As a lover of mystery series, I have known about the Hannah Swensen Mysteries by Joanne Fluke for many years now. I've always wanted to read them, so when I saw Amazon had the first one for the Kindle for 2.99, I thought it was the perfect time. These books have been out for some time so I have a lot of catching up to do.
Here's a bit about the book, but don't worry, I won't give anything away. . . Hannah Swensen lives in a small town in Minnesota, where she owns and operates The Cookie Jar, her bakery/coffee shop business. She also does catering for special functions for many of the towns people. Hannah hasn't been in a serious relationship since she got burned by one of her college professors and she is perfectly content being alone for now. Her mother, Delores, on the other hand, works overtime to try to find Mr. Right for Hannah. Her sister, Andrea, is married to a deputy sheriff and they have a daughter, Tracey that Hannah is crazy about.
In this first book of the series, one of Hannah's friends, who also works at the local dairy and makes deliveries to her shop every morning has been murdered very near The Cookie Jar. In fact, Hannah was the unfortunate person to have discovered the body. Her brother-in-law Bill sees this case as an opportunity to show the Sheriff his skills and is hoping for a promotion to Detective if he can solve this case.
Naturally, Hannah is curious about the case and wants to help Bill. She stumbles upon some crucial information that implicates some well-to-do people in their little town. Before she knows it, she is up to her rolling pins in the investigation and with some help from her sister, she is determined to solve this case and find out who killed her friend. And thank goodness for her faithful employee, Lisa, because The Cookie Jar has never been busier!
Joanne Fluke's CHOCOLATE CHIP COOKIE MURDER is a charming and entertaining read with likable characters. Hannah, the protagonist, is a confident, independent woman who isn't afraid to be alone and is there when her friends and family need her. The relationship with her mother is quirky due to the fact that she's always dodging Delores' matchmaking antics. Although she and her sister, Andrea are very different, they have a good relationship and are there for each other.
The mystery itself was very light and clues come to Hannah very easily, which did make it a little unbelievable for me at times. Although I did enjoy the trials and tribulations that Hannah went through and found them entertaining, I won't say this is one of my favorite mysteries but it is a very quick read and is perfect if you're looking for something light to read. That said, I will probably pick up the second book in the series, THE STRAWBERRY SHORTCAKE MURDER to see where this next case takes Hannah.
One thing that I do love about this series is the cookie recipes found throughout the book that Hannah sells at The Cookie Jar. There are some really good recipes and I do plan to test out a few. In fact, here's a very simple recipe that really made my mouth water . . .
1 cup butter (2 sticks)
3 cups brown sugar
4 eggs, beaten
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
3 teaspoons vanilla
2 cups finely chopped pecans
4 cups flour
Preheat oven to 350' F, rack in the middle position. Melt butter and add brown sugar. Mix well and let cool. Add beaten eggs and mix. Add salt, baking soda, vanilla, and nuts. Mix well. Add flour and mix until flour is thoroughly distributed.
Form dough into balls with your fingers. (The size of walnuts.) Place on a greased cookie sheet, 12 to a standard sheet. Press them down with a spatula coated with cooking spray so the dough doesn't stick. Bake at 350 for 10 to 12 minutes. Let cookies set up on sheet for one minute, then remove them to a wire rack to finish cooling.
I don't know about you but those cookies sound Dee-lish and I will be trying them! I will also be trying the second book, THE STRAWBERRY SHORTCAKE MURDER as well. Sometimes you just want a fun book that you can breeze through and that is exactly what this book was for me. Joanne Fluke has a great website where you can learn about all of her books in the series, and there are many! In fact, her latest, the fourteenth in the series, THE DEVILS FOOD CAKE MURDER is being released this week!
Author: Joanne Fluke
Published: April 2000