The Blackberry Pie Murder mystery is not for the faint-of-heart dieter; the characters in this novel are almost always baking and/or eating and the book is full of scrumptious recipes. Hannah Swenson runs a little cafe in Lake Eden, Minnesota, called The Cookie Jar, that features her home-baked cookies, and Hannah is always inventing new cookies: Butterscotch Brickle Bar Cookies, Airy Berry Cookies, Cocoa Snap Cookies, and Chocolate-Covered Cherry Cookies, to name a few. In addition to the cookie recipes, friends and neighbours are always passing along other recipes such as Cream Cheese and Herb Scones, Grandma’s Buttermilk Pie, Fettuccini Porcini (Australian Fettuccini), and Winnie’s Fresh Blackberry Pie. Hannah is always trying a new recipe. When she’s not discovering a dead body, that is.
This is the 17th novel in Joanne Fluke’s Hannah Swenson Mystery series and it definitely has a new twist to it. This time it’s Hannah who’s arrested — for vehicular manslaughter — after skidding to avoid a branch on the road in a late summer thunderstorm. She spends 3 restless nights in jail before being released on bail. Along with her two sisters, Andrea and Michelle, her business partner, Lisa, her mother, Delores, and the two men who are crazy about her, Deputy Sheriff Mike and local dentist, Norman, Hannah is usually the one tracking down the murderer. This time, she’s trying to trace the identity of the man she has accidentally killed. With no I.D. on the victim, the only clues they have are his expensive clothes, a reddish-purple stain on the front of his shirt, a man’s signet ring, and the embedded diamond in his left front tooth. Added to the mix, is Delores’ upcoming wedding to Doc — a wedding she has told the girls they can plan completely without her interference, except that she keeps vetoing all their ideas; Hannah has won the mysterious first prize in the local high school raffle; and young Jennifer Richardson has returned home after running away 16 years earlier. Or has she? Her younger sister, Carly, isn’t certain Jennifer is really her sister.
This adventure takes Hannah to the seamier parts of Minneapolis, Mike gets suspended from the force, Hannah’s cat Moishe learns to turn on the switch on the new treadmill (her grand prize), Winnie’s foreman breaks his hand instead of the horse he’s trying to gentle, and Doc comes up with a plan to salvage the wedding. I love these books. They’re a great romp, and a fast read. Each of the characters has peculiar quirks. There’s lots of humour, lots of recipes. My only complaint about this one is that the reader is left with a bit of a cliff-hanger at the end. The recipes list, which is usually at the very end, is right before what I would have to call a dénoument. There’s a bit more to the story after the list, but to find out how Hannah’s trial goes, you have to wait for the Double Fudge Brownie Murder coming out in March, 2015 in hardcover. So that part was a bit disappointing, especially since I’m collecting the series in paperback. Easily read in a day. * * * *
The Hannah Swenson Murder Mysteries are available from Amazon and other fine book sellers.
Please take a moment to complete the poll in the blog’s sidebar.
This book completes my “Fiction for Foodies” requirement for the Eclectic Reader Challenge 2015 hosted by Book’d Out.