Title: Chocolate Chip Cookie Murder (A Hannah Swensen Mystery #1)
Author: Joanne Fluke
Summary from Goodreads:
Hannah Swenson already has her hands full trying to dodge her mother s attempts to marry her off while running The Cookie Jar, Lake Eden, Minnesota s most popular bakery. But once Ron LaSalle, the beloved delivery man from the Cozy Cow Dairy, is found murdered behind her bakery with Hannah s famous Chocolate Chip Crunchies scattered around him, her life just can t get any worse. Determined not to let her cookies get a bad reputation, she sets out to track down a killer.
Who would have the sheer audacity and the motive to kill the most punctual delivery man Hannah ever had? Topping the list is the high school football coach. What exactly was his wife doing, making the rounds with the milkman? Could Max Turner, owner of Cozy Cow Dairy, have had a secret he didn t want to share with his top employee? The more Hannah snoops, the more suspects turn up. Why has Lake Eden s most prominent prodigal son, Benton Woodley, just resurfaced? And what about the mysterious Mr. Harris who seemed interested in buying the property next to the dairy, but then disappeared? This is one murder that s starting to leave a very bad taste in Hannah s mouth. And if she doesn t watch her back, Hannah s sweet life may get burned to a crisp.
Personal Review: Oh, how much I wanted to like this book… I really did. I like to read a good mystery on a nice winters day when I don’t have anything better to do than lay in bed. And perhaps I would enjoy have enjoyed it if there was any other female lead than Hannah Swensen.
Hannah Swensen was one of the most annoying female leads I have ever read. She was like a crazy mix of that friend you have that always thinks that she sucks and is too fat and nobody likes her, etc, and an extremely self-assured (but in the annoying way). Hannah acts like she is the only one that can possibly solve a mystery and that she is God’s gift to earth in practically all things except looks. In addition, her love for her cat is… sickening. One review I read described it as she thought they would start making out at any moment and that is truly disturbingly accurate. The other thing that was annoying about Hannah is the way she treated her mother. I have a really good relationship with my mother and I cannot imagine being that rude to her or about her.
In addition, Hannah is extremely mean about other people in her head, and since we are in her head all the time, we are privy to it. She was making fun of one “fat woman” who was around 300 pounds. She treated and “thought” about her brother-in-law (the police officer) as though he was stupid and incapable of solving the mystery. And in many moments in the book, Hannah is just a plain bully. One character told Hannah that she couldn’t talk to her at that moment, and Hannah proceeded to wedge her foot in the door and then force her way into the house. She then strong armed other characters into telling her their secrets in badly hidden threats. I found it really hard to route for her.
Other than Hannah, though, the book was okay. I didn’t not see the “murderer” coming and so when we found out who it was, it was unexpected. The other characters were pleasant, though not fully developed. I will try the next book in this series, but if I do not come to care about Hannah a little bit more, than I will be abandoning this series.