Cream Puff Murder

 
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Product Description

Winter in Lake Eden, Minnesota, is the perfect time to curl up by a cozy fire with something-and someone-sweet. But while bakery owner Hannah Swensen can provide herself with the confections, cuddling will have to take a back seat to sleuthing when her sometime-squeeze becomes a murder suspect...

With the launch party of her mother-s novel around the corner, Hannah has a dress to fit into and a date with her sister, Andrea, at Lake Eden's new health club, Heavenly Bodies. Dragging herself out of bed on a frigid Minnesota morning for exercise, of all things, is bad enough. Discovering a dead body floating in the gym-s jacuzzi? Okay, that's worse. Nor does it help that there's a plate of The Cookie Jar-s very own cream puffs garnishing the murder scene. The fact that they were purchased by none other than Hannah's part-time flame, Detective Mike Kingston, is simply the icing on what's shaping up to be one very messy cake...

Mike may be the prime suspect in the murder of man-eating bombshell Ronni Ward, but he's by no means the only one. Ronni, a fitness instructor at both the Sheriff-s department and Heavenly Bodies, made a nasty habit of throwing her own heavenly body at every man, eligible or not, who crossed her path. Plenty of Lake Eden-s ladies won-t miss Ronni, including her ex-fiance-s former girlfriend, the angry mother of one of her would-be conquests, and even the mayor-s wife. Could any of them have wanted her gone badly enough to make it happen? Mike-s recruited Hannah to find out, and, as any suspended, suspected detective would, he-s micromanaging her every step of the way...

Between trying to narrow the list of Ronni-s enemies down to fewer than half the town-s female population and resisting the urge to remove Mike from the running by throttling him herself, Hannah has her plate full. Trouble is, when it comes to cookies-and to murder-there's always room for one more...

Includes 12 original dessert recipes for you to try!

Customer Reviews:

  • Hannah Swensen mysteries are always a treat.
    I am always ready for a Hannah Swensen culinary mystery. Joanna Fluke comes up with great recipes and a fun mystery to solve. Cream Puff Murder was a delight to read.
    I am always ready to get comfy, and open her newest book.
    I can't say much more than the other reviewers did about this book. It was great.
    I always get hungry after reading one of her mystery books.
    Keep them coming Ms. Fluke.
    Getting to see how the Norman and Mike triangle is going, is always fun. Plus, her mother seems to be in the heart of every book.
    If you want to read a great cozy culinary mystery, try this one.
    Better have some snacks by your side before you start.
    This book makes you hungry....more info
  • Enjoyed vacuming more
    I did housework to avoid reading. That never happens but this book was awful. Cream Puff Murder made its predecessor Carrot Cake Murder look good - and I gave that dismal book one star. This story doesn't deserve a quarter of that rating. It's beyond boring and pathetic. Insipid and unintelligent are more accurate descriptions. I actually had to force myself to finish reading the rubbish.

    The plot revolves around Hannah's need to lose weight. Her dress is too tight and she has to fit into it in two weeks for her mother's book launching party. Andrea convinces her to work out at the local gym. A relaxing dip after exercising is unrealized when Lake Eden, Minnesota's resident harlot is found floating in the spa's Jacuzzi. An overturned tray of Hannah's cream puff is nearby. Of course, she's the one that discovers the body and soon Hannah's investigating the murder. She's encouraged to help a professional homicide detective brought in to solve the case. She's also receiving secret messages from four of Lake Eden's police force that were dismissed from the case due to their involvement with the victim. Sounds plausible, right?

    Even more ridiculous is Hannah's inability to recognize a dish of Jell-O! Hannah is a grown woman with a college education. She's a professional baker. Yet she can't easily identify this colorful, wiggling, translucent mass that any three-year old could readily tell you is Jell-o? Yet she solves a murder case better and faster than the trained professionals.

    Most of the book was as lame. The only miniscule amount of redeeming quality is the possible ending of the absurd love triangle between Hannah, Mike, and Norman. Mike's been painted as a horn dog and Norman a saint. However, I tend to believe Mike's an almost normal guy. I liked his character when first introduced to him. He was more believable then and his devotion to his late wife was endearing. Lately he acts like he's had a lobotomy and testosterone reduction. As for Norman, I seriously question the integrity of this character as he sort of comes off as either an obsessed lover or repressed homosexual. At one point, I liked him but now he's bordering on mildly creepy. Hannah doesn't deserve either of the men. But I don't truly care. I just want the whole "romantic" entanglement to be finished.

