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Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Plum Pudding Murder - Joanne Fluke (Culinary Mystery)



Released October 2009

www.murdershebaked.com
www.kensingtonbooks.com

Since the very inception of Joanne Fluke's Hannah Swenson Mysteries, I've collected each and every book for the outstanding recipes and charming storyline. The recipes included in these books are not for the calorie conscious. These are decadent baked goods whipped up by Hannah Swenson, owner of The Cookie Jar.

In this latest offering, Hannah once again stumbles across a dead body. This time she's gone to collect payment from a new customer, Crazy Elf Christmas Tree Lot. It seems someone didn't like the owner's business ethics.

During her normal routine, Hannah learns more about the owner and how investors in his business, including Mayor Bascomb, may have been getting scammed. Determined to unravel the mystery, Hannah, along with help from friends and family, tries to get to the truth behind the murder.

If you've never read one of Joanne Fluke's mystery novels, you may want to catch up. The author does a good job breaking down the various characters. However, there is so much background to Hannah and her pals that I think reading the stories in order would help out, especially when there are numerous sub-plots in this one.

Beyond the actual murder mystery, there is also the introduction of a man from Hannah's past. She's definitely not interested in speaking to him. In fact, she rather coldly blows him off leaving readers to wonder more. That sub-plot seems to take backstage to the sub-plot involving Norman's secretive mother who suddenly begins blowing her friends and family off and no one can figure out why.

The long-standing love triangle between Mike, Norman and Hannah is also a prominent part in this story. As a long time reader, I admit I'm growing tired of it. It seems Hannah really has made up her mind, but seems to enjoy playing the men off each other. I honestly would like to see her character mature and finally make up her mind. I think it's due time.

Recipes include:

Hot Fudge Sundae Cake
Pork and Beans Bread
Minnesota Plum Pudding
Orange Julius Cookies
Shrimp Louie Spread
Cranberry Scones
Scandinavian Spuds
Jeweled Pork Roast
and much, much more.

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