Thursday, April 22, 2021

Book Review: Triple Chocolate Cheesecake Murder by Joanne Fluke (Hannah Swensen #27)

Stars: 2 out of 5
Pros: Characters; good mystery
Cons: Talk about food overwhelms the plot (as usual)
The Bottom Line:
Mayor as victim
Gives us excuse to talk food
Mystery sub-plot

Murder in the Mayor’s Office

Just like with friends, there are some friends you reconnect with instantly and if feels like no time has passed no matter how long you’ve been apart.  And then there are the friends where time and distance has definitely cooled the friendship.  You still enjoy catching up, but the relationship is not what it once was.  That’s how I feel when I read the Hannah Swensen books.  I still want to find out what is happening with everyone, but they don’t hold up like they used to.  Triple Chocolate Cheesecake Murder is a perfect example.

Easter is coming, and The Cookie Jar is awash in orders, keeping Hannah Swensen, her business partner Lisa, and the rest of their staff busy.  But that doesn’t mean that Hannah doesn’t have time to help her sister Andrea when she calls in a panic.  She’s just found Mayor Bascomb’s dead body in his office hours after having a very loud fight with him.  The police wouldn’t be doing their job if they didn’t consider Andrea a suspect, so Hannah springs into action to figure out what really happened.  Can she prove her sister is innocent?

I’ve been reading these books since they first came out, so I’m always happy to see these characters again.  We’ve been through a lot together, both in the books and in my own life.  This is book 27 in the series, after all.  Yes, it was nice to find out what is happening to the characters.  The over-the-top soap opera we had going for a few books has calmed down, which I appreciate.  Yes, the love triangle is still intact, and it is beyond ridiculous at this point.  On the other hand, I appreciated some growth we got to see in one of the characters.

And the mystery is decent.  There are enough suspects to keep us guessing as we read, and I appreciated the clues that Hannah followed to the solution.

The problem is, these things are overshadowed by food.  Yes, I get that this is a culinary cozy, so there is going to be talk of food.  However, the talk of food was overwhelming, frequently slowing down the plot in favor of discussing the latest recipe, how Hannah created it, and how much everyone loves it.  Then there’s the repetitive dialogue.  It’s a perfect example of why you write realistic dialogue and not real dialogue.  I get through the book by skimming over these parts, and I don’t miss a thing when it comes to the actual mystery.

By my count, there are 24 new recipes in this book (and I’m not counting frosting to go with the various Easter themed cupcakes).  As always, they do sound mouthwatering.  I really do need to start making some of them again.

Because I like the characters, I will continue to buy and read these books.  I do wish they would focus more on the mystery and less on the food.  If you are like me, you’ll be glad you picked up Triple Chocolate Cheesecake Murder.  If you are new to Hannah’s culinary cases, definitely back up and start at the beginning so you can see why the series has so many fans like me.  But if you’ve given up on the series, there’s no reason to continue here.

Easy more tasty mystery with the rest of the Hannah Swensen Mysteries.

1 comment:

  1. I loved the Hallmark movies and I enjoyed the earlier books I read but she kind of lost me with the dragging out of the love triangle. I think I will take your advice and not go back to the series.