Sunday, March 27, 2011

Book Review - Devil's Food Cake Murder

I posted a few weeks ago about having separate blog posts for book reviews and then I haven't written another review. There are a few books that I have finished this month so I am going to get started on the reviews starting with the most recently finished.

Last night, I finished reading Devil's Food Cake Murder by Joanne Fluke. This is the 14th book in the Hannah Swenson series. Hannah is the owner of The Cookie Jar in Lake Eden, Minnesota and happens to find the murdered bodies in the city and surrounding areas. Because she finds the bodies, she feels compelled to play detective to find out whodunit. Since book one, Hannah has been wooed by 2 men in the town and has never been able to figure out which one to marry. The books are also laced with recipes of cookies that Hannah prepares and sometimes other food items that are mentioned in the story.

I decided a few books ago in the series that I was not going to read another one because of several things that left a sour taste in my mouth after reading them - Hannah constantly corrects the bad grammar of her friends and families; after several years (and books) dating 2 men who have proposed, she continues to lead both men on without making an adult choice or cutting them both loose; and the author's need to spend a paragraph or more explaining a well known item or concept. I mean, really, who doesn't know what a disco ball is? The other thing that annoyed me in the first books of the series was the narrator on the audio version who made every female character over the age of 55 or 60 sound decrepit. Is that the only way for anyone listening to grasp that the character is old? Because Fluke certainly drops enough hints in the writing for people to pick up on the age of a character.

All that aside, when I got a couple of books behind last year, I requested the actual books from the library and I was able to read each one in about 3 days. I figured that it wouldn't kill me to catch up with the series to find out if Hannah had made a choice about the men and stopped correcting everyone's grammar.

Devil's Food Cake Murder is the newest installment and I am happy to report that when manually reading the books, the older women do not sound decrepate in my head! AND!! Hannah even managed to only correct grammar in her head two or three times in this book. There did seem to be a lot more recipes in this book than I remember in past books, but I have never made the recipes and don't really plan on every making them so they are easy to pass up.

In this book, Reverend Bob and his new bride are planning their honeymoon, but are worried about Grandma Knudson staying home alone. Enter Bob's childhood friend, Matthew, who had spent a year in Lake Eden with Bob's family and who offers to take over the church duties and to stay with Grandma Knudson while the newlyweds honeymoon. When Matthew ends up dead and Hannah finds the body, Hannah uses her baking skills to butter up witnesses and acquaintances to solve the murder.

The only thing that really bothered me about this book is how can Hannah make any money in her bakery when she shares all of her cookie recipes with everyone in the town? If they can go home and make their own, why come into the bakery to buy the cookies? Not very good business sense.

Once I read the final paragraph, I realized that Lake Eden is stuck in the 50's or 60's in terms of values. Although that might not even be correct. All I can think is why not get a lawyer involved instead of complying with blackmail. It will be interesting to see what happens in the next book.

This book would be good for anyone looking for a light and easy read. Just avoid any grammatical errors!


Tracy said...

I'm just about to start this one. I think I've read just about all the books in this series and they are good light reading.

Lori said...

50's and 60's is decrepit?? That hits way too close to home here! How's the painting coming? I haven't seen anything that would spark my creativity except maybe Merry Maids. And someone to sew all the projects on my design wall together. Yup. A Merry Maid that sews!

Libby said...

UGH!!! I have tried to read these books but just couldnt stomach them! I got hung up on the idea that every morning the towns-people all come storming into her shop for their morning breakfast...a cookie!? Is there not a Diner in that town?? Anybody ever heard of a bowl of cereal?

couponsforzipcodes said...

Nice blog...!!!!

Anonymous said...

Hey, Jill... Nice blog! LOL

I'll have to add that series to my book list. I recently checked out a "Heaven Lee" mystery By Lou Jane Temple. Loved it. Red Beans and Vice"

Infinity Quilter/Knitter said...

Eeek, another series. I really need to get going on The Outlander ones.

PunkiePie (Jen) said...

I agree with several of your points. Yes, pick one or walk away. If you ask me, Norman and Mike are both idiots. And the consent correcting. UGH! And her sister Andrea... "I AM a real estate PROFESSIONAL!" But I continue to listen/read the books because I'm sucked in.

PunkiePie (Jen) said...

*constant not consent :)