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February 27, 2019

Chocolate Cream Pie Murder by Joanne Fluke ~ a Review

by Donna Huber

Last year when I was going through my big binge read of cozy mysteries, I discovered Joanne Fluke's Hannah Swensen series. It is a fun, foodie series set in Lake Eden, Minnesota. I listened to the first 3 books in audio from my local digital library. I read the first three and then took a break (or maybe there weren't any more audiobooks at the digital library). Whatever the reason, when I found Chocolate Cream Pie Murder at Netgalley, I knew I had to request it.

Amazon affiliate links are used on this site. A free book was provided for an honest review.

Chocolate Cream Pie Murder
February 2019; Kensington; 978-1496718860
audio, ebook, print (304 pages); cozy mystery
As this is book 24 in the series, a lot of has happened since the books I've read. The biggest thing to happen is Hannah is she got married. However, she has recently (probably in the last book) found out he was already married. This book was focused on her dealing with that betrayal.

True to the winter Minnesota is having this year, Lake Eden experiences a blizzard that has them all snowed in for days. Hannah's friends were all so worried about her being alone that they drove through the blizzard so they could be snowed in with her. As someone who lives alone, I found that kind of strange. I've been snowed in for a week and loved it. But it gives them the chance to do a lot of baking (something I've also done when snowed in).

There are a lot of recipes in this book. I was a bit disappointed that most of the cake recipes used a box cake. If I went to a bakery and found out that the cake they sold me was made from a box, I would be upset. Yes, they are adding things to the box cake, but still what kind of professional baker uses cake mixes?

There is also a lot of dialogue. But it felt very stilted - just not how normal people talk.

Like when they are making breakfast. They are going to make scrambled eggs but don't think the skillet is big enough for 5 people so Hannah gets out a baking pan and Michelle asks what are they going to make. I was like have you not watched the 50 egg bake videos on Facebook?

Or later the mushroom appetizers come out to her table and she is told to let them cool. She asks how long to wait and the answer is 3 minutes. I think in regular conversation one would answer "a couple of minutes" or "a few minutes" because if one's at dinner they aren't watching a timer (and if you are then you might want to look for a new dinner companion). Also, Hannah runs a bakery; she cooks all the time. Does she really need to ask how long to wait until something is cool enough to eat?

I guess what really irked me with the dialogue was how much it resulted in telling rather than showing me the action.

I also had to wonder when the mystery part of this cozy mystery was going to start. Hint - it is well past the halfway mark and the mystery is wrapped up in just a few pages at the end. Most of the story was Hannah, Lisa, and Michelle testing recipes for their Valentine's Day menu.

I know these are just nitpicky issues and when I could get past them, I enjoyed the characters and close-knit community of Lake Eden. I read it quickly (probably because of all the recipes that I skipped over) over the course of two very busy days. It was a nice weekend distraction.

If you like books with recipes or are a fan of Joanne Flukes, then you should pick up this book.

Buy Chocolate Cream Pie Murder at Amazon

Donna Huber is an avid reader and natural encourager. She is the founder of Girl Who Reads and the author of how-to marketing book Secrets to a Successful Blog Tour.

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  1. I think sometimes the cozy is a bigger part of the book than the mystery in cozy mysteries. I still like to read them, because they can have some fabulous characters and are easy reads.
    sherry @ fundinmental

    1. Yes. This one was definitely more cozy than mystery, but the characters are fun so it is still enjoyable.