Saturday, February 23, 2013

Book Review: Sugar Cookie Murder by Joanne Fluke (Hannah Swensen #6)

Stars: 5 out of 5
Pros: Good story and series character advancement with tempting sounding recipes
Cons: None
The Bottom Line:
A good novella
Packed with tons of recipes
Worth it for the fans

Half Mystery, Half Recipes.  Full of Fun

Sugar Cookie Murder is the sixth entry in the Hannah Swensen mystery series. It's different from the others, however.

For months, Hannah has been working on the Lake Eden Cookbook. Now it's time for the final test, tonight's potluck at the community center. With a winter storm blowing outside, everyone is inside enjoying all the delicious food and feeding the gossip mill about Martin Dubinski and his new wife, Brandi Wyen. Seems the two got married when Martin was in Vegas and she's a dancer from the famous city. Meanwhile, Hannah's sister Andrea is finally off bed rest, and Hannah finally gets to meet her mom's new boyfriend.

But when Hannah finds Brandi stabbed with Hannah's mother's antique cake knife, things take a turn for the worse. With a full-blown blizzard raging outside, everyone is trapped at the community center with the killer. Hannah sets out to help police detective Mike solve this crime while the trail is still fresh. But can she do it without letting everyone else know what's going on?

If you're a fan of this series, you need this book. The series character's storylines take a step forward, and you won't want to miss what happens to them. Plus, as always, there's a good mystery. Personally, I didn't have it figured out before the end.

This entry in the series is really only a novella. It started out because of requests that author Joanne Fluke was getting to include the non dessert recipes mentioned in earlier books in the series. The idea was to include a short story with the recipes, but the story grew and takes up the first half.

The second half of the book features the recipes from the fictitious cookbook Hannah has been writing. Naturally, there are a few awkward paragraphs in the story listing the dishes, but everything mentioned makes an appearance in the back. As with any cookbook, there are some wonderful sounding recipes and some that don't appeal to me (like the fish), but considering I bought the book for the mystery, I'm really not complaining. There are soups, salads, main and side dishes and plenty of all kinds of desserts including pies, cakes, and , of course, cookies. (And a side note, there's an error on a recipe in the first edition of this book as well. For the Not So Swedish Meatballs, you really only need one 50 ounce can of cream of mushroom soup, which should be fairly obvious.)

It was nice to pop in and visit these friends for the holidays with Sugar Cookie Murder. It was a short visit, but I was expecting that and enjoyed it immensely. I'm looking forward to seeing them again in a few months with the next full-length book.

And if you want to find others in the series, here's the Hannah Swensen Mysteries in order.

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