Monday, January 30, 2017

REVIEW: Plum Pudding Murder

Plum Pudding Murder
Author: Joanne Fluke

It's Christmastime again in Lake Eden, MN and Hannah Swensen is busy baking cookies to supply the Crazy Elf Tree Lot. Larry Jaegar and his fiance Courtney run the tree lot. It seems to be doing good business, but Mayor Bascomb tells Hannah that Larry is losing money. He's selling the trees too cheaply and Bascomb is worried he will lose his investment in the business. The books don't balance either. There are several people upset with Larry, but one person is angry enough to kill. Hannah and her sometimes-boyfriend Norman find Larry shot to death in the office at the tree lot. Was he killed over money? Or something else? Hannah and her friends are on the case again. What's Christmas in Lake Eden without a murder?

Plum Pudding Murder is the 12th book in the Hannah Swensen Mystery series. There are 20 books so far, with the 21st, Banana Cream Pie Murder, coming out on February 28th! To get the full background on all the main characters it might be advisable to start at the beginning of the series, but it's definitely possible to jump into things in the middle of the series and still enjoy the mystery. There is enough background sprinkled here and there so a new reader could follow and understand the book without having read all of the ones before it.

The Hannah Swensen series is my favorite cozy mystery series. I like the characters. They remind me of people I knew growing up in a small town. I am getting a bit weary of a love triangle with Hannah's two main love interests....Mike and Norman. In this book, that situation is in the background and not integral to the plot....but it is still there. Hannah needs to make up her mind and stop stringing them along. It really does seem like she is just hanging on so she isn't alone while waiting for a better man to come along. Mike is a bit of a jerk, and Norman is a push-over. Because I am still 8 books behind, I'm being very careful to not accidentally read any spoilers about what happens between Hannah and her men. I'm going to catch up with this series and find out ASAP.....I am really beginning to hope that they both dump her and she finds someone else better suited to her. If either Mike or Norman was what Hannah needed, she would have made a decision a long time ago. It's like a soap opera. I dislike her stringing two men along for 12 books..... but I can't stop reading because I want to find out what happens. So, while I roll my eyes each time she has both men making goo-goo eyes at her and complain that I'm getting tired of that subplot......I secretly really really want to know who Hannah ends up with. Maybe she will in the next book -- Apple Turnover Murder!

The recipes in Plum Pudding Murder are all holiday dinner or party related, ranging from entrees and side dishes to desserts and biscuits.

Plum Pudding Murder and 3 other Hannah Swensen stories have been made into movies by Hallmark Movies & Mysteries channel. The movie version of this book differs from the book a little bit, but not much. The Hannah Swensen movies are fun to watch! Cozy mystery fans will definitely enjoy all four of them. But, as usual, the books are better than the movies.

Joanne Fluke has also written several thriller/suspense novels. For more information on the author and her books, check out her website:

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