3 star, adult

Review: Triple Chocolate Cheesecake Murder by Joanne Fluke

Hannah Swensen #27

Spring has sprung in Lake Eden, Minnesota, but Hannah Swensen doesn’t have time to stop and smell the roses–not with hot cross buns to make, treats to bake, and a sister to exonerate!

Hannah’s up to her ears with Easter orders rushing in at The Cookie Jar, plus a festive meal to prepare for a dinner party at her mother’s penthouse. But everything comes crashing to a halt when Hannah receives a panicked call from her sister Andrea–Mayor Richard Bascomb has been murdered…and Andrea is the prime suspect.

Even with his reputation for being a bully, Mayor Bascomb–or “Ricky Ticky,” as Hannah’s mother likes to call him–had been unusually testy in the days leading up to his death, leaving Hannah to wonder if he knew he was in danger. Meanwhile, folks with a motive for mayoral murder are popping up in Lake Eden. Was it a beleaguered colleague? A political rival? A jealous wife? Or a scorned mistress?

As orders pile up at The Cookie Jar–and children line up for Easter egg hunts–Hannah must spring into investigation mode and identify the real killer…before another murder happens!

This is a pretty generous 3 Drink Me Potions rating from me. I would say realistically it’s closer to a 2.5 for sure. That being said, these books are kind of a guilty pleasure for me. Not always the most quality, but definitely an easy and lighthearted read, full of recipes for distractions. So no matter the quality of the writing, I find myself picking up one of these novels once in a while just to satisfy (perhaps that younger) part of me.

I do have my qualms about this one. I recently read one of the author’s first books in the series, and I thought it was so much more well written. Now, I haven’t really read them in order nor have I done an in depth analysis to say whether this is a pattern or not, but I definitely enjoyed that other book (Chocolate Chip Cookie Murder) way more as a lighthearted murder mystery with the amateur detective trope.

This particular book had way too much filler (and seemingly way more recipes, though those I don’t mind), but that reduced the plot to have little essence. Comparing to what I was expecting coming off reading the other book, this one left a lot to be desired.

Triple Chocolate Cheesecake Murder follows the amateur detective but expert baker, Hannah Swensen, as she investigates yet another murder in her small town called Lake Eden. When the widely unpopular mayor is suddenly put out of commission, the list of suspects stretches on and on. How will Hannah be able to eliminate all the suspects in order to figure out the killer’s identity?

I would say more, but that would be the end of the plot. This book in the series seems a bit more aimed in developing the relationships between certain characters, or furthering along personal problems that each character is facing, rather than much focus on the whodunnit portion of the mystery. In fact, so many names are tossed around it’s actually a little bit hard to keep track of, but perhaps as part of a series, it isn’t so egregious.

The funny thing is that I still enjoyed reading it, and had an easy time finishing it, despite all the disappointments. I guess this series will always just be one of those easy reads that I will always have time for, and “cozy mystery” really describes it perfectly. Though to be fair, as the 27th book in the series, serious kudos to the author for even making it this far, it is not easy to keep something going endlessly.

I think one of the main appeals for this series, besides it being lighthearted and easy to read, is that there is a part of this that makes these characters seem real, and could be a neighbourhood near you. While the dialogue may not always be the most realistic, the characters that are built seem like it’s based off personal experience, and perhaps that’s where the “cozy” portion of the cozy mystery comes in.

I may not always be in the mood to read this kind of thing, but I think at some level, it will always be one of those guilty pleasures – something lighthearted(ish) and something I can read quickly. That being said, maybe it’s better to stick with the earlier books, as I found those to be more fun.

Overall Recommendations

Triple Chocolate Cheesecake Murder is yet another one of these recipe-filled murder mysteries that Joanna Fluke loves to put forth, the 27th one in the series now. However, I’d probably recommend the earlier books in the series rather than this particular one in terms of mystery content. This story is supposed to revolve around the investigation of Mayor Bascomb’s death, but I found it to fall short on that. It mostly revolves around furthering the progression of all the characters and their various relationships. If that’s what you stuck around for in this series (or their recipes!), then perhaps this one would be up your alley.

1 thought on “Review: Triple Chocolate Cheesecake Murder by Joanne Fluke”

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s