Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Book Review: Banana Cream Pie Murder by Joanne Fluke (Hannah Swensen #21)

Stars: 4 out of 5
Pros: Interesting mystery
Cons: Pacing, characters could be stronger
The Bottom Line:
Hannah’s latest case
More of the same – fans will like
Interesting end

Honeymoon’s Over – Time for a Murder

The last book in the Hannah Swensen series ended with the event longtime fans thought we’d never see – Hannah got married.  Banana Cream Pie Murder picks up not too long after this momentous event as Hannah and her new husband are returning from their honeymoon.

Unfortunately, while they are gone, Hannah’s mom Delores finds a dead body.  When she hears screaming and what sounds like a gunshot from her downstairs neighbor, Tori Bascomb, she goes to investigate and is horrified to find Tori’s body in her acting studio.  Tori was a retired Broadway actress who had settled in Lake Eden to be near her brother, the town’s mayor.

Of course, when Hannah returns, Delores wants her to find the killer and figure out what is happening.  Tori didn’t seem to have too many friends, but she doesn’t seem to have many enemies either.  The lack of suspects begin to frustrate Hannah.  Will she find anything that points to the killer?

Because not too much time has passed since the last time we saw Hannah and the gang, we don’t need too much catch up before diving into the murder.  All the talk of food and the various desserts that Hannah is making do still slow down the mystery a bit in the early stages of the book, but the further we go into the story, the more the mystery takes over.  I appreciated how the clues were sandwiched in with the red herrings.  Yes, I did figure things out before Hannah, but only a few pages.  And we get a strong climax.

Those who have been enjoying this series for a long time know there are a lot of characters, and I always enjoy spending time with them.  In fact, they are a draw of the series.  I’m not sure how it would feel jumping in here and not knowing them.  The development could be stronger, but that’s a minor issue.

And we can’t leave out the recipes.  By my count, we get 23 new recipes in this book, including the title recipe as well as orange fudge cookies, salted caramel bar cookies, and peanut butter cheesecake with chocolate peanut butter sauce.  Honestly, with all the talk of food in this series, it’s hard to believe all of the characters aren’t very overweight.  I know I gain weight just reading about all the delicious sounding food.

Hannah’s life takes an interesting turn in this book.  I have a feeling this is setting us up for something I’ve been dreading for a few books now, but I hope not.  While I am dreading the outcome, I do find the twist presented here intriguing, and I’m curious to see where things go in the next book.

At this point in the series, it would be hard for anyone to jump in and fully enjoy what is happening here.  However, diehard fans of the series who are interested in the next chapter of Hannah’s life will find checking in with their friends fun when they read Banana Cream Pie Murder.

Looking for more delicious reads?  Here are the rest of the Hannah Swensen Mysteries in order.


  1. Oh no! That stinks that this series may be taking a turn. I need to get back into reading this series! I think I've only read the first 3 or 4.

  2. While I'm a bit nervous about the ending you allude too I do want to read the series. I read one years ago and really enjoyed it and have been meaning to revisit the series but there are just so many! And now I want banana cream pie!

  3. Every time I think I'm going to stop reading these, I get pulled back in. Lucky they are usually a quick read, may have to check out what this 'turn/twist' is!?