cover image Banana Cream Pie Murder: A Hannah Swensen Mystery

Banana Cream Pie Murder: A Hannah Swensen Mystery

Joanne Fluke. Kensington, $26 (368p) ISBN 978-1-61773-220-1

At the outset of bestseller Fluke’s subpar 21st Hannah Swensen mystery (after 2016’s Christmas Caramel Murder), Hannah’s mother, Delores Swensen, hears screams and then gunshots coming from the residence of retired stage actress Tori Bascomb, a friend and neighbor. Might Tori be giving an acting lesson in her home studio? When Dolores goes over to Tori’s place, she’s horrified to find the actress lying dead on the studio rug. Fortunately, amateur sleuth Hannah is about to return home to Lake Eden, Minn., from her honeymoon with Ross Baron. With her customary knack for figuring things out, Hannah follows hunches until she comes to a conclusion, but the motive is a little harder to determine. Hannah and former suitor Det. Mike Kingston then make an alarming discovery, leading to a cliffhanger ending. An overly simplistic story and inconsistent behavior make this less effective than other books in the series, but fans will certainly enjoy the abundance of tasty recipes. Agent: Meg Ruley, Jane Rotrosen Agency. (Mar.)