Cream Puff Murder (Hannah Swensen Mysteries With Recipes)

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Product Description

Winter in Lake Eden, Minnesota, is the perfect time to curl up by a cosy 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.

Customer Reviews:

  • Sweet
    My introduction to Joanne Fluke's Hannah Swensen Mysteries series came at the recent and eleventh installment, Cream Puff Murder. This novel is light and fun, and contains no calories unless you make any of the included recipes. While I found Hannah Swensen to be an interesting and engaging protagonist, I found most other characters to be under-developed, or in this case, undercooked. While I guessed the murderer early on, that person's character was pretty one-dimensional. Hannah's friend detective Mike Kingson also came across as pretty narrow and incomplete. Those concerns aside, Cream Puff Murder is a sweet mystery, and the recipes seemed pretty tasty to me. Don't expect much beyond a structured formula and simple plot.

    Rating: Two-star (Mildly Recommended)
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  • 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
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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
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  • 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
  • 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!
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