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Carrot Cake Murder (2008)

by Joanne Fluke

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7792922,057 (3.42)38
It's summer time in Lake Eden, Minnesota, which means picnics aplenty for bakery proprietress and amateur sleuth Hannah. Then Uncle Gus is murdered following a big family reunion, and the only clues to be found at the crime scene are two slices of Hannah's infamous carrot cake.
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» See also 38 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 29 (next | show all)
Old family secrets are boiling just underneath the surface when a long-lost relative shows up at the Beeseman-Herman family reunion in Lake Eden, MN. Gus Herman reappears after 25 years, showing off very expensive clothes and jewelry and telling tales of his huge success. Obviously emotions are still raw, even decades after his disappearance in the middle of the night with no explanation. Hannah Swensen's business partner, Lisa, is a member of the family so The Cookie Jar is catering the event. To her mother's chagrin, Hannah discovers Gus' dead body in the pavillion. The prodigal family member has been stabbed with an ice pick.

There are more than 100 family members at the reunion. Who killed Gus? Why did he disappear all those years ago? With the help of friends and family, Hannah is on the case once again to track down the killer.

Carrot Cake Murder is the 10th book in the Hannah Swensen series. The recipes fit the plot....great potluck fare ranging from casseroles and Mexican hotdish to decadent desserts like chocolate fudge cake and red velvet cookies. And, of course, there is a recipe for carrot cake!

The mystery is engaging with plenty of suspects and lots of sleuthing by Hannah and her friends. The strange love triangle between Hannah and her two love interests, Mike and Norman, continues...but it really isn't an integral part of this story. It's in the background, but not really important. That was a nice change. It's the one thing about Hannah that annoys me.....she can't make up her mind which man she wants but she gets ridiculously jealous if either of them even look at another woman. I don't believe any self-respecting, intelligent man would put up with that sort of treatment for such a long time. But I also recognize that I have been pulled into this series partially because I want to know which man "wins,'' I'm reading the books as fast as I can -- and avoiding spoilers as best I can -- so that I can find out what happens. I have a guess....prompted by the ending of Carrot Cake Murder.....but I'm not saying a word.

Wanting to know the outcome of Hannah's love life isn't the only reason I enjoy the Hannah Swensen series. I like the characters, the recipes are amazing, and I like the setting. It reminds me of the town I grew up in. There are lots of culinary themed cozy mystery series out there today, but the Hannah Swensen series was one of the first. I read the first couple books when they came out and loved them.....then life happened (darn adulting taking up all my time!) and I never got to read the rest. Now that I only have one child at home, I have more time for reading. So, I came back to the series and can't get enough of it! I've had the books on my shelf just waiting for me to have time to enjoy them -- so happy to finally be catching up on what's been happening in Lake Eden! :)

The Hannah Swensen series has 20 books, with #21, Banana Creme Pie Murder, coming out in late February. There is also a cookbook, Joanne Fluke's Lake Eden Cookbook, and two holiday themed short story/novella collections that include Hannah stories. I highly recommend the series to anyone who enjoys cozy mysteries or loves to bake -- the recipes are awesome! :)

Hallmark Movies & Mysteries Channel has made four Hannah Swensen movies starring Allison Sweeney. There are some differences between the books and the movies, but they are fun to watch! So far, they have filmed movie versions of: Chocolate Chip Cookie Murder (Book 1), A Plum Pudding Mystery (Book 12), Peach Cobbler Mystery (Book 7) and A Deadly Recipe (Fudge Cupcake Mystery - Book 5). Hopefully more are to come! Hallmark Movies & Mysteries Channel also has movies from several other cozy series -- check them out!

For more information on Joanne Fluke and her books check out her website: http://www.joannefluke.com/ ( )
  JuliW | Nov 22, 2020 |
Hannah stopped just inside her condo door and stared around her in shock. There had been a blizzard in her living room! Her wall-to-wall carpeting, normally a dark green color that she'd chosen because it reminded her of a lush green lawn, was covered with fluffy white snowflakes. Except it wasn't snow, and it wasn't flakes. And there was the empty couch pillow cover to prove it. Hannah picked up the cover and read the tag listing the contents. What she'd thought was snow was really the "unidentified fibers " CostMart used as stuffing in their decorator sofa pillows.
Hannah stopped just inside her condo door and stared around her in shock. There had been a blizzard in her living room! Her wall-to-wall carpeting, normally a dark green color that she'd chosen because it reminded her of a lush green lawn, was covered with fluffy white snowflakes. Except it wasn't snow, and it wasn't flakes. And there was the empty couch pillow cover to prove it. Hannah picked up the cover and read the tag listing the contents. What she'd thought was snow was really the "unidentified fibers " CostMart used as stuffing in their decorator sofa pillows.
  taurus27 | Aug 16, 2020 |
It’s summer and Hannah is busy baking and running around. She gets involved helping with a family reunion, and when a long-lost family arrives only to be killed, well, Hannah just has to find the killer. Her partner Lisa is afraid that her father may be a person of interest to the police, but since he has Alzheimer’s disease, he really can’t remember what happened the night Gus died. Regular readers will enjoy the interaction between the characters, but the solution to the murder seems a bit thin. Still, the story is enjoyable, and the characters are delightful. Norman is wonderful, Mike is obnoxious, and Moisha the cat is entertaining. ( )
  Maydacat | Jan 28, 2020 |
A family reunion for Lisa and Herb brings a crowd of people to Eden Lake, Minnesota. An unexpected arrival, Herb’s Uncle Gus, turns out to be not so welcome . . . and ends up being the body that Hannah [naturally] discovers.

The good folks of Eden Lake welcome readers in this, the tenth story in the series. All the expected characters are in place; the newcomers have arrived for the family reunion. Readers will be pleased to know that some things [most things] in Eden Lake never change: Hannah still jumps right into investigating the murder; Hannah still hasn’t made her decision between Norman and Mike [and, to complicate matters, Ross now seems to be in contention]. To keep the baking readers happy, there are a plethora of recipes, and Eden Lake, thank goodness, is still small-town sweet and friendly.

Fans of the series will find much to appreciate in this installment. ( )
  jfe16 | Nov 17, 2019 |
Nothing like reading a cozy like this one while planning/gearing/reading up to restart Atkins diet. I am not a cook, I have never baked anything from scratch in my life. Some of the recipes, and they are compulsive reading, look so simple that I know I could do them and the temptation is enormous to go into the kitchen and give it a whirl. Moishe still a great presence, Norman such a nice man I am being swayed in his direction, still enjoying this series. Is it a trope that the heroine must be endangered by the guilty one just before he/she is captured? ( )
  Karen74Leigh | Sep 4, 2019 |
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This book is dedicated to Dale Constantine
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The Amen couldn't come fast enough to suit Hannah Swensen.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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It's summer time in Lake Eden, Minnesota, which means picnics aplenty for bakery proprietress and amateur sleuth Hannah. Then Uncle Gus is murdered following a big family reunion, and the only clues to be found at the crime scene are two slices of Hannah's infamous carrot cake.

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