Monday, February 6, 2017

REVIEW: Red Velvet Cupcake Murder

Red Velvet Cupcake Murder
Author: Joanne Fluke

The Albion Hotel in Lake Eden, MN is hosting a grand re-opening. The hotel has been totally remodeled and anybody who is anybody in Lake Eden is at the ceremony. Hannah Swensen has baked her famous Red Velvet Cupcakes for the occasion. With the arrival of Doctor Bev - a woman that Hannah hates because she tried to hurt her friend, Norman - gossipy whispers start passing from one guest to another. But, the whispers stop when Barbara Donnelly falls from the roof of the hotel. As the Lake Eden Police Department scrambles to find out why Barbara fell from the roof, Doctor Bev falls back into her witchy ways, informing Hannah that she could steal Norman back from her with little effort. Hannah barely has time to stop being angry before she finds Doctor Bev's car submerged in Miller's Pond. Ding, Dong with witch is dead. Only it wasn't a Ding Dong that killed Doctor Bev. Local authorities believe it was Hannah who caused Doctor Bev's death by spiking her cupcake. Things don't look good for Hannah. The only way she can prevent her own arrest is to investigate and find out who actually killed the nasty Doctor Bev.

I enjoyed Red Velvet Cupcake Murder, the 16th book in the Hannah Swensen Mystery series. The mystery was a bit more involved this time. There were more suspects (even Hannah herself) and a bit more substance to the investigation. I didn't like the fact that Doctor Bev was the murder victim. Not that I didn't feel the venomous, slutty doctor didn't deserve it....but this is the 4th time this particular plot device has been used in this series. Two prior murder victims were women that dared to date Hannah's other love interest, Mike Kingston. Then a jerk ex-boyfriend of Hannah's was killed.  And now, the female dentist who was really horrible to Norman Rhodes is murdered. After awhile, deaths surrounding this on-going love triangle would start to make the authorities a little suspicious. How many boyfriends/girlfriends can drop dead around these people? I rolled my eyes at this one....not that part of me wasn't elated that Doctor Bev wouldn't be coming back in any of the future books.....I think Joanne Fluke needs to start murdering people who have never dated Mike, Norman or Hannah. It's a bit over-used after 4 times.

The recipes in this book all looked yummy. Mostly desserts this time, with one hotdish recipe.

All in all, the story was interesting, well paced, and an enjoyable Hannah Swensen mystery. But, it did nothing to get closer to a solution of the Mike-Norman-Hannah issue. The love triangle has gone on long enough.....and it's getting a bit annoying. The series has 20 books...with #21 coming out at the end of February. I'm trying to catch up with the series so I can find out if the weird love trifecta was ressolved before I accidentally read a spoiler somewhere that gives it away. I guess, even though it is annoying, the plot device of having Hannah indecisive in her love life is working if it has me reading through a 20 book series just to find out if she makes up her mind! The minute I start thinking she has decided on Norman.....Mike pops back up. Then I think maybe she's going to choose Mike...then she's back onto Norman. Maybe she just needs to dump them both and find someone else entirely.

I have to say......I'm finding myself pretty much siding with Team Norman. But, my guess is that most likely a dark horse will appear to steal her heart from both of them. Hopefully I find out soon! I'm tired of reading all the way through a novel and finding her not even one step closer to making any sort of a decision. Frustrating! :)

I receommend this series for anyone who enjoys light, cozy mysteries. There is no cussing, sex, spurting blood or graphic violence. Hannah runs her bakery with her friend Lisa, and seems to have a knack for discovering dead bodies. The supporting characters are fun and quirky. And, the recipes included are definitely yummy!

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