Joanne Fluke's cozy Hannah Swensen mysteries have one thing in common with Janet Evanovich's Stephanie Plum books. Neither character can decide between two good-looking men. And, after eleven books, it's time that Hannah made a decision because it's getting a little old. If Hannah doesn't make a decision after the events of Cream Puff Murder, she's not very bright.
Hannah is the owner of the Cookie Jar, a bakery in Lake Eden, Minnesota. But, her lifestyle is not conducive to a petite figure, so she discovers she can't get into the Regency style dress her mother, Delores, would like her to wear for her book launch party. Together with her sister, Andrea, Hannah starts working out every morning. When Ronnie Ward shows up as the fitness instructor, though, it's not a pleasant workout experience.
Ronnie Ward works as a fitness instructor at a local spa, but also at the police station, because Andrea's husband, the local sheriff, hired her back when her engagement fell through. Unfortunately, Ronnie is the town flirt, and most men in town are caught in her snare, while the women detest her. That's obvious when there's a fight at the local pizza parlor, where Ronnie holds court until she's attacked by a police officer's mother for messing with his marriage. Ronnie is probably the most hated woman in Lake Eden. But, it's the men who are the suspects when Hannah finds her body in the spa's jacuzzi. And, some of those men are police officers, including Hannah's off and on again boyfriend, Detective Mike Kingston. Since the police are suspects, it's up to Hannah, her sisters and friends to find a killer.
Fluke's mysteries are always fun, and, after eleven books, familiar. For those of us who read the series, it's comfortable to return to the characters. Hannah's cat, Moishe, usually provides a light touch of humor. And, of course, there are the delicious sounding recipes. But, darn it anyways. Hannah has two choices. She can pick the good looking police detective, Mike, who is a flirt, and doesn't treat her right. Or, she can pick Norman, the dentist, who built a house for her, cares for Moishe, and helps her investigate murders. Give readers a break, Hannah, and make the smart decision. Cream Puff Murder should have made the decision easier.
Joanne Fluke's website is murdershebaked.com.
Cream Puff Murder by Joanne Fluke. Kensington Publishing Corporation, ©2009. ISBN 9780758210227 (hardcover), 288p.