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5.0 out of 5 stars Chocolate Chip Cookie Murder
Hannah Swensen, renowned baker and owner of the popular bakery The Cookie Jar in small town Lake Eden, Minnesota, never quite expected that she about to become the thirty-something, sassy, amateur sleuth of Joanne Fluke's new cozy culinary mystery series.

The title of the novel says it all: When Hannah is inside The Cookie Jar early one morning, and exits the...
Published on Feb. 26 2006 by ravenclaw29

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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars I hope the series gets better
Often times, the first book in a series is a little rough and in need of improvements. This series is no exception. The problem is that it needs a LOT of improvements in order for this reader to keep going with it. I have read other reviews that felt the book was unrealistic. "Cozy mysteries" often are somewhat unbelievable but the characters and story are...
Published on Aug. 24 2003 by paglobegirl


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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars I hope the series gets better, Aug. 24 2003
By 
"paglobegirl" (Monroeville, PA United States) - See all my reviews
Often times, the first book in a series is a little rough and in need of improvements. This series is no exception. The problem is that it needs a LOT of improvements in order for this reader to keep going with it. I have read other reviews that felt the book was unrealistic. "Cozy mysteries" often are somewhat unbelievable but the characters and story are what keep us reading.
Chocolate Chip Cookie Murder was boring and actually rather annoying at times. First of all, the characters are one-dimensional. The main character, Hannah, is supposedly witty and outspoken. However, she came across as dull and not overly bright to me. As other reviewers pointed out, we rarely see her doing any baking so I wouldn't call this a culinary mystery at all. There was very little humor throughout the whole book. Any humor I found seemed more like people that were trying to be funny than people who actually were funny. I think I laughed once the whole time.
The most memorable part of Chocolate Chip Cookie Murder is not the story or the characters but the annoying parts. Other reviewers have pointed out the tedious dialogue. If only two people are in a room, do they really need to address each other by name everytime they say something? I didn't know it was possible for dialogue in a book to sound staged. It is like watching a very poorly acted play. Also, the other people in the book are constantly complimenting Hannah to the point that I was wondering why they were all kissing up to her. Also irritating were the drawn out details. Who cares that she turned on her turn signal as she turned left onto the road? In a series like this, the books normally get more padded as you go. But that padding is usually something that pertains to the story or the characters. It sounds like Fluke knows what is supposed to go into a cozy mystery but just doesn't know how to put it all together.
I will read the next book in the series only because I know that series like this one often start a little rough. Hopefully, things will improve but I'm not holding my breath.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Didn't grab me, Jan. 24 2011
By 
Vanessa M. Dow "Vanessa D" (Ontario, Canada) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This book was just middlin' for me. I thought the mystery was well thought out and intriguing, and I liked small town setting and baker-turns-detective idea. The recipes in the book are divine! I guess the characters just didn't quite pull me in.

Hannah Swenson is just a little too perky for me to take on in my sleep-deprived state. Her mother drives her crazy, she lives alone and her best friend appears to be her cat. Just why exactly are you so bubbly, lady? Must be the sugar high =o) And the nerdy dentist as love interest concept just doesn't do it for me. This is all getting to realistic for my taste. This is more of a personal issue, and I know lots of people will adore Hannah and her bespectacled beau.

As I mentioned before, the plotting in this story was impressive. I was really trying, and I didn't figure out whodunnit until right at the end when it was all but served up on a silver platter. This book is a great option for cozy mystery fans looking for their next read. The series currently stands at (I believe) fourteen books, so you've lots to catch up on.

You may want to get this book out of the library for no other reason than to copy out the recipe for Chocolate Chip Crackles. These cookies are ridiculously good. But be careful! They may be (haha) murder on your diet.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Chocolate Chip Cookie Murder, Feb. 26 2006
Hannah Swensen, renowned baker and owner of the popular bakery The Cookie Jar in small town Lake Eden, Minnesota, never quite expected that she about to become the thirty-something, sassy, amateur sleuth of Joanne Fluke's new cozy culinary mystery series.

The title of the novel says it all: When Hannah is inside The Cookie Jar early one morning, and exits the bakery to take the trash out to the dumpster in the parking lot behind The Cookie Jar, she discovers Ron LaSalle, the beloved deliveryman of Cozy Cow Dairy Farm, shot in the head, in cold blood, in his delivery truck, with Hannah's famous Chocolate Chip Crunch Cookies scattered around Ron's body.

So, in an effort to help her brother-in-law, Detective Bill Todd, her younger sister Andrea's husband, Hannah sets out to do some little investigations of her own, and figure out who ultimately killed poor Ron LaSalle.

