By Joanne Fluke
Series: Hannah Swenson #4
Published by Kensington Publishing Corporation
on February 1, 2004
Cover image and synopsis from Goodreads:
Hannah Swensen thought she'd finally discovered the recipe for a perfect life. But her sometime beau Norman Rhodes tosses a surprise ingredient into the mix when he phones to tell her he's just bought a house from local drugstore clerk Rhonda Scharf - which he plans to tear down in order to build the dream home he and Hannah designed.
It seems the plan has been cooking for quite some time, and Hannah is shocked - especially since her ring finger is still very much bare. The good news is that the soon-to-be-torn-down house is full of antiques - and Norman has given Hannah and her mother first dibs.
They uncover some gorgeous old furniture, a patchwork quilt ... and Rhonda Scharf's dead body. A little more sleuthing turns up the half-eaten remains of a very special dinner for two - and one of The Cookie Jar's famous lemon meringue pies.
Now it's up to Hannah to turn up the heat - and get busy tracking down the clues. Starting in her very own kitchen.
Hannah Swenson has another murder to solve! If you liked the previous Hannah Swenson books, you’ll like this one.
The whole town is preparing for a big Fourth of July celebration, when Hannah’s mother discovers a dead body in the basement of Norman’s new house. This time, instead of hiding her investigation from the police, everyone is eager for Hannah to get involved and figure it out – which, of course, she does.
I figured out who the killer was before the end of the book, but it was still fun to wait for Hannah to work everything out and figure out the motive and the means, as well. And of course, this all happens right before the killer traps her and she has to escape before she becomes the next victim.
What I like about this book, and all of the Hannah Swenson books, is that they’re murder mysteries and very entertaining, without being full of violence and sex and foul language. There is romance between Hannah and her two suitors, Norman and Mike, without feeling like a Harlequin romance. The books are somewhat tame but very pleasant to read.
I also love the small-town setting. The characters in Hannah’s town are funny (although they keep getting killed…) and there is always some sort of celebration going on.
Then, of course, there are the delicious recipes that are provided throughout the book for the cookies, pies, cakes and bars that Hannah bakes. Yum! I have yet to try any, but just reading them and thinking about all of those treats is pretty fun!
These are really nice books to read in between some of my ‘heavier’ reading, and if you’re looking for something similar, you should read this. Even if you haven’t read Chocolate Chip Cookie Murder, the first Hannah Swenson book, you’ll like this (although I recommend that you start with the first in the series!).