Although murder occurs with startling regularity in the small
Minnesotan town of Lake Eden, no one could have imagined that
visiting minister Matthew Walters would be the next victim, within
days of his arrival, no less. After all, who would want to shoot a
man of the cloth, and why?
Mike and his look-alike cousin, Paul, lived in Lake Eden as
teenagers, but neither had returned for years until Matthew came to
fill in for Reverend Bob Knudson while he was on a Hawaiian
honeymoon with his wife, Claire. Once Bob and Claire leave town,
Matthew settles comfortably into life at the parsonage with Bob's
grandmother, Grandma Knudson, and Jacob, a very vocal mynah
While Hannah was a mere tot the last time Matthew was in Lake
Eden, she's pleased to have someone familiar to the community to
replace her good friend and spiritual leader, Bob. It's not long,
however, until Grandma Knudson calls Hannah with concerns about
Matthew. The Matthew of today doesn't match up with the Matthew of
yesterday, and her suspicions are raised.
In spite of her tight schedule running The Cookie Jar, the
bakery she owns with close friend Lisa Herman Beeseman, Hannah
doesn't mind the diversion. It sure beats mulling over the twists
and turns of her less-than-satisfactory love life. Still torn
between police detective Mike Kingston and town dentist Norman
Rhodes, Hannah isn't so sure that either man is the right one for
her. Mike has previously proven that he has issues with
faithfulness, and Norman, usually Hannah's rock, is distracted by
the new partner in his dental office, Doctor Bev.
Not only is Dr. Beverly Thorndike Norman's new partner, she's
his former fiancée and she's gorgeous. Before coming to town,
marriage to Norman seemed to be on Hannah's horizon. Now, however,
she has serious doubts. Norman, unfortunately, is caught up in the
petite beauty's web, and Hannah is feeling neglected. As if that
isn't bad enough, when Norman is out with Hannah, Dr. Bev
entertains herself with Mike. Hannah isn't happy with the good
doctor's way of insinuating herself into the lives of either of the
men, but she hardly has room to talk since she isn't exclusive with
either fellow. Better to focus on the mystery of who killed
Reverend Matthew than to stew over whether or not she'll ever marry
and have the family she wants.
Luckily, Hannah's mom and sisters are willing and able to assist
as she delves into the murder mystery. A funny scene at a local
dive will leave readers laughing and loving the relationship among
the four women. As usual, the residents of Lake Eden are a warm and
happy family, and it's fun to watch the action in DEVIL'S FOOD CAKE
MURDER as they scramble to solve the 14th mystery in Joanne Fluke's
Hannah Swensen series. You can't replace the comfort of a
familiar cast of characters you've come to know and love.
And if that isn't enough, you'll surely enjoy the plethora of
recipes for Red Devil's Food Cake, Strawberry Shortbread Bar
Cookies, Death by Caffeine, Butterscotch Bonanza Bars and others.
As soon as you put down the book, it's almost mandatory that you
head to the kitchen and try out some of Hannah's favorite
concoctions --- if you're able to last that long!
Reviewed by Amie Taylor on March 28, 2011