If you thought you could predict Hannah Swenson’s next move, or that author Joanne Fluke was just riding on the coattails of her series of successful culinary novels, think again. Chocolate Cream Pie Murder will both surprise and delight with its plot twists and original recipes.
We’ve written about the Hannah Swensen series before (known as Murder She Baked in the Hallmark Movie series based on the books), most recently with a review of Christmas Cake Murder.
Hannah Fans We Are
We are, in fact, fans. That’s why it’s fun to see the author mix it up a little (pun intended) and take Hannah’s story in a little different direction. The same cast of characters is involved—her mother, her sister Michelle, her past boyfriends Norman and Mike, plus a new focus on her neighbors, her friends from college, and others in the general Lake Eden population.
There is also a fair amount of cooking, between meals Hannah and Michelle cook up at home for a crowd, and the baking at the Cookie Jar, Hannah’s sweets shop. They are experimenting with new recipes for Valentine’s Day throughout the book, so expect some pink frosting, but there are also some simple and delicious breakfast recipes, unusual appetizers, and easy crock pot meals. For our rendition of the Pineapple and Walnut Muffins, click here.
No Spoiler Alert Necessary
The plot is difficult to talk about without giving away the stream of surprises that unfold, but suffice it to say it involves Ross, a lot of money, and the loyalty of a small town as it protects one of its own.
The book has a LOT of new recipes—37 to be exact, if you count the variations, the frostings, and even the recipe for “pan coat” that are all included. Many of them are easy to make, while others have several pages of detailed instructions, but no fear. Hannah is known for explaining things well, and she gives you lots of tips and shortcuts in each recipe. In addition to the muffins, which we loved, we plan to try the Peach Scones, the Pink Grapefruit Cake and glaze, the Tortilla Snickerdoodle Cookies, and, most definitely, Sally’s Chocolate Cream Pie.
Play The Hand You’re Dealt
If you loved Hannah before, you’ll love her even more now, as your heart goes out to the hand dealt to her by fate . . . or perhaps by her choices. While poor Lake Eden is hit with yet another murder, even Mike seems resigned to the fact that Hannah is going to investigate this time, and you’ll enjoy the exchange as Hannah doesn’t give him a choice.
Chocolate Cream Pie Murder will make your heart stir with compassion, your mouth water with its menu descriptions, and will keep your hands busy as you pull out your own ingredients and sample a treat or two as described in the book. Congratulations to Joanne Fluke for pulling us in once again into a world where food is plentiful, true friends are faithful, and someone is always there to help when problems come along.
Just be sure you read all the way to the end, and no peeking. Now, how soon can the next novel be out?
Links to The Food Channel’s previous coverage
- Cocoa Crunch Cookies
- Honey Apple Crisp
- Murder She Baked Pecan Chews
- Murder She Baked Chocolate Chip Cookie Crunch
- :90 Seconds In The Kitchen: Chocolate Chip Crunch Cookie – Video
- Murder She Baked Chocolate Chip Crunch Cookie – Recipe
- Culinary Mysteries and Food Goes Along
- Murder She Baked Lovely Lemon Bar Cookies
- Murder She Baked Coming – Hallmark Movies & Mysteries