Cookie maker Hannah is juggling life as a single baker with an opinionated cat and a mother who is determined to set her up with someone in their small town in Minnesota When her dairy delivery guy turns up dead, Hannah has to help her brother in law, who just made detective, look for clues and solve the case I love this cozy mystery series for the great recipes and fun quirky characters I think I gain weight every time I read about Hannah s cookies but it s all worth it This one kept surprising me all the way to the end as Hannah and her sister worked to solve the mystery of the killer One of my favorite cozy series And adorable cat scenes Please excuse typos name misspellings Entered on screen reader. The TL DR version This was one of the dumbest things I ve ever read This was a stupid purchase and a stupid thing to read, for that matter, but I did want something brainless in the middle of my Big Giant Fantasy Series I got it It is the first in the Hannah Swenson mystery series, which I didn t know when I started it I eventually caught on as the main character reacted to discovering her very first corpse She said something to the effect of not making a habit out of discovering bodies, and both my eyebrows went up, because as with all cozies that s the backbone of the whole series And now that I think of it, that, the fact that it took me so long to realize it was the first book, is relevant to this review There should beinitial exposition in this as a first book, better introductions to the characters and the setting, etc I know, I know if there had been floating chunks of infodump I would have complained about that Life is tough So is writing Deal Late in the story there is a mention of how Hannah s sister asked her to leave school and come home to help their mother cope after their father died but that s a kind of massive request to make, and a massive decision, and no real motivation or reaction given Their mother is depicted as pretty much okay, apart from joining every club in town in fact, Hannah avoids her as much as humanly possible, so what is Hannah s role here, apart from cookie baker Did she resent being yanked away from her chosen course How did the bakery come about It is mentioned that it was the sister s idea why Don t know.One thing that does pretty clearly indicate a first book is the level of writing I m tempted to insert the Opus It wasn t good icon I stole from the Popcorn Dialogues The stupidity level is high among the characters, and in the plot and the other draw in a book like this, the cookie recipes scattered throughout, aren t remotely original enough to make the book worth reading or buying as a cookbook Woohoo, ginger snaps and chocolate crinkles I ve been making extremely similar recipes since I was ten And I don t understand the logic of renaming what are basically chocolate crinkles from the Betty Crocker Cooky Book sic Black and whites , when Black and whites are usually another kind of cookie entirely Chocolate crinkle Black and white Unless you re in this book, God help you.Joanne Fluke falls prey to one of the things that irks me the most in bad writing thesaurusitis Instead of adhering to KISS, certain writers feel the need to keep a thesaurus open at their elbow to prettify their prose Here, for nauseous example, are a couple of bits from the scene where Hannah gives her cat some ice cream rather than use the words ice cream again, it is called the mound of icy white and this intriguing new foodstuff New to the cat, that was No frozen confection I m disappointed Should it bug me as much as it does when a writer feels impelled to make a lame stab at poetry when feeding a cat ice cream Maybe not But it really does You re not Lord Byron, love, nor is Lord Byron called for in this instance Don t.The book s plot runs thusly Hannah Swenson owns and runs a cookie bakery in a small touristy town, and one morning in winter her milkman doesn t show up to deliver as he always does and she finds him shot dead in the alley behind her shop Her brother in law is a cop, up for promotion, and the prevailing logic is that if he with her help can solve the murder, he ll be all set And he lets her.Right there I already have a couple of issues, namely that this is a small town, and how on earth does the author expect me to believe that this woman survives solely on what she makes selling cookies and coffee There is no cake in this shop, no bread, no sandwiches just cookies, yet I m supposed to swallow that the locals all flock in every day to buy dozens and dozens and dozens of cookies, and have her cater several events per month Well, as she ponders several times, some of her customers eat cookies for breakfast I hope there s a good gym and or cardiologist or endocrinologist in town too But maybe the town s too small For one thing, in every other chapter Hannah is handing out a dozen free cookies here and a batch there I don t care if some of these people are family and the local traffic cop , that would put a dent in one s profits For another thing, I don t care if half that catering is prompted by her mother s membership in all those clubs and her brother in law s position , why on earth would anyone want even a small event catered by someone who is going to provide only cookies, coffee, and tea She had tea and coffee, both leaded and unleaded, and her best silver platters