Wacky, delightful characters are sprinkled all across the novel---Andrea Todd, Hannah's glamorous and dazzling sister; Bill Todd, Hannah's kind police officer brother-in-law; Tracey Todd, Hannah's adorable, cute little niece; Delores Swensen, Hannah's controlling mother, who often chides Hannah about her very-much-single-ness; Lisa Herman, Hannah's young, hardworking assistant and waitress at The Cookie Jar; Norman Rhodes, Lake Eden's local town dentist, and Hannah's "sometimes" boyfriend; Mike Kingston, the sexy, flirtatious detective, Hannah's other "sometimes" boyfriend; and, of course, Hannah's lovable orange-and-white tomcat Moishe.

In this promising start to a new series, Joanne Fluke creates a thirty-something, sassy, flame-haired bakery owner, Hannah Swensen, who soon becomes an amateur sleuth in a small town in chilly Minnesota, in this new adorable cozy mystery series.

Highly recommended!
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4.0 out of 5 stars A Delicious Murder..., July 9 2004
This was my first time reading a a Joanne Fluke mystery. I had never heard of her before until one day at the bookstore, I picked up one of her other books. I decided to look it up on Amazon and found out that the one I picked up, was part of the Hannah Swensen series. They seemed pretty interesting.
"Chocolate Chip Cookie Murder" focuses on Hannah Swensen, the owner of the The Cookie Jar, a quaint cookie shop in the small town of Lake Eden in Minnesota. Hannah finds Ron LaSalle, Lake Eden's football hero dead in his delivery truck with one of her famous Chocolate Chip Crunches still in his hand.
From then on, Hannah sets out to find Ron's killer. She questions everyone in town, but has no leads, because everyone she questions has a motive.
We learn about the small town, and and fall in love with the coziness and friendliness of it. Everybody knows everyone, and this can be a good and a bad thing. In Hannah's case, it works to her advantage, because where there is a small town, there are a bunch of nosy and informed people who feed her with loads of clues.
There are a lot of characters so you have to keep up.
All in all, I thought it was a good mystery, because the person who I thought committed the crime didn't. I was left surprised in the end. The book was also full of yummy cookie recipes, that left my mouth watering everytime I picked up the book. I don't suggest that you read this mystery on an empty stomach.
I definatly will be reading the second installment of the Ms. Fluke's Hannah Swensen mysteries.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful new cozy series!, July 11 2003
I'm always searching for a new cozy series, and I was very happy to stumble across Chocolate Chip Cookie Murder while browsing in the mystery section of Amazon.com. When I saw that this mystery had (1) a female amateur sleuth, (2) a cat with personality and (3) recipes, I knew I wanted to try it. I always buy the first in the series to see if I like it, and then buy the rest of the series in a greedy rush when I fall in love with the characters. Needless to say, I have the others in this series on my book-buying list!
I feel that some of the lower ratings of this book were overly harsh. Yes, there are circumstances which are hard to swallow, but any cozy reader knows that some circumstances have to be taken with a grain of salt. After all, are there many women in the world who happen to fall over a dead body at least once a year? Obviously this is not a realistic situation, but that sort of detail didn't stop Agatha Christie writing about Miss Marple, and it shouldn't stop Ms. Fluke writing about Hannah. It's true that it is unlikely that a brother-in-law in law enforcement would beg his sister-in-law for help solving murders, but the amateur detective has to find a way to examine the evidence, and this is Hannah's excuse. I thought the writing was very well done and very funny; especially the bits with the cat who owns Hannah. During some of the passages when Hannah is dealing with her mother, I found myself wondering if Ms. Fluke had been eavesdropping on some of my own telephone conversations! To top it off, the killer was a surprise to me, even though I usually figure out the killer's identity half-way through the book. This series has a great heroine, good supporting cast, funny cat, great recipes and good setting, and is a treat for cozy mystery lovers.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Who Murders for Cookies?, July 11 2003
In the first book in the Hannah Swensen mystery series, we meet our sleuth, an owner of The Cookie Jar in Lake Eden, Minnesota. In her first case, she stumbles across the dead body of a long-time friend and delivery man for her bakery and feels the need to investigate his suspicious death. As her brother-in-law is a police officer, she finds that she has a lot more inside information (add to this fact that she lives in a small town) and she is able to piece together this mystery and solve the murder before too many people get hurt.
I love all of the books in this series but felt that this book was a bit hard to follow. Being the first, I was glad that I kept reading the other books in the series as this one was a bit harder to "get into" than some of the other books. I enjoyed the character development in this book and felt that the relationships between the characters were more interesting than was the mystery. I found it difficult to keep track of all of the characters at the beginning, and found it somewhat annoying that in the dialogue they repeat each other's names quite often. Other than that, I enjoy the books and the yummy recipes included. Do not read these books on an empty stomach or you will quickly begin searching for some sweets! Enjoy!
A Cozy Lover
