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Friday, July 29, 2016

Book Review: Strawberry Shortcake Murder by Joanne Fluke

When the president of Hartland Flour chooses cozy Lake Eden, Minnesota, as the spot for their first annual Dessert Bake-Off, Hannah is thrilled to serve as the head judge. But when a fellow judge, Coach Boyd Watson, is found stone-cold dead, facedown in Hannah’s celebrated strawberry shortcake, Lake Eden’s sweet ride to fame turns very sour indeed.

Between perfecting her Cheddar Cheese Apple Pie and Chocolate Crunchies, Hannah’s snooping into the coach’s private life and not coming up short on suspects. And could Watson’s harsh criticism during the judging have given one of the contestants a license to kill? The stakes are rising faster than dough, and Hannah will have to be very careful, because somebody is cooking up a recipe for muder…with Hannah landing on the “necessary ingredients” list.[summary via Goodreads]

I first read Strawberry Shortcake Murder in 2011, and I'm now re-reading the series as part of my Hannah Swensen Mysteries Readalong. While I'm familiar with the characters and Lake Eden, I had forgotten the details of the murder and who the murderer was. This made my re-read quite enjoyable. It was almost like I was experiencing it for the first time, but with the added enjoyment that I already knew the characters.

Hannah is participating in the first annual Dessert Bake-Off as head judge, and she couldn't be more thrilled. After all, we know how much Hannah, owner of The Cookie Jar, loves her desserts. Of course things turn from quiet to deadly, when one of the judges turns up dead. Even though Hannah isn't officially on the case, she feels the need to find the killer, when one of her friends becomes the prime suspect.

As a amateur sleuth, I like Hannah a lot. She's nosy, but doesn't recklessly throw herself into danger, and is very protective of her sister, Andrea, who is happy to come along for the ride. I love how, with each book, Hannah and Andrea are getting closer. They are nothing alike, but as adults they are becoming closer and its nice to watch the relationship grow with each book.

Alike to a lot of readers I can't get enough of this series. From the mystery, that is always fun to untangle, to the delicious cookie recipes, the Hannah Swensen mysteries don't disappoint. While the series is a long one, with 21 books and counting, it is well worth the investment of your reading time. They are a delight to read (and re-read) and I can't wait to see what Hannah gets up to next!

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