heaped high with cookies And only a single type of cookie at that, based on what she talks about here a book club meeting is provided with Regency ginger snaps and caffeinated beverages Don t get me started on the character s laissez faire attitude toward historical accuracy and how easy it was to pull one over on these stupid ladies She d researched the period, but there were very few published recipes and none of them had sounded like cookies So eh, go with gingersnaps Close enough And yet she has enough money that she doesn t have to worry about spending a moronic amount investigating the murder, while meanwhile lavishing expensive gifts on her assistant.I know I know Willing suspension of disbelief is the main requirement for reading fiction, and I as a hardcore fantasy reader should be a very willing suspender But it s a two way street I am a very willing suspender, as long as the disbelief isn t too heavy to be suspended without snapping the thread In other words, if a writer creates a something utterly unreal but maintains a level of logic in her worldbuilding, I ll buy into it wholeheartedly When Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry isbelievable than Hannah s Cookie Jar, Ms Fluke has a little problem.You ll notice I m not even bothering to mention the little fact that this civilian is running about playing Nancy Drew, and her cop brother in law is not only aware of it, not only allowing it, but he s happy about it and grateful to her Yeah See, that s the lifeblood of the cozy mystery, the utterly ridiculous detection, so there s just no point in dwelling on it.I know I know I m working too hard at applying logic and sense to a fluffy cozy mystery But I just don t understand why anyone would set out to write a book or a series of books which purposely ignores common sense I find it a bit offensive.So Even dumber than the blatant disregard for laws regarding patient confidentiality Call every dentist in town Did they see Ron yesterday morning HIPAA was enacted in 1996 No Just no Oh, and All information regarding a patient s visit is confidential If you come in then, I ll tell you all about it facepalm This place needs not only better cops, but better doctors But wait too small Even dumber even dumber than a civilian climbing in dumpsters after evidence, scampering about chasing down suspects Drive to Twin Pines to check out the bouncer that would be the possible murderer , and trying not to get herself shot instead of bringing every scrap of information she finds to her brother in law the cop You re scaring me, Bill Do you really think it could be that dangerous Of course it could Ron was murdered in cold blood and the killer won t hesitate to take you out if he thinks you re on to something So why do you keep letting her continue, Bill Even dumber than the idea that Hannah hits a jackpot on a slot machine and doesn t notice, wondering what all the noise is about Hannah stared at the flashing numbers with absolute amazement Even dumber than the description of a very swanky party attended by just about everyone in town including Hannah s barely legal bakery assistant very swanky party usually equals small and exclusive guest list Dumbest of all is As Hannah opened her dress purse and stuck the card inside, she wished that she d had cards made Seriously Truly Why would a writer make her main character this big an idiot She s owned a business for at least several months, long enough to be well known locally and to be able to hire a full time assistant She has bought a truck and had it painted bright red with the business logo plastered all over it She has had shopping bags made with the store s logo And she doesn t have business cards Even if every local for a twenty mile radius knows her and her store well, why would she not want to have her phone number on a readily accessible card so that if one of these locals who already loves her cookies wants to, I don t know, order something they don t have to call directory assistance And what about all those tourists flooding through town in the summer How stupid do you have to be not to get business cards Has she never seen all those VistaPrint ads that are everywhere ETA, based on Sam s comment below thanks no, she hasn t, because they don t exist yet as of the publication of this book But that was mostly sarcastic I mean, getting business cards is just a no brainer for a new business owner, I would think All right, obviously that s not really the very dumbest thing in the book There are so very many to choose from Gave a fleeting thought to the difference between the fronts of the shops and the backs There were no decorative planters in the alley for shrubbery or flowers, no plate glass windows for displays and signs Captain Obvious is obvious Hannah had done some mental arithmetic as she d driven home, taking into account the money she d spent investigating Ron s murder for Bill Even after she d subtracted the cost of the makeup from Luanne, the dress from Claire, and the money they d spent at Twin Pines, she d still come out over a thousand dollars to the good Basic addition and subtraction, there But it sounds laborious for her I pictured her counting on her fingers which is why her later reminiscences about college struck me funny she read the classics and knew who Wittgenstein and Sartre were In college, the ability to