    The Hannah Swensen series has suffered a horrendous decline. I'm not sure I can stomach the twelfth book due out this October. When doing house chores is more enjoyable than reading then you know the book is BAD.
    ...more info
  • Spoiler warning!
    Okay, I've been a fan of this series since the beginning and I've loved seeing characters develop and such and this one was no exception. Cute story, I liked Hannah's attempts at weight loss. LOVED that there were more recipes than usual but seriously...is she going to forgive Mike? I sure wouldn't! This book makes it plain who she should choose but she is so stubborn...honestly how many hot men can there be in Minnesota that she thinks she can put this decision off? And Norman built the dream house and all! I'm sooooo over Mike!

    Also did anyone else get the feeling that Michelle might be ahem...in the family way? Hannah makes some comments about her eating and there are many little hints to the quantity that Michelle is eating...just curious what everyone thought! Either way her getting married before Hannah would be hilarious. Although Hannah had better hurry up, either dump them or marry one! We're over waiting already! Besides with the entry of a female detective Mike could leave and we could have some cat fights over who is the better detective!

    All in all this was a good one, much better than the last honestly. Still we're ready for the triangle to end now! Go Norman! ...more info
  • It was worth waiting for
    I waited for months and months for this book to come out and as always it was worth the wait. Finally there is more involvement in the Norman-Mike situation and I want Hannah to choose Norman! While Mike can be "sexy" and Norman not so much, this books makes it evident who Hannah should choose. 100% Team Norman! Can't wait for the next book!...more info
  • Loved this book
    I love this series. They are fun and come with great recipes. The characters are likeable and you are always rooting for Hannah to catch her killer. I have tried a few of the recipes and loved every one. The carrot cake is the best....more info
  • Great!
    I love the Hannah Swenson series, and this book is one of the best. Yes, it is a cozy series, but what's wrong with that? I love the folksiness of Hannah and her family and friends. I love the great recipes in each book, and I always enjoy the mystery. They are usually smart and not as easy to figure out as some can be in this genre. In this book Hannah is trying to lose weight, and the book is set around that, her diet and her workouts at the gym in the mall. When one of the gym instructors is found dead in the jacuzzi, Hannah tries to narrow down the list of suspects in order to catch the killer. In this case there are more suspects than usual because Ronni was not a well-liked person by any means. She was far too familiar with all the men, both married and unmarried in the town of Lake Eden. I absolutely love these delightful characters and cannot wait for another new Hannah Swenson book to lose myself in....more info
  • It Was As Good As I Had Hoped
    I have read all of Joanne Fluke's books and this one was as good or better than I'd hoped.

    Hannah had to try on the special order dress for her Mom's book launch and had a slight problem. It was too tight. There wasn't enough time for Hannah to order a new one so Hannah had no choice than to diet and exercise.

    Hannah works hard and goes with Andrea to the gym.

    As always Hannah is the one who finds the body, although not many tears are shed for the victim.

    Good story line. Good romance. Wonderful recipes. There is even a diet recipe. I think Hannah is getting closer to choosing between her two men.

    You will love this installment in the Hannah Swensen series. ...more info
  • cream puff murder
    This was a good book in a continuing series.It also has cookie recipes.
    I would buy it again....more info
  • Great recipes, great story
    I had a hard time putting this one down. I have enjoyed all the Hannah Swenson books and the recipes, but the recipes were spectacular this time.
    I don't cook much, so I probably won't try them, but always enjoy reading them. Just wish the Fluke website would let you pull them up. I would like to check out some of the old ones.
    I'm kind of like another reviewer who doesn't understand Hannah taking over the police work, but it does add to the book.
    The semi-unexpected ending was great.
    Keep 'em coming, Joanne....more info
  • I enjoyed it, but.....
    Let me begin this review by saying that for the most part I have enjoyed this series of books. And while the last book or two has been dragging a bit- this book picked up the pace some- and made some things very clear to faithful readers (although I truly think if we were being honest with ourselves after reading Peach Cobbler Murder, we all should know which way that Hannah should lean toward in her men, hmmm?) With all those things being said... Let's move on to the review portion!

