mystery.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Fudge Cupcake Murder: A HannahSwenson Mystery, May 18 2004
By 
Marilyn Prater (Terrell, TX United States) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Fudge Cupcake Murder (Hardcover)
This is a light hearted piece of fluff with great recipes. Hannah has a family and life that many of people can relate to whether they be male or female. The mysteries are woven into the family life and community in a far northern city. Ice fishing and endless snow in the winter and melting hot weather in the summer. Hannah's Fudge Cupcakes are to die for, sometimes trying to find certain ingredients can be a challenge. Most recipes are easy and should be started ahead of when needed and baked the next day. The plot will keep you turning the pages to try to figure out "who dunit". This is a fun read but still challenging.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Strong on Character, Short on Mystery, May 11 2004
By 
This review is from: Fudge Cupcake Murder (Hardcover)
Right at the top, let me assure you that I love the Hannah Swenson series. Perhaps I've read too many, or maybe I was just on the right wave-length, but I knew the killer even before I knew the motive, and I knew that a few chapters later. It took Hannah quite a bit longer to figure it out. Still, I adore these characters and Ms. Fluke's writing. If you're a fan, you'll still love it; just don't expect a heavy dose of mystery.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Fun and well written, April 22 2004
This review is from: Fudge Cupcake Murder (Hardcover)
When cookie caterer Hanna Swensen's brother-in-law becomes a murder suspect, Hanna throws herself into the investigation. Bill was running for Sheriff against the victim and he might lose the race because of the suspicion. What Hanna finds is that Sheriff Grant had plenty of enemies, including both Bill, his own wife, and just about every deputy in the Sheriff's office. Still, she doesn't need more suspects, she needs evidence to clear Bill and, she hopes, to find the actual killer.
Of course, an amateur sleuth has more to do than follow clues. Hanna has her cookie business to run, a pregnant sister to take care of, a mother who's continually demanding that she settle down, get married, and start producing children, and two boyfriends to balance. One of the boyfriends, Mike, just happens to be the acting sheriff who put Bill on suspension. So, unless she can clear Bill, she's also cut herself off from the man who sends her hormones into overdrive.
Author Joanne Fluke writes a breasy and page-turning mystery filled with character, co-dependent family life, and a number of cookie and desert recipes--including the Fudge Cupcakes of the title. Although the solution to the mystery is telegraphed a bit obviously, Fluke manages to stage a thrilling rescue and even hints at a way out of the boyfriend mess. FUDGE CUPCAKE MURDER is a fun and well-written mystery.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Food, Murder and Fun, April 14 2004
By 
Dawn Dowdle "Mystery reviewer" (Lynchburg, VA USA) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Fudge Cupcake Murder (Hardcover)
Hannah Swenson has found another body. This time Sheriff Grant has been murdered. Then her sister Andrea, who is eight months pregnant with her second child, calls to tell her that Bill, Andrea's husband, has been suspended. He is a Deputy and was running for Sheriff against Sheriff Grant. Mike, one of the men Hannah dates, put Bill on administrative leave until he could be cleared from the murder.
Andrea and Hannah decide to begin investigating to clear Bill so that he will get back to work. He is driving Andrea crazy at home. He keeps cleaning and organizing and ends up throwing a lot of Andrea's things away.
Hannah owns and runs with her partner Lisa the Cookie Jar. They are preparing for Halloween and Hannah doesn't know how she ever did it without Lisa. Lisa helps the investigation by letting Hannah be gone a lot. Also, Lisa and Hannah are trying to determine the missing surprise ingredient for Alma's Fudge Cupcakes. Unfortunately she died without telling anyone the surprise ingredient and her son Ted wants to add it to the recipe book Hannah is compiling from recipes of people from town. She is also running a cooking class that is trying out all the recipes to catch errors and decide which recipes should go into the book.
There is also the fact that not only does Hannah date Mike from the Sheriff's office, but she also dates Norman, a dentist. During most of the book Norman is out of town. The tension Hannah feels about not knowing which one she likes better really adds to this book.
I thoroughly enjoyed this book and highly recommend it and all the other books in this series. The recipes are always great, too. Who doesn't like a mystery filled with food? Important Note: please check out the author's website: [...] before trying the Fudge Cupcake recipe as there is a typo in the ingredients.
The small town she has created in this book is great. There are so many different characters but they interact so well. I felt as if I had really visited Lake Eden when I finished this book.
Hannah, her mother, and her sister Andrea are great characters. She has done a great job in creating them and the many mother/daughter and sister strifes. It is all so believable and enjoyable.
Hope you try this book and series, I don't think you'll be disappointed.
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