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Reading Hour

About books I'm currently reading or have read, and books on the soon-to-read list.

Review: Blueberry Muffin Murder (Hannah Swenson Series #03)

Blueberry Muffin Murder - Joanne Fluke

Reviewed from a Nook (Barnes and Noble) e-book.


As with the previous books in this series, Blueberry Muffin includes several recipes sprinkled between chapters.  Some enjoy them, some test them, and others (like me) page through them.


Blueberry Muffin Murder takes place during Lake Eden's Winter Carnival - a way to bring in tourists and generate revenue during the bleak months of winter.  Hannah and Lisa, partners of The Cookie Jar are making and delivering the cookies (to be sold with coffee or hot chocolate) to be sold at all the venues.  Hannah's mother, Delores and her friend Carrie Rhodes (Norman's mother) set up a historical reconstruction - the home of one of the town's founders' - next door to the Cookie Jar.


Besides cookies, coffee, hot cocoa, dog races, snowman building contests and ice skating races, the big draw for the Winter Carnival is "Connie Mac", a woman who hosts cooking shows and runs a housewares/entertainment empire.  Mrs. Mac is rude, demanding and throws things when she gets mad.  She doesn't have a lot of friends.


Mrs. Mac was to supply the cake for the Winter Carnival celebration dinner, but the truck transporting the cake drives off the road to avoid a huge accident.  After firing the driver, Connie Mac takes over the kitchen of The Cookie Jar to bake a new cake.  While Connie is there, she is murdered for Hannah to find in the pantry the next morning.


This allows mother Delores to once again drop into the "no one will ever marry you if you keep finding dead bodies" routine.  I'd say that Delores is a one note character, but actually, the author is the issue, not the character.  It was funny once.  It was ok the second time (though would have been funnier if it had come up much later, instead of immediately).  But it is sad that a writer decides to weaken a character, just because her main character is even more weak.


Yes, Hannah does continue to be judgmental and pre-judges situations and other characters (though not as badly as in the first of the series, Chocolate Chip Cookie).  And she does continue to lie and to interfere in the investigation.  She's a lousy human being, she'd be a crap friend, and she's a weak main character - supported by a few really excellent secondary characters.


Now, if the author played into those weaknesses and recognized them, this series would take a different turn, and the weaknesses would become strengths in the stories.  But this is story number three, and the author has decided that this loser is her heroine.


Oh yes, Mike (of the strengthening Mike/Norman/Hannah triangle) continues to be chauvinistic and pushy and apparently the male equal of Hannah.  Maybe that's why Hannah can't decide between Mike and Norman.  Mike is too stupid to see through Hannah's lies, and too wishy-washy to threaten her with jail time for destroying evidence, etc.  Norman, on the other hand, is better than Hannah and can see through her lies.  Hannah doesn't deserve Norman (though he'd say differently - he's a cool person.)