do an algebraic equation in her head wasn t considered a personality defect, and no one thought less of her if she knew the atomic number of einsteinium Really, Hannah Please tell me the atomic number of einsteinium I ll wait Of course, there had been a group of incredibly gorgeous, bubbleheaded girls who d turned male heads, but most of them had either flunked out or left to get their MRS degrees Well, that s not sexist at all A Mrs degree get it Get it I m just going to run a currycomb through my hair Norman chuckled at her reference to the tool that was used to groom horses Mother of God, that s some laborious humor Typical example It sounds like such a quaint little shop I ll have to make a point of dropping in soon someone said Hannah bristled But it is a quaint little shop That in fact should be kind of what you re going for It s not exactly Fortnum and Masons, after all.As always, Betty was dressed in vertical stripes Someone must have once told her that they were slenderizing and they might have been, for someone less bulky Betty s stripes were wide tonight, and they were dark green and burgundy The colors were pretty, but that didn t stop Betty from resembling the side of a circus tent.Wow, I think I hate this author She d best weigh 98 pounds soaking wet to write crap like that And she s a littlethan 98 pounds In a book in which the main character makes a living off selling cookies and in which you re including recipes for your readers to bake you re going to rag on the overweight Really Betty was what Hannah and her friends in high school had unkindly called heavy duty She weighed close to three hundred pounds and she wasn t known for her grace on the dance floor low growl But I just can t help feeling that something really bad is going to happen Remember Charlie Manson What I just huh Hannah noticed that the red light was glowing on the coffeemaker She reached out to shut it off and realized that the pot was dry, just inky sludge that once had been coffee in the bottom Max left the coffee on For over two days And the place didn t burn down the carafe didn t even crack Huh I d like to know what brand of coffemaker that is A plate of these should be in every psychiatrist s office two Chocolate Covered Cherry Delights will lift anyone out of a depression Sexism, mocking the obese, and trivializing mental health issues superb I m surprised she didn t suggest suttee Delores laughed You re right, dear But that s illegal, even in India I m surprised the author didn t take a half a page to explain what suttee is Shocked, actually.Lake Eden s too small to havethan one murderer How could we have two killers in a town the size of Lake Eden Oh, that s too funny First it s also too small for a woman AND a full time assistant to make a living selling only cookies, but I ve said that already Second see the end of this rant spooned in instant tea What the hell is instant tea You mean like powdered instant iced tea, only hot Oh, ew Ew Ew.Wait I was wrong That business card thing wasn t the dumbest part of the book this, by several miles, is Spoiler alert, if you care, but I won t tell you too much Intrepid Girl Detective Hannah goes to see yet another suspect, and isn t subtle about the reason for her visit Said suspect leaves the room and comes back with a shawl over her arm and the point is made that this is a little odd since it s rather warm in the room Well, she s got a gun then, I said A few minutes later Hannah is shocked shocked, I say when the suspect points a gun at her.Trying to stall, Hannah asks When did you get the gun Or did you have it with you when I walked in the door I would have shot her right then And with any half decent lawyer I d walk it was justifiable homicide, Yer Honor The woman was too stupid to live To recap, the suspect walked out of the room And came back with her hand hidden in an unexplained shawl Gosh, I wonder if she had the gun hidden under the couch Wait a hidden panel beside the fireplace Or in her undies That must be it All right, that was stupid, but this this is absolutely prize winning In one of the detective shows she d watched, the main character had jammed his finger somewhere or other to keep the gun from firing No, miss I can do an algebraic equation in my head you re thinking of that episode of Bugs Bunny Of several episodes of Bugs Bunny or maybe Yosemite Sam Acartooncan stick his finger into the barrel of a gun to keep himself from being shot I seem to remember Mythbusters covered it I don t recall exactly how that played out, but I m PRETTY sure it wouldn t work for, you know, an actual non toon human ETA See below E again TA See also Wait I was wrong again None of that is the dumbest thing Remember how I mentioned this is the first book in the series Odds are pretty damned good this was planned as a series from the beginning, definitely a jump on the cozy mysteries with recipes bandwagon effort So this line, as they say, took the cake Finding two dead bodies wasthan enough for one lifetime The series is up to 17 books.LOL.Wait That s not funny, it s sad Edited to depressedly add 24 books Twenty Four Books Words cannot express how appalled I am From the TLC MythBusters website Finding BUSTEDExplanation The MythBusters treaded sic into cartoon territory to work out whether Bugs Bunny could really make Elmer Fudd s shotgun backfire and explode by