    Plot- Let's face it.. The plot is the same formula pretty much every time. Hannah bakes, Hannah finds a body, Hannah helps out with the investigation (either with or without the blessing) Hannah figures out who the killer is through some random conversations and clues that she found during her daily travels of taking cookies places or "using the invisible coffee server" trick or with some sleuthing by her and her sisters. Hannah then is in danger as that she has figured out who the killer is and there is no one to help her. Then Hannah's life is saved, b/c just shortly after the killer is revealed- the police have come to the same conclusion.
    If I sound like I'm being negative- I'm truly not. I have every book and plan to continue to get them- the formula obviously works- but it does get a bit tiring.
    This book, however, the victim is Ronni Ward- and Ronni has no problems with chasing after men, married or not. It's funny to me that Ronni is painted in such a bad way- because in real life, while Ronni might be labeled a hussy or worse- you can't steal a man who doesn't in some way want to be stolen. But that's neither here nor there. Moving on- Ronni's body is found by Hannah- and this time all the police want her help becasue for some reason or another- they have all been disqualified to work on her case ( Mike, Bill, Lonnie- all the Swensen sisters boyfriend/husband)
    Another funny thing- all the men want Hannnah to work the case using their methods, when Hannah has always solved the case by using the methods that come naturally to her- sleuthing and listening.
    This mystery throws out some red-herrings, but if you go back and read some sections of the book- you will realize that clues were pointing to the guilty party earlier in the book.

    Romance- This author has defintely been very hesitant for Hannah to have a "grown-up relationship". While at first I understood- Hannah had been in love with a college professor or perhaps it was a teaching assistant who had lied about having a fiancee- at times Hannah's behavior toward the men is almost childish. Norman is over 40! Hannah is 30 or almost 30 and I believe that Mike is the same age or maybe a little older. Now while I applaud the writer for not shoving s-e-x down our throats, it would seem that given their ages, length of relationship, and other factors that s-e-x may not be as hush-hush as it is in this series.
    Personally, even though Norman is a bit boring- I think Hannah should pick him. He's better than Mike- and has proved it by caring for her in countless ways.

    Overall- this book was pretty good. I enjoyed it- and finished reading the book in a couple of days. I am looking forward to the next installment- and am hoping that the Mike-Norman- Hannah triangle will be solved, in some form or another....more info
  • Cream Puff Murder
    It is wonderful to be able to enjoy Joanne Fluke's books in audio. This book is right up there with her best. I love to hear about Hannah's adventures in Lake Eden. The recipes are delicious. Keep it up Joanne!...more info
  • Cream Puff hits it mark
    I love all of these books the recipes are the best and the mysteries are always a comfort for me. I love the true Minnesota feel she gives to the books. I also love making all of the recipes, my only problem is finding enough people to eat all the goodies. ...more info
  • Falls into the cozy category of murder mysteries, and cozy it is
    Hannah Swensen's life is going well. She has a business she loves, close friends, a good family and her cat Moishe for companionship. She also has two men vying for her affection: sexy police detective Mike Kingston and reliable dentist Norman Rhodes.

    There are always challenges in life, and Hannah's current one involves fitting into a Regency period dress for the launch party celebrating her mother's debut romance novel. The dress is too tight, and there's no getting around it. Actually, for Hannah, there's no getting into it!

    Hannah has to face the facts: diet and exercise are the only things that are going to help her fit into that dress in two weeks' time, and even that isn't a sure bet. As much as she hates to do so, Hannah vows to limit her cookie intake and exercise more. Of course, the fact that she is part-owner of The Cookie Jar and her job involves making up new cookie recipes and then sampling them makes losing weight a losing proposition.

    Luckily her sister, Andrea, is willing to help. She supervises Hannah's diet and drags her out to Heavenly Bodies, a nearby health club, for an early morning workout each day. The workouts and a fitness class are going smoothly until their regular instructor, Roger, is injured in an auto accident. Suddenly, what was halfway bearable becomes a fiasco when Ronni Ward, a part-time instructor at Heavenly Bodies and a full-time fitness instructor with the sheriff's department, takes over the class and immediately insults all of the students, creating more enemies than she had already acquired.

