Friday, September 2, 2016

Review of "Cinnamon Roll Murder" by Joanne Fluke




In this addition to the series Hannah Swensen (owner of 'The Cookie Jar' bakery/cafe) and her sister are on the icy roads of Lake Eden, Minnesota, planning to deliver an order of scrumptious cinnamon rolls. They come across a serious accident involving a tour bus and several cars. The bus crash killed the driver but spared the passengers, members of the 'Cinnamon Roll Six' band, in town for a jazz festival. Hannah helps transport several band members to the hospital, including the keyboard player Buddy Neiman - whose wrist is injured.

As it turns out the death of the bus driver seems suspicious AND Buddy Neiman is murdered in the hospital. Of course Hannah and her sisters feel compelled to investigate, and soon learn that Buddy is using a false name. The would be detectives have to learn Buddy's real identity and determine his connection to local residents, one of whom apparently murdered him.

While this is going on, Hannah is also dealing with another problem. Her erstwhile (sort of) boyfriend, the dentist Norman Rhodes, is engaged to fellow dentist 'Dr. Bev' - who claims her little girl is his child. Norman seems unhappy about the rapidly approaching nuptials and Hannah and her sisters strongly suspect shenanigans on the part of Dr. Bev. Thus, they set out to discover the truth.

The usual characters make an appearance in the book, including Hannah's fashionable mom, detective Mike, and co-baker Lisa. There's also a cute puppy that needs a home and Hannah and Norman's rambunctious cats. (I have a soft spot for adorable pet characters).

For me this book is just mildly okay. The mystery of who killed Buddy isn't too complicated, the death of the bus driver is ignored completely after the early part of the book, and what seem to be key plot points are very predictable. Moreover, one scene where Hannah confronts Dr. Bev while the dentist is trying on her wedding dress in a clothes boutique is ridiculously unbelievable.

I did enjoy the warm comraderie among the regular characters and all the coffee drinking and cookie baking (and eating). All this gives the story a nice atmosphere. And there are yummy sounding cookie recipes as well.

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