Monday, June 22, 2009

Fluke Bakes Up More Murder and Mayhem in Second Swensen Mystery

(Image from Barnes & Noble)


Tiny Lake Eden's quickly becoming murder central, and much to her mother's chagrin, Hannah Swensen seems to be finding all the bodies. In Strawberry Shortcake Murder, it's Boyd Watson, the high school basketball coach, who's taken the bullet (actually the hammer). He's no one's favorite person - in fact, his snide comments during last night's stint as a cooking contest judge earned him even more enemies. No one blames Danielle for offing her unpleasant husband, especially since he'd used her as a punching bag on more than one occasion, but the battered wife claims innocence. She says she took a large dose of cold medicine, went to bed, and woke up to find Boyd laying in a pool of blood in their garage. As to who else would have motive to kill him - well, really, who wouldn't?


Although the town cops - Mike (one of Hannah's steady dates) and Bill (her brother-in-law) -warn her to let the professionals handle this one, the cookie chef's not about to back down. While she's pondering how to clear Danielle's name, another mystery saunters right into her cookie shop: Lucy Richards, Lake Eden's sad excuse for a cub reporter, decked out in expensive clothes and driving a new Grand Am. The newspaper hardly pays enough to keep her in steno notepads, let alone her pricey new wheels and wardrobe. She hints at an upcoming book deal, but Hannah knows Lucy can barely write her own name. What kind of publisher pays big bucks for an expose by an unknown, and not very talented writer? Hannah smells a lie. But, if Lucy's not collecting a big advance, where did she get the money?


With her sister playing Watson to her Sherlock Holmes, Hannah uncovers some disturbing truths about Lucy. The more she investigates, the more she realizes that Lucy's windfall and Boyd Watson's murder might be connected. But, just when she's about to confront the reporter, she finds that Lucy's up and skipped town. Desperate to free Danielle from suspicion, Hannah chases down clues until she knows exacty what happened to Boyd Watson. The trouble is she needs to confront an absent Lucy (the reporter's nowhere to be found), share her evidence with the police (which would mean admitting she broke into Lucy's apartment), and keep her own neck out of harm's way (which is getting increasingly difficult since she knows who the killer is and the killer knows she knows). Can Hannah expose Boyd's murderer in time? Or will hers be the next body to make an appearance at the town morgue? With Hannah on the case, one thing's for sure - it's bound to be one interesting (and delicious) investigation.
Everything I said about the first book in this series is basically true for Strawberry Shortcake Murder - it's light, fun, and pretty predictable. Ah well, Hannah's a likeable character, who keeps me coming back for more. Plus, these "light & fluffy" provide a nice counterpoint to my more serious reading. And did I mention how delish the recipes look? Stay tuned as I try out Chocolate Highlander Cookie Bars - chocolate, shortbread crust, two kinds of sugar - what's not to love?
Grade: B

Note:
Remember to comment on this post to be entered into my first Light & Fluffy Fluke-A-Thon giveaway. If you've already commented on my review of Chocolate Chip Cookie Murder, then you're already entered. Only one comment counts per giveaway, but don't let that stop you from speaking your mind about Joanne Fluke, Hannah Swensen, culinary mysteries, etc. I always love to hear from my readers.

Want more entries? Just blog about the Fluke-A-Thon, and send me the link. Presto! An extra entry.

2 comments:

  1. I can't wait to see what you think of the Highlander Bars. I love this series, but have never tried any of the recipes.

    ReplyDelete
  2. what a fun series to try with my daughters. love the giveaway...

    ReplyDelete

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