    Ronni is one of those ladies who men love and women love to hate. She is a flirt, and men --- married or single --- are her target. Females, however, are beneath Ronni's notice. Mourners are few and far between when her body is discovered in the club Jacuzzi. It seems that she has made many enemies and few friends. Several Eden Lake wives are more relieved than grieved to see the demise of the fitness fury.

    For Hannah, though, this murder hits a bit close to home when several of her friends on the police force are removed from the case due to a personal involvement with the victim. Everyone assumes that Hannah will step in and begin her own investigation to get to the bottom of this horrible crime, given the fact that she has solved several local murders previously. Hannah wholeheartedly agrees.

    Between her diet, her new exercise program and running a business, Hannah is already over-extended. Will this investigation finally stretch her beyond her capacity? As it deepens, Hannah finds that instead of narrowing the search for the culprit, the list of suspects only lengthens. There seem to be no end of people whom Ronni has ticked off.

    As if she doesn't have enough on her mind, Hannah continues to divide her time between suitors Norman and Mike and wonders which man will prove more suitable.

    As the launch party draws nearer, Hannah continues to put in her hours at The Cookie Jar and follow up on any leads that come her way. Will she solve the murder and clear her friends, or will someone be wrongly accused of the promiscuous fitness guru's killing? Will Hannah fit into her dress in time for the launch party? Will she be able to keep up with the increasing demand for her specialty cookies? The only way to find out is to keep reading.

    CREAM PUFF MURDER falls into the cozy category of murder mysteries, and cozy it is. Lake Eden is a close-knit Minnesota community with a wonderful cast of characters reappearing from previous novels. It's fun to watch the progression of the relationships between the characters and their warmth and love for one another, as well as the progression of the murder investigation. The plethora of tasty and tempting cookie recipes included doesn't hurt either. Be warned, though. If you curl up to read this mystery without a plate of warm, homemade cookies and an ice cold glass of milk, you do so at your own risk.

    --- Reviewed by Amie Taylor...more info
  • Exiting, great character development
    Finally something happens with the Hannah, Mike, and Norman triangle! The resolution makes sense too, and is well handled. The mystery on this one was hard to solve, too. Good installment....more info
  • Food and Fun
    Fans will be thrilled with this eleventh confection featuring Hannah Swensen, owner of The Cookie Jar in Lake Eden, Minnesota. A femme fatale has returned to town with deadly results. She's found dead at the local gym with a tray of Hannah's cream puffs spilled around the murder scene. Nearly the entire sheriff's department is under suspicion and that includes Hannah's on-again off-again boyfriend Mike Kingston who asks Hannah to investigate the crime. To add to her problems, Hannah needs to lose some weight to fit into a way too small dress for the big launch party to celebrate the publication of her mother's first Regency romance. All the regulars are on hand to help unmask a killer, and Hannah, who has yet to decide between Mike and her steady flame Norman, learns that one of them is not who she thought he was. Readers will be left on the edge of their seats waiting for next year's installment in this dependably solid cozy series. As always, Fluke provides 22 great recipes. For maximum enjoyment, start where it all began with The Chocolate Chip Cookie Murder...more info
  • More Fluff than Stuff
    I find this series an enjoyable way to pass the time when I drive to work. Listening is great fun. I can even let my kids listen to many aspects of the story b/c it is so tame. That stated, this mystery touches on more aspects of adult behavior than Fluke's previous books in the series. Though Hannah remains as chaste as ever, sex is discussed in ways not previously mentioned. The mystery was rather predictable. I figured it was one of two people fairly early into the story and I was right; that doesn't usually happen when I read mysteries. I am typically caught off guard and surprised by the murderer's identity much later into the story. As the listener, we always know before Hannah, but this time it was not as difficult to guess.

    Hannah is also given stronger hints about Mike and Norman's true personalities. Without giving away the storyline, it is fair to say one emerges as the knight and the other as a louse. But will Hannah be swayed by romantic words and gestures or recognize love for what it is? Fluke has Hannah unable to commit to marriage b/c Hannah does not want to lose her independence. Yet that aspect of the storyline is not ever discussed with any other character, especially the two men who are pursuing her.