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4.0 out of 5 stars Chocolate Chip Cookie Murder, Aug. 24 2002
By A Customer
Hannah Swensen of Lake Eden, Minnesota, has a better excuse than most of fiction's lady sleuths to excuse her nosiness: her sister Andrea's husband Bill Todd is deputy sheriff for the county and Hannah tirelessly maintains that she's helping him. During her inter-snooping hours, she runs The Cookie Jar, a coffee shop serving and selling the goodies Hannah bakes in the back of the store. Her supplies are delivered daily by Ron LaSalle, whom she often passes on her way to work. On this fateful day, Ron's truck is soon parked behind the store, but he fails to reappear. When Hannah finds him seated in the truck, the window open, a bullet through his chest, she's inspired to work her way through the townspeople, looking for a motive for Ron's death, even as she manfully resists her widowed mother's attempts to find her a husband. The annual bash given by wealthy Del and Judith Woodley pairs Hannah with pleasant dentist Norman Rhodes, but Hannah is soon caught up by the latest scandal: the disappearance of Nat Turner, owner of the huge Cozy Cow Dairy, who didn't show at the Buttermakers Convention, where he was to make the opening speech. Needless to say, it's Hannah who finds Max's body and evidence of the loan-sharking activities that provide a likely motive for his murder. Hannah's a likable sort despite her bent for taking over; the author's style is easygoing if slowed by too much inane chatter. In all: a modestly entertaining debut with some delectable recipes as a bonus.
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1.0 out of 5 stars At least there are cookie recipes, Oct. 9 2001
By 
Jacqueline M. Burrell "Book lover" (Moraga, CA USA) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
Apparently this publishing house has downsized all its editors.If Joanna Fluke's plodding, lifeless book can be published, then there's hope for hapless wanna-be authors everywhere.
The pages of this book overflow with meaningless detail -- where Hannah turned and stopped and turned again and stopped and looked up and heard the phone ring and told her assistant, no, I'll get the phone, and then turned and got the phone. Is Fluke being paid by the word?
I kept trying to read the thing, but it doesn't get better. Page after page of trivial detail that neither advances the plot nor develops character. Surely Fluke could have brought some of that passion for detail to bear on the Regency-theme party she caters for a bunch of romance book lovers. It's Jane Austen's time period -- hello? Two minutes on the Internet, [...]would have yielded plenty of historical culinary sources, not to mention recipes she could then slightly alter and call her own. Nope. In fact, she specifically claims historical data is not available.
For heaven's sake, if it's a blend of great writing, captivating characters, intriguing mystery and tasty recipes you want, try Diane Mott Davidson or Jerrilyn Farmer instead.
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1.0 out of 5 stars At least there are cookie recipes, Oct. 9 2001
By 
Jacqueline M. Burrell "Book lover" (Moraga, CA USA) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
Apparently this publishing house has downsized all its editors.If Joanna Fluke's plodding, lifeless book can be published, then there's hope for hapless wanna-be authors everywhere.
The pages of this book overflow with meaningless detail -- where Hannah turned and stopped and turned again and stopped and looked up and heard the phone ring and told her assistant, no, I'll get the phone, and then turned and got the phone. Is Fluke being paid by the word?
I kept trying to read the thing, but it doesn't get better. Page after page of trivial detail that neither advances the plot nor develops character. Surely Fluke could have brought some of that passion for detail to bear on the Regency-theme party she caters for a bunch of romance book lovers. It's Jane Austen's time period -- hello? Two minutes on the Internet, [...]would have yielded plenty of historical culinary sources, not to mention recipes she could then slightly alter and call her own. Nope. In fact, she specifically claims historical data is not available.
For heaven's sake, if it's a blend of great writing, captivating characters, intriguing mystery and tasty recipes you want, try Diane Mott Davidson or Jerrilyn Farmer instead.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Fun, but a bit lackluster..., May 7 2001
I enjoyed this book, and it was a fast and easy read, but was left hoping there would be a bit 'more'. First, I found the title a bit misleading as the only tie-in the cookies have with the murder is that the victim happened to be eating them...when he was SHOT! The teaser page, of course, makes you think there was poison involved...sorry, but not true... Secondly, I was amazed how quickly Deputy Bill lets Hannah almost take over the case and practically solve it herself, making him look a tad ineffectual, especially with the fact that he's up for a promotion! Were these huge flaws? Not overly. Did it damper my enjoyment of the book? A little. Luckily, there's still enough humor to keep it going and enough secondary characters to keep the plot interesting. I'll read the second book in the series 'Strawberry Shortcake Murder' next and hopefully we'll see what happens and if these minor flaws are taken into account. One thing I'll mention in closing, Hannah drinks enough coffee in one day to put anyone into cardiac arrest. Not to mention the fact that everyone in Lake Eden should be a diabetic or 300 lbs with the amount of Hannah's cookies they consume!
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