Devil’s Food Cake Murder

Devil’s Food Cake Murder (Hannah Swensen Mystery #14) by Joanne Fluke

So it has been a while since we reviewed a Hannah Swensen Mystery. Let’s do a quick review. Hannah is an annoying baker and cookie shop owner who “investigates” murders as she is the only one in town who is “able” to.

She doesn’t work but manages to keep her shop afloat and solve crimes better than the cops. She has two boyfriends-Mike, a cop with a roving eye, who uses her for food and such; and Norman a dentist who actually cares for Hannah and wants to marry her because he loves her.

Hannah doesn’t really love either one but strings them both on as one is her picture of “manliness” and the other “sensitivity”.

Ugh!

What happened most recently is that the professor who dated Hannah when she was a student of his (but he turned out to be married) moved to Lake Eden and was murdered-Hannah having to solve the crime. Norman was also away at a conference, but when he returned, acted so weird, cold and avoiding Hannah.

He brought back his ex-fiancé, Doctor Beverly Thorndike, who Hannah hates as she wants Norman only interested in her-even though SHE can date another man. Really Hannah? As if that’s fair!

Anyways, Reverend Bob Knudson and Claire have finally been married. They went on a short two day honeymoon, as Rev. Bob couldn’t find anyone to fill in for him. However, he happens to run into childhood friend Matthew Walters, now the same denomination minister, and Rev. Matthew has volunteered to fill in for Rev. Bob so he and Claire can go on a real trip.

Everyone is excited except for Rev. Bob’s mother, Grandma Knudson. She starts to grow suspicious of Matthew and questioning if he really is who he says he is.

Why you may ask? Matthew remembers the sofa being green, when at the time he was staying with them it was red.

Gasp

Matthew as a kid had a chocolate allergy, while this Matthew has been eating Grandma Knuson’s Devil’s Food Cake nonstop.

Hmm…

Matthew says he is on a four month sabbatical, but Grandma Knudson knows that they don’t let them go for more than six weeks.

And to top it off, Matthew can sing! Ministers can’t sing well according to Grandma Knudson.

Seriously, Grandma Knudson, really? Really, Fluke?? I’m a minister’s daughter and I know tons who can sing. But whatever…

Hannah and Andrea investigate, along with trying to figure out what to do about Doctor Bev. They discover that Matthew is color blind-that explains seeing red as green. Matthew’s major is music and he was given a four month sabbatical. And yes, Matthew outgrew his allergy.

Oh well

Everyone feels great about it until Matthew’s dead body is once again found by Hannah. All are sad.

The next day Grandma Knudson and Hannah get the surprise of their lives. Rev. Matthew arrives and says the dead body is that of his almost twin-like, resembling cousin Paul.

Yes for some reason Paul pretended to be Matthew. But why? What was he after? Will Hannah find out or die trying?

Meanwhile, we end on a real cliffhanger. Apparently when Norman and Doc Bev broke up the engagement-she was pregnant. She never told him until now, and they are going to move in together so that Norman can get to know his daughter Dinah. This means that the Hannah, Mike, and Norman triangle is over.

Boom

Thoughts After Reading:

***Spoiler Alert***

Besides Grandma Knudson saving the day (priceless) I thought this book was horrible.

These characters make zero sense and just act completely unrealistic.

That ending though, Fluke shocked me with the Norman having a secret baby. I immediately went out and checked the next book out from my local library.

For more Hannah Swensen Mysteries, go to Gingerbread Cookie Murder

For more from Joanne Fluke, go to Vanilla Crackle

For more reviews, go to The President’s Daughter

Bake Until Golden

Bake Until Golden

Bake Until Golden (The Potluck Catering Club #3) by Linda Evans Shepherd and Eva Marie Everson

In the third installment of the Potluck caterers the women are flying high from their win; being interviewed everywhere and treated like royalty.

oooh 101 Dalmations

They also are excited about the improvements being made to the church and the anniversary that they will be catering. But as life always does, they find that things do not go as planned.

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Jack has been doing well since he had his surgery, but when Goldie returns from a TV interview, she finds him dead. Poor Goldie is heartbroken at the loss, and even more dismayed when she discovers a birth certificate stating that Jack has a son with someone else.

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Donna has decided that she needs to leave the past in the past and dumps Wade, dating David exclusively. When David shares that his friend Bobbie is coming to town, Donna is excited to meet him; that is until it turns out to be a her and David’s ex-fiancé.

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Lizzie, the high school librarian, is working with  group of kids after school to create a play for the anniversary of Founder’s Day. As they start researching the event and the minister; they also have the story of the hidden gold in mind. They start looking into it and trying their hand at solving the mystery.

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Meanwhile, Donna’s mother Doreen, who left her when she was four and returned last year, has been drinking again and caused a scene knocking Evangeline over. Evangeline goes to talk to her later and tries and convince her to go to rehab. Doreen starts yelling at first but calms down and says she will think about the idea.

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The next day Doreen is found dead

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And Evangeline is accused of the murder,

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Donna being the one anxious to strap her in chains.

Not-Good

When she is arrested and arraigned for the murder, Evangeline finds herself praying for help and proof of her innocence.

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Vonnie is horrified at what happened with the reveal of Bobbie and that such a horrible girl is after David. She tries to be there for Donna, as ever since Doreen’s leaving, Vonnnie has been a surrogate mother. But then one day Vonnie is going to market to pick up one item, and leaves her dog in the car. When she returns she finds him missing!

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Later Vonnie receives a ransom note that is actually a trap to kidnap her. Why would anyone want the dog or Vonnie?

What'sHappening?BigBangTheory

Lisa Leann and Henry are still having issues, despite his proposal to renew their vows.

I felt whatever about it.

When their son-in-law is injured in Egypt, their daughter goes out of the country leaving her baby with Lisa and Henry. They care for their grand baby and try to help with everything that is going on. Then a person breaks into Lisa’s bridal shop.

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When the potluckers start looking into why, they discover that the shop is connected to the old legend of the missing gold.

WHAT!

WHAT!

Donna and the crew find themselves in the middle of a triple mystery. Who really killed Doreen? Who is trying to kidnap Vonnie? And where is the gold? And how is this all connected?

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Thoughts After Reading:

For me this is the weakest of the series all because of one person, Donna.

Idon'tthinkso Idontseeit

I really liked Donna in the other books, but in this one I found her annoying. She was horrible to Evangeline, acting like a five-year-old girl instead of a grown woman.

likeachildpsych

I also thought it was incredibly stupid how she instantly wanted to arrest her. Seriously, Donna why would she do it? No motive at all. She has nothing to gain from Doreen’s death and there is nothing that Doreen could do to make Evangeline be in a terrible rage; it made no sense at all.

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The gold was a little thrown out of left field, but I like the characters and enjoy reading about them.

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For more on Potluck Catering Club, go to A Taste of Fame

For more catering mysteries, go to Catering to Nobody

For more Christian books, go to The Oath

For more book reviews, go to C is for Corpse