    Overall, an okay read/listen in the series. On the plus side, the recipes sound Amazing and I can't wait to bake some of them!...more info
  • Weight Loss and Murder
    When Hannah goes for the fitting of the Regency dress her mother picked out for her book party, she is appalled to find out it doesn't fit and can't be let out enough. She has two weeks to lose the weight, and her sister, Andrea, offers to help. She has keys to Heavenly Bodies health club since she is a member and is allowed to work out after hours. They join one of Ronni Ward's exercise classes, even though Ronni is not one of Hannah's favorite people. Ronni is constantly flirting, and thus most women do not like her.

    One morning when Hannah and Andrea are working out, they decide to get into the Jacuzzi. When they arrive, they find Ronni dead in it. Bill, Mike, and Lonnie are all suspended due to personal involvement with the deceased. So since they can't work the case, they each ask Hannah (through someone else) to find the killer. Hannah is quite surprised and not too thrilled when they each have their own opinions about how she should be conducting her investigation. She enlists the help of her sisters Andrea and Michelle, her mother, Norman--who wants to be more than a friend, Norman's mother, Lisa--Hannah's business partner, and Lisa's husband to help with this investigation.

    With the plethora of suspects, can they figure out who killed Ronni?

    I love this series, but I hope that Hannah soon makes a decision between Mike and Norman. I was pulling for Mike originally, but I'm starting to really pull for Norman.

    I like that through the series, Hannah and Andrea have gotten much closer. I think even their mother has mellowed out some. I like this small town in Minnesota. The author has done a great job of creating small-town America. There are always plenty of characters for her to pull from.

    I highly recommend this book and the whole series. Hope the next one comes out soon!
    ...more info
  • Please just stop
    Joanne Fluke needs to just stop - her books are all exactly the same. I am so disappointed in how this series has turned out. Hannah doesn't act like a 30 year old, but like a celibate 50 year old. Not making up her mind about Mike or Norman is completely annoying and both men have ceased to be fleshed out characters and are now just caricatures.

    After reading the last book and finding it dull, I decided to give her one more chance with this novel. I am now finished with this series. It doesn't go anywhere, it's boring, and it is completely unrealistic (even by cozy standards)
    ...more info
  • More "cozy" than mystery
    I have been a fan of this series since the beginning and have faithfully read each and every one of them as they are published. It's one of my favorites and I look forward to settling in with Hannah and her friends and family as well as having a mystery mixed in for good measure.

    This one was different for me. The first 100 pages or so I was really enjoying the book. Definitely a "cozy" story since no murder had been committed yet. I was appreciating getting caught up with the characters from the previous novels and zipped right along. Around page 110 things started deteriorating. The mystery portion was introduced and I thought it was fairly weak. Lots of unrealistic situations occur to the point of spoiling it. All cozies have bits of reality that you have to ignore, but this one pushed it past acceptable. All of the police department's detectives are unable to work the case for some reason or another, so they decide to have a cookie shop owner run the police investigation? It's one thing for a mystery to revolve around a person sticking their nose in where it doesn't belong, its another thing to have us all swallow that four different police officers recruit an amateur and let her solve the mystery. A detective is brought in from the big city and even she lets Hannah take the lead and do all the investigation. Just too over the top for me.

    By the time the last 100 pages came around, I was finding it hard to stay with the book. I wasn't motivated to finish other than out of loyalty to the series and a personal desire to finish every book I read.

    I did like the Mike/Norman/Hannah situation and was glad to see some movement in that story line. I also got a real kick out of Moise (Hannah's cat) and the mystery of the disappearing food. I actually liked that mystery better than the main murder in the novel.

    I'll keep reading these since they have been so good so far, but I am hoping for better in the future. If you have never read this series, I would recommend going back and starting with the very first one. Since so much of this book is dependent upon characters, it would be really helpful to have all the previous background -- won't stand alone very well....more info
  • delicious amateur sleuth mystery
    In Lake Eden, Minnesota, Hannah Swensen and Lisa Herman Beeseman co-own the Cookie Jar bakery. Business is booming as the winter cold sends people in for hot coffee and a tasty dessert. However the store is not Hannah's top priority at the moment because she has to lose weight in two weeks to fit in her Regency costume she will wear at her mom's book launch party. A desperate Hannah enrolls in Heavenly Bodies fitness center.

