Friday, November 26, 2010

The Unluckiest Cookie Baker in the World Is At It Again In Blueberry Muffin Murder

(Image from Indiebound)

You may have noticed I've been slacking a bit on my Light & Fluffy Fluke-a-thon. Other books have taken precedence, yes, but I've also been waiting a very long time for Blueberry Muffin Murder, the third installment in Joanne Fluke's popular series. Apparently, a whole lot of people in my library district are hungry for more Hannah Swensen. And, although I'm a bit embarrassed to admit it, so am I. When I finally did get my hands on the illusive novel, I delved right into it, glad to be back in cozy Lake Eden, Minnesota with the unluckiest cookie baker in the world.

If you're not familiar with Fluke's culinary mysteries, here's a rundown: Hannah Swensen, the busybody owner of The Cookie Jar, has a knack for discovering dead bodies. When she's not baking up scrumptious confections in her shop's kitchen, she's "helping" the police investigate the mysteries behind the deaths of all the corpses she happens to come across. With the aid of her fashionable sister, her overbearing mother, her sorta boyfriends (Norman, the dentist and Mike, the police officer), and her assistant, Lisa, she always gets the cases solved - before the professionals, of course. If you're looking for great literature, you're not going to find it here. The characters are flat, the dialogue's not much better, and the mysteries are always predictable. But, if you're looking for something light and fun, well, you can't go wrong with Joanne Fluke. Did I mention the books are mostly clean? And they include yummy recipes? They are. They do. So, while the series isn't ever going to earn A's from me, it is a whole lot of fun.

Blueberry Muffin Murder opens on an icy day in February, the dreariest month in Lake Eden. To perk everybody up, the town is hosting its first annual Winter Carnival, a festival that will include, among other activities, a dogsled race, a snowman building competition, an ice fishing contest and a special appearance by celebrity baker Connie Mac. Hannah's promised to bring dozens of cookies to the big event, meaning she's got her hands full with her own baking. The last thing she has time to do is play tour guide to America's cooking sweetheart, especially when Connie Mac turns out to be a controlling, hypercritical witch. Hannah's more than happy to turn her escort duties over to her sister, Andrea, who's much more enthusiastic about hanging with the spoiled star. Naturally, Hannah's less than thrilled when an emergency baking situation brings the woman into The Cookie Jar's kitchen. She's even less excited when she finds Connie Mac's dead body in her pantry. Hannah didn't like the woman, but no one deserves that kind of death.,/p>

Since The Cookie Shop is an active crime scene, Hannah needs to find another kitchen. She finds salvation at the Lake Eden Inn, where she can bake while questioning Connie Mac's employees, every one of whom had a reason to want their boss dead. Even Janie, a close friend of Andrea's, is starting to look guilty. Ignoring Mike's warning to stay out of police business, Hannah keeps digging, determined to clear her friend and solve the murder. But the closer she comes to the truth, the more secrets she uncovers, and the more vulnerable she, herself, becomes. Can she solve the murder in time? Or will the next corpse to turn up in little Lake Eden be Hannah's own?

If you can willingly suspend your belief, look past the stumbling prose and hurdle the gaping plot holes, you'll probably enjoy Blueberry Muffin Murder. Just remember not to take it too seriously. This series isn't about sparkling dialogue, intricate plotting or characters who pop off the page. Good, clean fun - that's what you're going to find here. And why not? We reviewers take ourselves far too seriously as it is ...

(Readalikes: Other books in the Hannah Swensen series by Joanne Fluke)

Grade: C

If this were a movie, it would be rated: PG-13 (If it weren't for a couple references to people sleeping together, it would be PG as there is no profanity, graphic violence or sex)

To the FTC, with love: Another library fine find

1 comment:

  1. Sounds like a nice light, fun read. Enjoyed your review! Oh and I clicked on your Twitter Follow button too :)

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