5.0 out of 5 stars Give Me FLAVOR & Hear Me ROAR!!
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...
Published on May 12 2007 by Linda G. Shelnutt
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 Give Me FLAVOR & Hear Me ROAR!!,
This review is from: Fudge Cupcake Murder (Mass Market Paperback)
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
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 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.
4.0 out of 5 stars What Is The Secret Ingrediant,
By A Customer
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.
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.
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.
4.0 out of 5 stars Fun and well written,
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.
5.0 out of 5 stars Food, Murder and Fun,
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.
5.0 out of 5 stars Politics Get Deadly,
Hannah's life is very full. Not only is she juggling the demands of running The Cookie Jar, but her brother-in-law is running for sheriff in a very tight race and she's trying to organize the recipes for the Lake Eden cookbook. One night, as she's taking the trash out after her potluck cooking class (a convenient way to test all the recipes to make sure they're right before the book goes to print), she finds the body of Sheriff Grant in the dumpster. Now Bill is suspended from work because he's a suspect, and Hannah must clear him by finding the killer before he drives the very pregnant Andrea crazy cleaning out their house. This also adds major complications to Hannah's relationship with Bill's partner Mike. Meanwhile, her mother is acting strangely, and she needs to get her cat to eat his senior cat food. And she's searching for the missing ingredient in Mrs. Koester's fudge cupcake recipe so it can make the book. Can Hannah juggle all these competing demands?
Needless to say, there's never a dull moment in this book. There are a few times when the murder investigation seems to stall briefly, but the other sub-plots take up the slack. Frankly, I hardly noticed because there is so much else happening. The mystery does progress well, with an ending I figured out a little before Hannah, but not by much. All the characters we've come to love are back, and it's definitely a wonderful visit with old friends. This book contains 10 delicious sounding recipes. (A word about the title recipe. The first edition contains an error. It should read 1 1/2 teaspoons baking POWDER not baking soda. This will be fixed in all future editions.)
Is it possible to get the warm fuzzies from a murder mystery? If so, this is the series to do it. If you like your murder served cozy, look no further then this fun series.
4.0 out of 5 stars delicious amateur sleuth,
In Lake Eden, Minnesota, Hannah Swenson owns and runs the only bakery and cookie shop in town and business is booming thinks to her excellent baking concoctions. She is helping her brother in law Bill run for town sheriff and is a volunteer teacher for those who want to learn how to make desserts. One night after class, she goes to throw out the garbage only to find the murdered body of the incumbent sheriff Jim Grant.
Her boyfriend Mike takes over as acting sheriff and places Bill on admin leave because he is a suspect having had a public fight with Sheriff Grant the day he was killed and offering no alibi for the time the victim was murdered. Hannah's sister Andrea is due to give birth in a couple of weeks and insists that she and Hannah have to clear her husband's name. Bill wants Hannah's help because she has solved homicide cases before but once she proves he isn't the killer, he expects her to back away. Hannah, who likes sleuthing is determined to find the killer, a decision that could kill her.
FUDGE CUPCAKE MURDER is one amateur sleuth mystery that should not be read on an empty stomach because there are mouth-watering recipes and descriptions of desserts in almost every chapter that are so good it will kill the Atkins crowd. Joanne Fluke has written a heartwarming cozy with characters caring and looking out for one another. Readers might guess the killer's identity but that will not take away from the delight they will feel when reading this simply super caper novel.
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 seems to be her soul-mate in so many ways) she was going to settle on. If you're looking for an enjoyable "light" read that is entertaining and will keep you absorbing in what's going on, than you'll enjoy "Fudge Cupcake Murder" -- esp if you enjoy reading about the creation of different kinds of cookies/biscuits; if, however, you're looking for a mystery novel that will keep you glued to the edge of your seat, that's suspenseful and engrossing, than you might want to try something else.
In between trying to vet all the submissions for the Lake Eden cookbook; teach a class on desert making; juggle two boyfriends (even if one is currently out of town); support her sister, Andrea, who is heavily pregnant and whose policeman husband (Bill) is running for the position as sheriff in the upcoming elections, Hannah must now also fit in a murder investigation! The incumbent sheriff, who was running for reelection, has been found murdered, and Bill, is suspected of the crime because of the angry words and threats that the two men exchanged just hours before the murder. With Bill's reputation and election bid on line (and Andrea's sanity: a suspended Bill is driving Andrea 'round the bend), Hannah will have to put her detective hat on again in order to discover who murdered the sheriff and clear Bill's name even if it does upset Mike Kingston...
Mystery-wise, everything (the clues and suspects) only really came together in the last quarter of the book. Up until then, what really moved the novel forward was the dynamics between the characters and the snappy and breezy dialogue. "Fudge Cupcake Murder" was entertaining and enjoyable -- it may not be the mystery read of the year or month, but it was fun. I especially enjoyed Joanne Fluke's vivid portrayal of what life with an intelligent and stubborn cat is like. So, if you're looking for a good, light and easy read to pass the time on a trip or rainy weekend, this just might do.
5.0 out of 5 stars Dangerous book if you're dieting...,
Another winner in the Cookie Jar mystery series. Hannah has her hands full! She's still in a quandry over two handsome beaus; her sister is still pregnant; her kitty, Moishe, is not happy; her Mother is, as usual, critical and has a secret; Mike, her brother-in-law, is suspect #1 in the murder of the Sheriff that happens to be who Mike is running against during a close election. Said Sheriff just ate one of Hannah's cupcakes minutes before he's murdered and thrown into a dumpster.
Now, all she has to do is get her kitty to eat again, slueth with her expectant sister to get Mike off "suspension pending investigation"; figure out what her Mother is hiding; bake for her thriving business at the cookie jar while she tests recipes and puts together a Lake Eden Cook Book whose deadline has been pushed forward by three months!
The recipes are excellent and all you cookie party gals will find the new Hannah Banana cookie delicious!
Now, don't read the recipes first; she gives a really good clue in the beginning, as to the secret ingredient missing from the Fudge cupcake recipe entry and it was fun to figure it out with her.
5.0 out of 5 stars Another Sweet Morsel,
I look forward to each new Hannah Swenson mystery like a kid waiting for Santa. I'm not going to give away even a smidgen of the plot, but suffice it to say that as usual, Hannah is up to her elbows in another town mystery. There are unexpected twists and turns and will keep you guessing all the way from beginning to end. I love the way Joanne Fluke writes. The story never bogs down and will keep you turning page after page. All of her books in this series have a wonderfully 'homey" feeling. You feel like you're getting together with old friends and family as Hannah sleuths her way to the unmasking of another culprit. I can never figure out who the bad guy is, and once again, I was amazed at the ending. And of course, last but not least is the bonus of more mouth-watering recipes from the Cookie Jar to add to your collection. Once again Fluke has a winner on her hands. Another great book for all ages. One that the whole family can enjoy.
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Fudge Cupcake Murder by Joanne Fluke (Hardcover - Feb. 2009)
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