“Her dreams had been peppered with bullet holes, blood, and stiff, cold legs sticking out like boards behind couches, chairs, and bookcases. There had even been a cow in her dreams – a huge, homicidal Guernsey that had chased her over fences and past bubbling vats of cream.” – p 230

It’s a little odd to go backwards in a murder mystery series. When I first discovered this author, the only book available was the third – Blueberry Muffin Murder. So I gamely put the first two books on hold and read that one. Well, at long last someone decided to return this first in the series.

The “hook” for this series is the inclusion of recipes, usually which have to do something with the title (I say this only based on my reading of two books so it may in no way be construed as fact). This book introduces us to Hannah Swenson, before she is used to finding dead bodies and being confronted by murderers and the conundrum of deciding between many male suitors.

This time, Hannah is surprised to find her milk delivery man dead in her sweet shop’s back alley, one of her chocolate chip cookies in his hand and a bullet in his head. Only her desire to help out her brother in law to get a promotion leads her to get involved in the investigation.

As she makes her first forays into criminal investigation and detective work, Hannah also finds herself gathering secrets about the seemingly harmless town folk of Lake Eden, warding off her mother’s attempts to set her up with any single man in sight, and promote her business.

Overall, this was a pretty good first novel, although I didn’t see much change between it and the third book – hopefully this is only a fluke. I enjoy reading about Hannah and her adventures, as well as the quirky folk of Minnesota. And the recipes are a nice bonus, although I have more than enough cookie recipes in my cook books.

This book was published in 2000 by Joanne Fluke.

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