As usual, Joanne Fluke’s intrepid sleuth and baker
extraordinaire, Hannah Swensen, is busy, busy, busy. Christmas is
only 10 days away, and with the holiday fast approaching, she has a
lot to do. As the one elected to cook Christmas dinner for her
family and friends, it seems like her to-do list doesn’t have
Also taking up much of her time is her bakery, The Cookie Jar,
the store where Hannah sells her cookies and other sweet
delicacies. Thankfully, business is booming, and this year she and
her partner, Lisa, have a contract to deliver cookies to the Crazy
Elf Christmas Cookie Shop. People can’t buy the cookies fast
enough, and the shop is selling out on a daily basis. That’s
when Hannah comes up with the idea for something new to offer:
Minnesota Plum Pudding. While plum pudding doesn’t typically
contain plums and is just about as popular as the tired, dry
fruitcake your Aunt Betty sends to you every year, Hannah decides
it’s time for her to come up with a tasty, fruity version of
an old standby.
As if Hannah doesn't have enough to do, she somehow gets conned
into attending a business course at the local college with her wily
mother, Delores, where she runs into an old flame. If there’s
one thing Hannah doesn’t need, it’s another man in her
life. At the moment, she is still dating policeman Mike and dentist
Norman and trying to keep it light on both counts. When Norman,
Mike and Delores all come to Hannah concerned about Norman’s
mother, Carrie, who is ditching friends and family, lying and
behaving strangely, what else can Hannah do but to promise to help
them get to the bottom of her recent actions?
And then there's Moishe. While Hannah would like to enter into
the Christmas spirit by having her first tree in years, furry pal
and champion mouser Moishe doesn't like this big green thing that
has invaded his territory, and he is not shy about letting it be
known. How in the heck will Hannah decorate her tree when the cat
refuses to let it remain in a vertical position?
All of these concerns dim somewhat, however, when the shady
businessman who owns the Crazy Elf Christmas Tree Lot, Larry
Jaeger, is shot to death. Talk about putting a damper on the
season. Remaining undaunted, Hannah keeps pressing forward and adds
solving the murder to her ever-growing to-do list.
She has some real sleuthing ahead of her, though. There seems to
be no end of suspects in the murder of the oily businessman. Could
it be his ex-wife, Dr. Love, whom he hasn't seen in 15 years;
Courtney, Larry's fiancée, whom he had been using for her
money, among other things; or Mayor Bascomb and the other investors
in the Crazy Elf Christmas Tree Lot? It's hard to say. A dishonest
man can make enemies quicker than Hannah can make cookies.
PLUM PUDDING MURDER is another delightful installment in Joanne
Fluke's already successful Hannah Swensen mystery series.
There is just something cozy and comforting about spending the
holidays with friends and family. Also included are a plethora of
recipes both Christmas and otherwise. Get ready to enjoy such
treats as Holly Jolly Coffee, Christmas Cheese Rounds, Easy Cheesy
Biscuits and Hannah’s entire Christmas dinner menu.
Reviewed by Amie Taylor on January 18, 2011