Red Velvet Cupcake Murder
A Hannah Swensen Mystery by Joanne Fluke
Review: Hannah Swensen — owner of The Cookie Jar bakery in Lake Eden, Minnesota — is usually the one doing to the investigating when someone drops dead. This time, however, she is the prime suspect when her one-time rival is found dead in Red Velvet Cupcake Murder, the sixteenth mystery in this series by Joanne Fluke.
The old Albion Hotel is re-opening after being refurbished, a grand opening party being held in its Red Velvet Lounge where Hannah is serving — no surprise here! — red velvet cupcakes. Much to everyone's surprise, Doctor Bev, who had left town two years ago in shame, shows up … apparently intent on resuming her pursuit of Hannah's good friend Norman. It doesn't take Bev long to rile up old sentiments before she disappears again … but she doesn't get very far. She's driven her convertible into a local pond and drowned, the remains of a drug-laced red velvet cupcake found in her system. There are no other signs of foul play and Hannah is most definitely a person of interest to the police. But Hannah's not one to allow herself to be framed for murder. Though she's been warned to keep clear of the official investigation, she has a personal stake in the outcome: her freedom.
Fans of the entries in this series will likely overlook how uninspired the storyline is in this present mystery. To be sure, the plot is nicely constructed, generates some interest, and plays out in a routine, if not always predictable, manner, which is probably what readers have come to expect from the series. And it's hard to deny that there's considerable comfort in familiarity … but having Hannah be the suspect — the only new twist here — doesn't really provide enough zest, as it were, to liven things up. It's not stale, exactly, but a little flat. The one constant, however, that always has appeal are the tie-ins to food, and the abundance of easy-to-follow recipes that are included with each book.
Special thanks to guest reviewer Betty of The Betz Review for contributing her review of Red Velvet Cupcake Murder.
Acknowledgment: Kensington Books provided a copy of Red Velvet Cupcake Murder for this review.
Review Copyright © 2013 — Hidden Staircase Mystery Books — All Rights Reserved
Selected reviews of other mysteries by this author …
Cinnamon Roll Murder
Kensington Books (Hardcover), February 2012
ISBN-13: 9780758234933; ISBN-10: 0758234937
Location(s) referenced in Red Velvet Cupcake Murder: Minnesota
— ♦ —
Red Velvet Cupcake Murder by Joanne Fluke — A Hannah Swensen Mystery
Publisher: Kensington Books
Publication Date: February 2013
List Price: $25.00