plugging his rabbity finger in the barrel.To ensure no one was harmed in the process, Kari Byron, Tory Belleci and Grant Imahara rigged up a remote controlled shotgun to test this animated ruse They also created a ballistic gel mold of Grant s hands and body that had a density comparable to human tissue, to keep his digits intact.With the plastic finger blocking the bullet s path, the gun fired and blew this myth to smithereens The fake finger didn t stand a chance against the shotgun shell and exploded along with the entire dummy arm.On the second round, the MythBusters used a stiffer wax hand to plug the gun barrel, but it couldn t beckon a backfire either If Bugs Bunny were real, Elmer Fudd would ve slain that wily rabbit a long time ago.ETA I was sorely disappointed that there was no mention of this in the recent pardon me while I weep quietly for a few minutes at the state of the world Hallmark Channel tv movie based on this book Oh, the humanity I haveof a sense of self preservation than to have watched the whole thing but I did see this scene It was bad but at least Hannah didn t try to be Bugs Bunny. Discover The Delicious Mystery That Started It All No One Cooks Up A Delectable, Suspense Filled Mystery Quite Like Hannah Swensen, Joanne Fluke S Dessert Baking, Red Haired Heroine Whose Gingersnaps Are As Tart As Her Comebacks, And Whose Penchant For Solving Crimes One Delicious Clue At A Time Has Made Her A Bestselling Favorite And It All Began On These Pages, With A Bakery, A Murder, And Some Suddenly Scandalous Chocolate Chip Crunchies Featuring A Bonus Short Story And Brand New, Mouthwatering Recipes, This Limited Edition Of The Very First Hannah Swensen Mystery Is Sure To Have Readers Coming Back For SecondsHannah Swenson Already Has Her Hands Full Trying To Dodge Her Mother S Attempts To Marry Her Off While Running The Cookie Jar, Lake Eden, Minnesota S Most Popular Bakery But Once Ron LaSalle, The Beloved Delivery Man From The Cozy Cow Dairy, Is Found Murdered Behind Her Bakery With Hannah S Famous Chocolate Chip Crunchies Scattered Around Him, Her Life Just Can T Get Any Worse Determined Not To Let Her Cookies Get A Bad Reputation, She Sets Out To Track Down A Killer Who Would Have The Sheer Audacity And The Motive To Kill The Most Punctual Delivery Man Hannah Ever Had Topping The List Is The High School Football Coach What Exactly Was His Wife Doing, Making The Rounds With The Milkman Could Max Turner, Owner Of Cozy Cow Dairy, Have Had A Secret He Didn T Want To Share With His Top Employee The Hannah Snoops, The Suspects Turn Up Why Has Lake Eden S Most Prominent Prodigal Son, Benton Woodley, Just Resurfaced And What About The Mysterious Mr Harris Who Seemed Interested In Buying The Property Next To The Dairy, But Then Disappeared This Is One Murder That S Starting To Leave A Very Bad Taste In Hannah S Mouth And If She Doesn T Watch Her Back, Hannah S Sweet Life May Get Burned To A CrispFilled With A Healthy Sprinkling Of Humor And A Delightful Assortment Of Nuts, CHOCOLATE CHIP COOKIE MURDER Serves Up A Great New Mystery Series And Introduces A Delicious, Down Home Sleuth That Mystery Readers Will Surely Savor For Years To Come Oh HAIL to the NO Did we really stop being monkeys to evolve into reading, thinking beings to read this shit Seriously A monkey could have written a better story.A monkey could have solved this mystery without Idiot 1 and Idiot 2.A monkey police officer wouldn t have made his untrained family member solve the crime for him.In other words, when it comes to this book, we might as well go back to armpit scratching and poo throwing because it is that braincell stealing dumb Yes, I admit I should have run for the hills when I saw the cover There was obviously a Lifetime or Hallmark movie made of this crap That should have been my trigger warning. Is it difficult reading No Are the characters the best characters I ve ever read No But what this series does have going for it is that all the books are a fun, light read You could probably start reading any of these books as your first and you would have no trouble understanding the characters or the plots some would find this a plus while others would see it as a drawback, I m sure.Hannah Swensen, the main character, while not as pretty as her sister Andrea, or her mother, for that matter, gets by on her charming personality and her smarts She owns a cookie shop I love the fact that while she is not a cookie cutter sorry, had to do it type of beauty, she is still pursued by two different men, and even solves crimes before the local police can pick up on most of the clues If only real crimes were this simple to solvebut luckily Hannah lives in a small town in Minnesota, which certainly narrows the suspect list down, as everyone knows everyone else in the area.For all the baked good connoisseurs out there, you may also appreciate the fact that Joanne Fluke includes the recipes Hannah makes for her customers I have yet to try them, but they all sound really tasty to me Try visiting her website at www.murdershebaked.com for some summaries and recipes.I like to read these books before bed, because each chapter is relatively short, so I can read as little or as much as I want, and it s always a tasty and happy ending Solving crimes certainly wasn t as easy as they made it seem in the movies Hannah runs a cookie shop in a