    When she goes to use the center's Jacuzzi she finds the corpse of instructor Ronnie Ward floating inside. Ronnie also served as the fitness instructor to the sheriff's department. Most men adored her but women despised her because her morals were less than that of an ally cat as she went after any male, married or not.. Hannah's sometimes boyfriend Police Detective Mike Kingston, her sister's husband Sheriff Bill, and her other sister's police officer spouse ask her to investigate since she has solved several homicides and each excuse themselves having a history of sorts with the deceased. The three cops offer advice to Hannah, but she makes her inquiries her way; as she gets closer to the truth the killer gets closer to killing her.

    Putting aside the plausibility of Hannah finding the corpse and of the professionals asking a civilian even with the heroine's r¨¦sum¨¦ to sleuth, rather than a nearby law enforcement friend, CREAM PUFF MURDERS is a delicious amateur sleuth mystery. Besides the mouth watering dozen dessert recipes, the whodunit is cleverly constructed around severable viable suspects including Mike yet none fully stand out in a crowd of haters. Clues abound that eliminate some of the potential culprits as Joanne Fluke provides a marvelous wintry Minnesota mystery.

    Harriet Klausner
    ...more info
  • True Colors Revealed
    While it is pretty unbelievable that the town sheriff and all of his detectives would recruit Hannah to head up a murder investigation, this book is still much better than the last few. The murder mystery was more unpredictable since there was such an abundance of characters that hated Ronni Ward. The victim was so unlikeable, it is surprising that anyone thought her death was worth investigating. Each of the Swensen sisters has her own reason for wanting to solve the crime and it was a lot of fun having all three of them involved as well as the "mothers".
    The best part of the book, in my opinion, was that we finally get a dose of realism in the Norman/Mike situation. The true colors of Hannah's two suitors come out in this book. While some of what is revealed about one of the men should have been obvious to Hannah several books ago, she finally seems to be getting with the picture. I would have liked more of a comeuppance for the dirtbag, but maybe that will come in the next book. I just hope it doesn't mean that Hannah is going to forgive and forget. Also, we finally see some more realistic, adult relationship issues addressed in this book (albeit in a very tame manner) like sleepovers and (gasp) s-e-x. I thought mentioning these issues was far overdue and the way the author handled it stayed true to the tone of the series while finally injecting some more realistic 21st century material. Overall, much improved and I will give the series another chance. ...more info
  • Another Great Book
    I bought this book because I love the series I find them to be easy to read enjoyable and highly entertaining. I must admit one reason I loved this perticular book is because I myself struggle with the same weight loss goals right now and I'm rooting for Norman who was in the best light this book....more info
  • Mystery lover
    I have all of Joanne Fluke's mysteries and love reading and re-reading them. As always, everything that I order from amazon comes in a timely manner and is in top condition, even used items that I have ordered.
    I will continue to do business with amazon and I always tell others to do the same....more info
  • Not the best in the series, but at least some resolution
    I continue to enjoy the series, but felt this plot was a little weak. There were only two plausible protagonists, and it was pretty easy to figure out which would be the guilty party. That said, the Mike versus Norman story line had become stale. That part of the series seemed to gain some clarification. ...more info
  • This latest is my first and last.
    On the bright side, this is the first (and only) book in the series I "read." If you think reading the book in print is bad, try listening to the audio version. It's in real time so you can't skim or skip as you could with a print book. The cloying tone of the narration is probably appropriate for the book but only reinforced my dislike of just about everything and everyone. The characters come across as being insipid and just plain stupid. Not as dumb as I was for enduring the 9+ hours. I skipped the recipes. Norman's egg salad was the only one I tried to listen to. I'm sure Ms. Fluke has many fans but I'm a Stephanie Plum kind of gal. I can just imagine what kind of review Grandma Mazur or Lula would give. Would they even get to the second chapter? ...more info
  • Deliciously Fun
    I have enjoyed all the mysteries in this series and this one was not exception. Curl up on the couch, make some tea and sit back and enjoy. Make sure your oven is ready though, you might want to break out the cookie sheets and try a recipe!...more info

 

 
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