I have to tell you...I am obsessed!! Joanne Fluke writes the Hannah Swensen murders...It's like Jessica Fletcher meets Mrs. Fields.
A few years ago I was searching for something that was a light and easy Christmas read. I love to cook (duh) and I love mysteries, so I picked up The Sugar Cookie Murder, by Joanne Fluke. I started to read it...and honestly, wasn't impressed. I was simple and easy. Hannah's constant correction of her sister's grammar and the long winded descriptions of things that had nothing to do with anything started to bother me. I was about 1/2 way through the book and only pages away from finding out who the murderer was. What was going on? I found out who it was, was pleasantly surprised that it wasn't who I thought it was and that the book had left me all the clues, and then turned the page to find that 1/2 the book was a cookbook! Cool!! It's stayed with the cookbooks in my kitchen first and then my mother's kitchen.
Fast forward to last month. I was looking for something to grab my attention. I needed an escape. My mom is my source for my books. She had picked up another one of the Joanne Fluke books and had read through it in just a few short days. She's fast, but not that fast. She had gotten so caught up in the serial aspects of the books that she has gone out and bought three more the next day. She passed them off to me and sure enough, the same thing happened to me!! In less than a month I had read 4 books (rereading the one Christmas book) and was hungering for more.
Hanna Swensen is a 30 year old cookie shop owner. She has a knack for finding the bodies of those that meet a murderous end. I liken the books to a good Sunday afternoon Lifetime Movie Channel 2-hour mystery series, like Mystery Woman or Murder 101. In fact, when reading, I have thought about how to stage the whole thing and if I was a movie maker how I would do it!
Fluke welcomes you into a world of county fairs, small town cops, snow up to you eyeballs, and a cat that has more personality than my cats combined. This being said - YOU WILL GET ADDICTED!! Reading one on it's own you can enjoy it, but when you read the series in order, you see that she starts to develop plots 2-3 books ahead of time with subtleties. I'm usually surprised by who did it, but not in the Murder She Wrote way where there was something Jessica knew but noone else did until she revised it. She leaves you all the clues, you just have to figure it out.
There is also a bonus - EVERY BOOK HAS RECIPES IN THEM!! And they are good!! They average about 10-15 recipes per book (except The Sugar Cookie Murder which was 1/2 a recipe book)
So the short of the long post above - I recommend the Hanna Swensen murder mystery series, but with a warning - you will want to read them all! Just start at the top and work your way down. I promise you'll be done before the Apple Turnover Murder is available in February!
In my search of an image of the book I'm reading currently (Key Lime Pie Mystery) I came across the blog post by Bloggin' 'bout Books (http://www.blogginboutbooks.com/2009/05/my-light-fluffy-fluke-thon.html) Her experience was so similar to mine that I had to reference her. She has decided to start a FLuke-A-Thon for herself. Now, I don't have anywhere near the following she has (Is anyone reading me?), but I thought why not, right? I have added to the sidebar my own Fluke-A-Thon tally. I'll keep you up on how I'm doing. If you want to...please join me!
My Fluke-A-Thon official starts today! The ones I have read are in BOLD
1. Chocolate Chip Cookie Murder
2. Candy for Christmas (a novella that appears inside special editions of Chocolate Chip Cookie Murder.)
3. Strawberry Shortcake Murder
4. Blueberry Muffin Murder
5. Lemon Meringue Pie Murder
6. Fudge Cupcake Murder
7. Sugar Cookie Murder (I reread this one)
8. Peach Cobbler Murder
9. Sugar and Spice (novella/short story - part of a collection)
10. Cherry Cheesecake Murder
11. Key Lime Pie Murder (currently reading)
12. Carrot Cake Murder
13. Candy Cane Murder
14. Cream Puff Murder
15. Plum Pudding Murder (released September 2009 - only in hardcover)
16. Apple Turnover Murder (to be released in hardcover February 2010)
The culinary adventures of a non-foodie foodie yearning to learn more. There are recipes, commentaries and tidbits that our aspiring domestic goddess has come across in her journey.