Thursday, January 12, 2017
Review of "Blackberry Pie Murder" by Joanne Fluke
In this 17th book in the series, cookie shop owner Hannah Swensen and her bakery partner Lisa are riding in the bakery truck when hazardous weather leads to an accident. Turns out Hannah has struck and killed a man on the side of the road. The dead man has no ID but his nice clothes and the diamond in his tooth indicate he's not an itinerant drifter. An autopsy reveals the man was beat up before his death, but Hannah's truck actually killed him.
Before long Hannah is arrested for vehicular homicide by her brother-in-law, the sheriff (only doing his job). This causes a ruckus among some of Hannah's family and friends, who are angered by the arrest. Not sure how to help herself, amateur detective Hannah makes it her mission to find out who the man is. Her investigation reveals the dead man had unsavory connections and a disreputable job.
Meanwhile, Hannah's mother Delores is preparing to marry her fiance "Doc" (the medical examiner). Delores allows her three daughters to make most of the wedding plans....but not really. Delores nixes everything the girls suggest, changes her mind every five minutes, can't decide on the dresses, colors, food, flowers, desserts, etc. It's a nightmare!
To add to Hannah's troubles a local girl, Jennifer - who ran away from home many years ago - has returned. Jennifer's mother is thrilled but her sister suspects an imposter, and confides this to Hannah.
While Hannah's dealing with all this she hosts a couple of dinners at her home and bakes a lot of cookies - recipes included. In fact there are so many recipes that the book feels like half mystery, half cookbook. Hannah also starts using an exercise machine in her bedroom, and in some of the cuter scenes in the book Hannah's cat Moishe takes to doing some exercise himself.
Hannah's complicated love life - which has frustrated readers for years - seems to be heading toward resolution in this book. Hannah has apparently given up Mike (the detective) and settled on Norman (the dentist). But who knows if this is permanent. Another quibble I have with this series is that Hannah's sister Michelle, who's in college, never seems to be at school. She's 'visiting home' in every story, ready to contribute cookie recipes and assistance with investigations.
The book ends in a cliffhanger as Hannah's trial for vehicular homicide is delayed until the next book, as is Delores' marriage.
In the end this book didn't really feel like a mystery as no 'culprit' was uncovered. However, readers who enjoy visiting with the characters and reading about the cookies will probably like the book okay.
Rating: 3 stars