Red Velvet Cupcake Murder : Hannah Swensen

  • by Joanne Fluke
  • Narrated by Suzanne Toren
  • Series: Hannah Swensen
  • 9 hrs and 50 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

New York Times best-selling author Joanne Flukeā€™s cozy mysteries grow in popularity with each new series entry.
One summer in Lake Eden, Minnesota, Hannah Swensen attends the grand opening of a newly refurbished hotel, where her famous red velvet cupcakes will be served in the new Red Velvet lounge. But when a party guest falls from the hotel roof, festivities come to a screeching halt - and Hannah becomes the surprising target of a murder investigation.


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Hot Dishes & Cold Murder

Lake Eden, Minnesota is the most murderous small town since Cabot Cove, Maine. Mystery writer and detective Jessica Fletcher lived in Cabot Cove, solving crimes week after week in the series "Murder, She Wrote" (1984-1996). At least 2% of the population of Cabot Cove succumbed to blows to the head, gunshot wounds, stranglings and poisonings.

The creative killings spread to small town Minnesota. Lake Eden resident Hannah Swensen owns the 'The Cookie Jar', a popular coffee shop and bakery in the middle of 'downtown'. Hannah bakes and solves mysteries with the help of her business partner, two sisters, her widowed mother, and two beaus, Norman, the town dentist; and Sheriff Mike. That's a good thing: the town's homicide rate isn't as high as Cabot Cove's (yet!) but percentage-wise, it's 100 times higher than New York City's 2013 statistics.

Hannah's in her late 20's? Early 30's? She's a little behind on technology (would any of us explore the scene of an accident without a cell phone in hand?) but that's an author/editor issue: Joanne Fluke is two generations older than her fictional Hannah. Fluke could have set her mysteries all in the same general time, as Sue Grafton does with her Kinsey Millhone mysteries (A is for Alibi, 1982 - present), but since Fluke's books really are 'jumpable' (you can go from #1 to #15 to #7, etc. without a problem), readers in a couple of years won't even notice the problem.

Hannah Swensen mysteries aren't terribly difficult to solve, but complicated plots aren't the point here. Okay-to-good dialogue and really great recipes are. I've tried several from some of Joanne Fluke's earlier books (Cream Puff Murder, 2009; and Cherry Cheesecake Murder, 2006) and they were yummy. I'm planning on making the title confection from "Red Velvet Cupcake Murder" (2013) . . and the pancakes later in the book sound great.

One thing I won't be making is the Chicken Tetrazzini Hot Dish that appears in the book. Translation for those of you who weren't raised in the Land of 10,000 Lakes and 1,000,000,000 Mosquitos: a Hot Dish is a called a casserole most other places, and it almost always involves Cream-of-Mushroom soup, grated cheese and chicken, and is cooked at 350 degrees for an hour. Fluke includes an honest to goodness Hot Dish recipe, complete with the nod to Campbell's best selling soup.

The narration was done in almost over the top Minnesotan, and yes, the Frozen Chosen do have an accent. Remember the Coen Brother's 1996 movie "Fargo"? Frances McDormand, playing Marge Gunderson, got it right.

Recommendation: if you are new to the series, pick the book with the desert you'd most like to make.

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- Cynthia "Always moving. Always listening. Always learning. "After all this time?" "Always.""


Too many recipes, not enough storyline. Glacial pace. I had to stop early in the second half.
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- Katherine

Book Details

  • Release Date: 02-26-2013
  • Publisher: Recorded Books