Chocolate Chip Cookie Murder: A Hannah Swensen Mystery

Joanne Fluke, Author, Kensington, Producer Kensington Publishing Corporation $20 (320p) ISBN 978-1-57566-524-5
Independent-minded Hannah Swenson makes her debut in a cleverly plotted cozy, full of appealing characters and delicious cookie recipes. Returning after her father's death to her hometown of Lake Eden, Minn., Hannah opens her own shop, the Cookie Jar, where much of the town's gossip percolates along with the strong coffee. Early one morning, she finds the driver of a delivery truck shot dead in the alley behind her shop. Hannah's brother-in-law, Bill, the county's deputy sheriff, recruits her to help him chase down the culprit. A surprising number of suspects emerges, but due to her cafe business and catering of local social events, Hannah is admirably placed to hear all, see much and investigate a little. Motives ranging from blackmail to extortion abound, as do descriptions of clothing and shopping. Cat fanciers will appreciate knowing how Hannah found her cat, but separating the wheat of the significant from the chaff of the irrelevant can be challenging. Fluke also stretches the imagination when Bill leaves most of the sleuthing to Hannah and when the sheriff's men fail to discover a second body at the dairy where the first victim was employed. But these are minor lapses in a story satisfyingly packed with plot twists and red herrings. The Pecan Chews recipe is especially recommended. (Apr.)
Reviewed on: 04/03/2000
Release date: 04/01/2000
Genre: Fiction
Mass Market Paperbound - 324 pages - 978-0-7582-1505-5
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