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on June 17, 2004
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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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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on March 1, 2004
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.
Harriet Klausner
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on March 7, 2011
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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on May 10, 2004
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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