Mystery Books for Sale

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by Joanne Fluke
Kensington, February 2005
292 pages
ISBN: 0758201540

Buy in the UK | Buy in Canada

The Cookie Jar Bakery is experiencing some challenges. Competition has come to Lake Eden, Minnesota in the form of the Magnolia Blossom Bakery. Hannah Swenson and her partner Lisa try to cope as they watch their frequent customers patronize this new place.

Not only are these two women, Shawna Lee and Vanessa, taking their customers, it looks like Shawna may have her sights set on Mike. Mike Kingston is a detective and has been dating Hannah. These are only two reasons for Hannah not to like Shawna.

In addition, Lisa's wedding takes place in 12 days. Herb is the lucky groom and a cop. He is a reliable source and is the person who sees Mike's vehicle behind the 'other' bakery. The two men who Hannah dates are Mike (already mentioned) and Norman. Mike is in question now but Norman is faithful to Hannah. He is not quite the charmer that Mike is and certainly not as handsome, but that is okay. Even though Hannah can be bowled over by Mike, I think that Norman is the prize.

Hannah's sister Andrea agrees to spy on the Magnolia Bakery. The place is crowded, standing room only. Some of the customers are actually Hannah's friends and family. When Andrea buys samples from the other bakery and brings it back, comparisons are made. This food is not anything special, in fact it is quite ordinary. What is going on here? Andrea lets Hannah know that the girls wear very short dresses with low necklines. Also this bakery has contests. The more that Hannah hears, the more she knows she wants to wait out this current fiasco.

Delores, Hannah's mother, decides to have Moishe the cat get rid of her mouse problem. Moishe doesn't cooperate but Delores never receives that information. She thinks that the mouse is gone. Readily, she recommends Moishe's mouse-catching talents to others in the community. In a short time, others are seeking his expertise.

This is just one example of the type of tongue-in-cheek humor in this series. You see, Moishe does not like Delores. Everytime Hannah's mother calls on the phone, Moishe's hair stands on end. This cat is better than the caller identification service.

Hannah's five-year-old niece Tracey is always a great addition to each installment of the series as she banters with her aunt. Tracey's mother Andrea takes her duties as wedding detail expert very seriously. As irritating as Andrea can be, you have to love her. She even has Hannah pulling double duty when the chauffeur is disabled.

Hannah wears many hats and one of them is her propensity for finding dead bodies. This book is no exception. Lisa even returns earlier than expected after her wedding because she knows that Hannah will be sleuthing. In full swing with her investigation, Hannah delegates tasks to Andrea, Norman, and Norman's mother. Follow along closely because even though Hannah is an amateur sleuth, she knows what she is doing.

The strengths of this story and series are many. The characters are ones that have become so familiar to me and I enjoy seeing how they progress and change. I recommend that you read this series in order -- this is number seven. The climate in February is chilling in Minnesota and the author expertly paints the picture. I did have a blanket around me as I read the descriptions and I could feel cold weather coming from the story.

If you like reading about baking ideas, Joanne Fluke does not fail to deliver. I love to cook and bake so this series is very motivational in that area as well as being just plain fun to read.

Reviewed by Rita Ratacheck, February 2005

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Contact: Yvonne Klein (ymk@reviewingtheevidence.com)

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