Chocolate Chip Cookie Murder by Joanne Fluke
Published by Kensington on April 1, 2000
Series: Hannah Swensen #1
Genre: Cozy Mystery, Mystery
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Take one amateur sleuth. Mix in some eccentric Minnesota locals. Add a generous dollop of crackling suspense, and you've got the recipe for this delicious new mystery series featuring Hannah Swensen, the red-haired, cookie-baking heroine whose gingersnaps are almost as tart as her mouth and whose penchant for solving crime is definitely stirring things up.
Hannah already has her hands full trying to dodge her mother's attempts to marry her off while running The Cookie Jar, Lake Eden's most popular bakery. But once Ron LaSalle, the beloved delivery man from the Cozy Cow Dairy, is found murdered behind her bakery with Hannah's famous Chocolate Chip Crunchies scattered around him, her life just can't get any worse. Determined not to let her cookies get a bad reputation, she sets out to track down a killer. But if she doesn't watch her back, Hannah's sweet life may get burned to a crisp.
Joanne Fluke’s books are hugely popular, but I’ve never read any of them until now. Chocolate Chip Cookie Murder is a fun cozy mystery that introduces Hannah Swensen, a sassy baker turned amateur sleuth.
Hannah owns The Cookie Jar in the small town of Lake Eden, MN. She spends most of her time in her shop and avoiding her mother’s matchmaking attempts. But Hannah becomes a spur-of-the-moment detective when Ron, delivery driver for the local dairy, turns up dead.
Hannah begins assisting local cop Bill, who’s also her brother-in-law. Together, they’re determined to catch Ron’s killer. I found much of Hannah’s investigating far-fetched simply because I didn’t think any real cop would’ve allowed a civilian to get as involved as Hannah does—and she gets super involved. As in, I’ll take Tampering with Evidence for $500, Alex. That being said, I like Hannah as a character: she’s smart, funny, and headstrong.
Since this book was first published in 2000, there are definitely some dated references—no mention of cell phones at all and a few archaic computer references. Other than that, the book holds up surprisingly well.
For a cozy, this story sure went on longer than necessary, I felt. Hannah basically goes through the majority of the town, one by one, in her efforts to narrow down the suspects and find Ron’s killer. I was surprised when the identity is revealed, but I also thought the story could have been shorter.
Considering that Hannah seemed to do most of the legwork in the investigation, I wasn’t entirely pleased that she handed over all the credit to Bill for solving the case. But maybe that’s a testament to Hannah’s character and small-town camaraderie.
Overall, I enjoyed the book and blame it 100% for my constant cookie cravings during each reading.
Rating: 4 stars