Review

Cream Puff Murder: A Hannah Swensen Mystery With Recipes

by Joanne Fluke

Hannah Swensen's life is going well. She has a business she
loves, close friends, a good family and her cat Moishe for
companionship. She also has two men vying for her affection: sexy
police detective Mike Kingston and reliable dentist Norman
Rhodes.

There are always challenges in life, and Hannah's current one
involves fitting into a Regency period dress for the launch party
celebrating her mother's debut romance novel. The dress is too
tight, and there's no getting around it. Actually, for Hannah,
there's no getting into it!

Hannah has to face the facts: diet and exercise are the only
things that are going to help her fit into that dress in two weeks'
time, and even that isn't a sure bet. As much as she hates to do
so, Hannah vows to limit her cookie intake and exercise more. Of
course, the fact that she is part-owner of The Cookie Jar and her
job involves making up new cookie recipes and then sampling them
makes losing weight a losing proposition.

Luckily her sister, Andrea, is willing to help. She supervises
Hannah's diet and drags her out to Heavenly Bodies, a nearby health
club, for an early morning workout each day. The workouts and a
fitness class are going smoothly until their regular instructor,
Roger, is injured in an auto accident. Suddenly, what was halfway
bearable becomes a fiasco when Ronni Ward, a part-time instructor
at Heavenly Bodies and a full-time fitness instructor with the
sheriff's department, takes over the class and immediately insults
all of the students, creating more enemies than she had already
acquired.

Ronni is one of those ladies who men love and women love to
hate. She is a flirt, and men --- married or single --- are her
target. Females, however, are beneath Ronni's notice. Mourners are
few and far between when her body is discovered in the club
Jacuzzi. It seems that she has made many enemies and few friends.
Several Eden Lake wives are more relieved than grieved to see the
demise of the fitness fury.

For Hannah, though, this murder hits a bit close to home when
several of her friends on the police force are removed from the
case due to a personal involvement with the victim. Everyone
assumes that Hannah will step in and begin her own investigation to
get to the bottom of this horrible crime, given the fact that she
has solved several local murders previously. Hannah wholeheartedly
agrees.

Between her diet, her new exercise program and running a
business, Hannah is already over-extended. Will this investigation
finally stretch her beyond her capacity? As it deepens, Hannah
finds that instead of narrowing the search for the culprit, the
list of suspects only lengthens. There seem to be no end of people
whom Ronni has ticked off.

As if she doesn't have enough on her mind, Hannah continues to
divide her time between suitors Norman and Mike and wonders which
man will prove more suitable.

As the launch party draws nearer, Hannah continues to put in her
hours at The Cookie Jar and follow up on any leads that come her
way. Will she solve the murder and clear her friends, or will
someone be wrongly accused of the promiscuous fitness guru’s
killing? Will Hannah fit into her dress in time for the launch
party? Will she be able to keep up with the increasing demand for
her specialty cookies? The only way to find out is to keep
reading.

CREAM PUFF MURDER falls into the cozy category of murder
mysteries, and cozy it is. Lake Eden is a close-knit Minnesota
community with a wonderful cast of characters reappearing from
previous novels. It's fun to watch the progression of the
relationships between the characters and their warmth and love for
one another, as well as the progression of the murder
investigation. The plethora of tasty and tempting cookie recipes
included doesn't hurt either. Be warned, though. If you curl up to
read this mystery without a plate of warm, homemade cookies and an
ice cold glass of milk, you do so at your own risk.

Reviewed by Amie Taylor on December 28, 2010

Cream Puff Murder: A Hannah Swensen Mystery With Recipes
by Joanne Fluke

  • Publication Date: March 1, 2009
  • Genres: Fiction, Mystery
  • Hardcover: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Kensington
  • ISBN-10: 0758210221
  • ISBN-13: 9780758210227