By norahaddad |
Cream Puff Murder: Hannah Swensen Mysteries #11

So far I've been highly impressed by this series; for other series that are long-running, it can sometimes be difficult to maintain its original charm. In this book Mike Kingston, the detective, goes through a major character change in Hannah's perspective. He's more high-handed, more involved with others (AKA has a "roving eye"), and isn't included very much here because of his personal involvement with the victim. Not that I'm complaining. His role wasn't particularly interesting in the plot and there wasn't as much humor included as with Norman. It just... didn't feel quite normal? It felt like the change was forced into the plot. 

As for the victim, she was Ronni, the flirt of the town who practically the entire female population despised. Hannah finds her dead in the Jacuzzi of the gym she'd started taking classes in. There was no shortage of suspects this time; however the top three on the police's list now are Bill (Andrea's husband), Mike, and Lonnie. So all of the detectives are unable to investigate due to not having alibis. Hannah is forced to investigate both to placate her mother, who complains that people won't be able to focus on her book launch party if they're gossiping about Ronni's murder, and because of Andrea's distress over Bill becoming a suspect. 

A new detective is called in- one that instantly earns the respect of several Lake Edenites, including the other detectives- Stella Parks. Despite her being no-nonsense and strict she allows Hannah to snoop around and instructs her to come back with any information, whether she thinks it valuable or not.

A lot of the rest of it was- AGAIN- Hannah angsting over her cat (I mean, I love cats and how authors can include them as a comic relief, but ANGST?) and how he keeps eating all of his food yet not gaining weight. I feel like 30% of the book was just Moishe and his eating habits. At the end it was made clear who the murderer was when he confronted Hannah- Frank Hurley, the security guard who has a fatherly affection for Tad. Tad happened to be one of Ronni's social "victims" and was humiliated in front of everyone when he showed up to her party to wish her a happy birthday, and Frank, antagonized by Ronni's insult to Tad, went after her to get his revenge. Hannah had formed a theory that there had to be a hidden camera in the sauna for the phone connection to be interfered with every time she went inside; and it turned out to be true. Frank caught her and locked her in the boiling-hot sauna, and fortunately, Mike shows up again to arrest Frank and let her out. 

6.5/10. The mystery aspect was lacking in this one. I already knew it had to be one of two characters- Frank or Tad- because in mysteries, subtle inclusion of side characters isn't just for dialogue. It has some ulterior motive behind it, foreshadowing so to speak. I do appreciate that the coziness is WONDERFUL. Lake Eden is such a lovely town to return to with its close-knit characters and yummy cookies. And yes, it did make me crave a cream puff, despite me never having tried one haha! They sound tasty though. (Along with never trying key lime pie, strawberry shortcake, carrot cake, etc.. I'm strictly red-velvet, chocolate, and vanilla when it comes to desserts.) But, I did enjoy it, and I'm looking forward to reading the twelfth book.