small town, and her main sources of worry are her mother, who constantly tries to match her with any widowed divorced man in town, and her younger sister, who takes advantage of her state of single woman in her late twenties making her babysit her daughter on a daily basis Never in her whole life she would imagine that one day, right after opening up her cute, small, cookie shop, she will find the body of one of her fellow citizens peeping from his truck Being the sister in law of the town s cop she soon gets involved in the investigation did she bitethan she could chew The start of one of the most famous cozy mystery series, this novel by Joanne Fluke is the proof that murder and desserts go together like milk and cookies, and that a small cozy hometown is often the main attraction for killers, maniacs and other horrors Wasn t Jessica Fletcher s life enough of a warning When you see a cute, cozy town with small antique shops and flowers at every window RUN You never know when the next guy with the chainsaw is going to be right behind you P.S The main character in this one is a little mm how can i say this in a polite way She s a b tch Fatshaming Really I hope she gets better in the next books, otherwise i will stop cheering for her and cheer for the killer instead Find all of my reviews at StarsYou know how you know something isn t good for you, but you re still all like Yeah That s pretty much this book After all, it is the story of the local cookie shop owner who gets recruited by her brother in law who just so happens to be Barney Fife a policeman to help solve the first murder Eden Lake has ever had I mean, I haven t experienced something this ridiculous sincewell, actually just about a week and a half ago Anyway If you re willing and able to leave reality 100% at the door, Joanne Fluke might have the series for you These light and cozies are working out great for my commute so I have a feeling I ll gobble up whatever else the library has to offer I am a sucker for the quick, easy, light hearted mystery novels and I really enjoy Joanne Fluke The characters are fun and the whodunits are clever enough Not surprisingly many of the situations the heroine finds herself in are a bit unlikely But it s not meant to double your IQ, just entertain and all of her books do well at that. Ok, so I m officially in love with cozy mysteries, and there s nothing anyone can do about it PI heart this genre so much it walks the tightrope between good old fashioned, small town, hardboiled noir and straight up cutie patootie ness.It s a great break from all the really sad, serious stuff going on around the world and in books, and is a gentle reminder of better days gone by Think summertime, a warm breeze passes you by as you re sitting under a beautiful old oak tree reading a comforting book You re in the yard of a light yellow cottage style home with white trim and pink flowers neatly planted around the outside This little slice of perfection is tucked away from the madness of the world nothing can ruin the simplicity and joy of your experience.And that s cozy mystery.Anyhoo, Chocolate Chip Cookie Murder is the first in a long running series written by Joanne Fluke It s about a woman named Hannah Swensen who owns a cookie shop called The Cookie Jar, and she lives in a tiny town called Lake Eden with her trusty cat Moishe.All bets are off when a man she grew up with is found murdered directly behind her shop Who did it Why Will they strike again She sets off to help her brother in law crack the case He s up for a promotion from deputy to detective if he s successful.Overall, it was a cute read, thoroughly enjoyable, and provided a much needed respite from the stresses of life. I had been eyeing this book for a while, mostly because the cover amused me so I finally picked it up when I was on one of my cosy mystery tears Knowing it had been written in the 80s made the content a little less annoying Unfortunately, the first book is the best of this sad lot.However, having read all but the latest Key Lime Pie Murder, which I am still debating whether or not to read in the series, I have to say that the series is not that great The latter books were writtenrecently and the author did a pretty good job throwing in those little details that let you know that yes, you are in the 21st Century now for example, one of the characters carries around a laptop and cell phone But beyond that, there is not much to recommend this series.The main character is the bakery shop owner She eats a lot of cookies and worries about how fat she is and just frets about her weight far too often in the books At one point she goes on a diet and after a couple of days people are telling her how much weight she s lost and how good she looks Personally, if she can look so different in just two days of dieting, then she probably didn t need to lose any weight at all There are two men with whom she is supposed to be involved, but why they want to be with her is not clear There is very little character development and I had a hard time understanding why, in a supposedly small town where everyone knows that she likes to investigate crimes if you can call it investigating , the suspects don t have a clue that she is interviewing them Bottom line unless you are bored to tears or stuck in a snowstorm with nothing else to read, this series can be skipped.