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by Joanne Fluke
Kensington, March 2006
342 pages
ISBN: 0758202946

Buy in the UK | Buy in Canada

Hannah Swensen, owner of The Cookie Jar, a wonderful cookie shop, has a big decision to make. She has two marriage proposals and her friends in the little town of Lake Eden, Minnesota are taking bets on who she will marry, Mike or Norman.

Just when the residents think that Hannah's decision will be the main thing to talk about, a Hollywood production company comes to town to film part of a movie in Lake Eden. Many of the residents will be hired as extras and a few will have larger roles in the film.

The production company pay the businesses to close down for a week so the owners can help with the catering, set designs, and anything else that is needed. Lake Eden is quite excited to see all the movie stars and have the chance to meet them in person.

After a few days of filming, the director, who has been making passes at all the women and actresses, is trying to show an actor how to play his role. The director picks up a prop gun and a tragic accident happens -- he kills himself with it. Although the firearm had been checked prior to the rehearsal to make sure that it didn't have the firing pin or bullets in it, somehow it has been switched with a real gun. Now Hannah and her sisters are determined to find out who switched the guns and why.

CHERRY CHEESECAKE MURDER is the seventh in the Hannah Swensen mystery series by Joanne Fluke. The book started out nicely with the prologue telling the readers how the movie director will eventually be killed, but the actual murder doesn't occur for another 200 pages.

While waiting for the murder to actually take place the reader has to plod through stories about Hannah, her sisters, her nieces, her cat, her love life, and plenty of cookie recipes. Okay, I did enjoy the recipes and all the talk about chocolate, but even for a chocoholic like myself there was only so much unneeded filler I could take.

Even when the murder did finally happen it still took a back seat to food talk and Hannah's love life which is even more complicated when yet a third man wants to get involved with her.

For a cozy this was a good enough book. The inhabitants of Lake Eden are interesting and you certainly learn a lot about everyone and readers will definitely feel welcome in the town. But less than half the book contains anything about a murder and most of that part still concerns Hannah, her family, and friends.

There's not much of a mystery in the CHERRY CHEESECAKE MURDER but I would gladly read more about Hannah and Lake Eden because the series is entertaining and the recipes look wonderful. Now, if the author would only give out some cookie samples with the book, I would be in heaven!

Reviewed by Sharon Katz, March 2006

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