Saturday, March 25, 2017

Banana Cream Pie Murder by Joanne Fluke

As Joanne Fluke's latest Hannah Swenson mystery opens, Hannah and new husband Ross are enjoying the last days of their honeymoon cruise.  Meanwhile, back in Lake Eden Hannah's mother discovers the body of retired actress/community theater director Victoria Bascomb.  Within hours of arriving home, Hannah is involved in trying to solve the mystery along with her younger sister Michelle.  While the book starts out with some interesting details about Hannah and Ross adjusting to life as a married couple -- do they like the whole apartment makeover done by Hannah's mom and sisters?  Will Ross mind having Michelle stay with them for a few weeks?  Can Hannah adjust to having Ross around every evening?  Before she even has a chance to consider the last question, Ross is gone (for work?) and really never appears much again.  That appears to leave Hannah free to snoop and pry into the murder.  Was it the mayor, who appears to be a suspect in several Fluke novels?  But perhaps this time, he is guilty.  Victoria was his sister and she was planning to change her will, cutting him out as punishment for his bad behavior. 

Although I've known about the Hannah Swenson mysteries for years, I did not start reading them until after I saw the Hallmark movies based on the series.  With my interest sparked by television, I read the newest Christmas tale CHRISTMAS CARAMEL MURDER and now BANANA CREAM PIE MURDER, plus I downloaded a few others on my Nook. While the idea of inserting actual recipes into the stories is appealing, I found that this book just had too many recipes.  Now, I often spend evenings reading cookbooks like they were novels, but the inclusion of a new recipe or two at the end of every chapter of the had me distracted.  Mostly it was the lengthy instructions with all sorts of "personal comments" from Hannah, Michelle, or the author that had me skipping ahead to the next chapter.  I mean there was a murderer on the loose. Recipe overload aside, this mystery offered a bit of humor via a trick on the mayor during a pie eating contest.  Then there was an ending packing two surprises worthy of another television adaption. While this wasn't my favorite cozy mystery of all time, it was a quick, entertaining read.   Plus, I have to admit I have a hankering for an old fashioned banana cream pie; so much so, that I put bananas on my grocery list and I hope I get a pie made before hubby eats all the bananas on his cereal.  I received a digital copy of this novel from NetGalley.  All opinions are mine.

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