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Devil's Food Cake Murder (Hannah Swensen #14)

3.78 of 5 stars 3.78  ·  rating details  ·  5,227 ratings  ·  486 reviews
A new minister is in town. But when he is found face down in a plate of devil's food cake with a bullet in his head, Hannah starts asking questions.
Paperback, 352 pages
Published February 1st 2012 by Kensington (first published January 1st 2011)
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Sometimes I wonder why I like these so much. I don't make the recipes (which are increasing in number with every book, it seems, taking up a lot of space). I get annoyed by Hannah, who is 30 but acts kind of like a grandma (she doesn't know how to use email and cell phones and is shocked at any implication of sex?) and I frequently feel like the author has not been back to Minnesota in a while (referring to MN's basketball team as the "Minnesota Wild" is unforgivable). The mysteries aren't even ...more
Andrea Lyn
If you don't mind poor story construction, faceless characters, dialogue-driven children's book plot, complete lack of imagination, random injections of pro-gun propaganda (wtf Joanne? No really, wtf?), references to Christianity every third or fourth sentence, and a mysteriously octogenarian-sounding 30 year old female protagonist who sounds like every crappy romance novel heroine I've ever read about (her hair! tis unruly! her figure! tis not a size 3!)... then maybe, just maybe, this book won ...more
This book may be one of the worst I've ever read. Here are some general problems I had with it:

1. The fact that I was able to figure out the ending, several pages in. It was so completely obvious, that it just made the annoyingly folksy characters seem especially moronic for not cluing in faster.

2. The fact that 60% of the non-recipe text, still consists of people a) eating food that the narration simply MUST describe because OF COURSE we need to know the details of practically every single meal
Jodie Hill
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As a rule, I enjoy these books. I visit each new installment in the series with the same inexplicable fascination of a family spending a few days in Disney World: glad to be there; taking in the faux scenery; but ever-so-glad to return home to more comfortable shores, devoid of excess. The "bad guy" always gets caught. The setting is familiar and cozy (albeit snowy and cold). And aside from drinking far, far, too much coffee, the characters are quirky, fun, and fairly predictable. Plus, every ti ...more
Kasia S.
I read these in order so yes, I have read the previous books and this was as delicious as expected, maybe a little predictable because after all these years I do get conditioned to the formula used but never the less, when I’m in the mood for a Fluke, nothing else will do! Best part was the ending of course, It actually made me speak out loud, shouting something like “no way!” which only made waiting to read the next book harder, perhaps that’s why I didn’t…

We get the usual baking, sleuthing, Mo
Based on other reviews, I have to assume I'm not the demographic that these books are aimed at. I picked this one up as filler and since I like cozy mysteries, especially ones involving food, I thought it'd be interesting to compare it to other books in the same genre. Personally, I was not impressed. The writing is at a young adult level, the characters a bit too folksy for my taste and not a lot happens except for baking cookies (using friends/relatives recipes), delivering cookies to others a ...more
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I can't quit you, Hannah Swenson, even when you drive me crazy.

In this latest installment, Hannah and 92 year old Grandma Knudson are solving the mystery of the replacement Reverend in Lake Eden. And the only thing wrong in Hannah's love life is that Norman seems to be very involved with his new dentistry partner Dr. Bev, a woman Hannah describes as 1/3 her dress size. This one was on the goofy side, with Dolores going undercover (again) at the Eagle Bar. Moishe's up to his old tricks again too.
Oh the injustice of it all! This is probably one of the best Hannah Swensen mysteries in a while. The story was good, I hadn't fingered the murderer right away, and of the twenty recipes included, I've just got to make fifteen of them! If that isn't high praise, I don't know what is. But, and I won't give anything away, the frustrating love triangle that makes me think I won't bother reading anymore of these mysteries came to quite a dramatic head and the story ends with a cliffhanger! Seeing as ...more
Julie P
You know how there are some books that you're glad you got from the library, and didn't buy it? This book is one of them. Not that I didn't enjoy it - I did, but it was such a quick read that I am glad I didn't spend $24.00 on it. _Devil's Food Cake Murder_ allows us to see a different side of Hannah Swenson - she shows emotion! Yes, Hannah is jealous, and I have to admit I am glad to see this development. The recipes, as always, are to die for, and the mystery is not as important to the plot as ...more
Linda Hart
Poor grammar. Boringly predictable plot. Unbelievable and annoying characters. Tedious detail with no imagination. Unnatural, repetitive dialogue. An unfinished ending in order to get you to read the next book in the series, which I will never do. Poor writing and story construction. Since this is on NY Times Bestseller list I'm really concerned about my fellow American readers. The book is a bust, but there are some good recipes.
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I am getting a little tired of these books. I find it hard to believe that every where Hannah goes in the town people feed her and give her recipes handy for her. I also find it hard to believe that everywhere she goes she brings cookies with her and the amount of people that come in her back door and eat cookies for free. This is her livelihood.

I also am getting tired of the love triangle. I like that she realizes that Mike isn't for her, but find it weird that she still keeps going out with h
So I like reading this series.
I started reading this series since, what 7th grade?
So it's something that I can't really just stop reading.

All of Fluke's books have been enjoyable but not fantastic.
I still got entertained reading her books but the way the story flows is ALWAYS the same.

But I think you shouldn't categorize this series just as mystery novel
because the part I enjoy the most is not the murder scene but the life of people at Lake Eden.
Of course, reading how Hannah, Norman, and Mike's
Sara Thompson
I've finally carved out some reading time. It's amazing how much I can read if I don't watch TV in the evening.
Joanne Fluke has a style that I just love. Her books are light, fun with a touch of suspense. She has a formula that works and hasn't gotten stale yet (which is saying a lot for a long series like this). I highly recommend the entire series but I think this is my favorite so far (except I'm not sure I like the ending).
What I liked best is that she twisted it just a little without gett
Karen B.
I was writing this review and then it disappeared. I wish I knew which key I hit that made that happen and could undo it.

Well I as I was saying ... This book was rather disappointing to me. First about the plot. I figured out the "who dunit" as soon as the murderer was introduced.

It just seemed to take Hannah a while to find it. I'm not surprised because she probably was too busy writing out all those recipes. For the first time I found that there were too many recipes here! I am a dessert jun
Jennifer Bloom
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Ugh! Why do I continue to read these?! There's no action, barely enough suspense to even be considered a mystery! The characters are all so proper, they sound like they should be in one of Delores' regency romance novels instead. And I find it hard to believe so many people eat cookies for breakfast, lunch and dinner! If these people are eating all those desserts and drinking all that coffee, the whole town would be obese and completely wired! And chocolate does not cure all cases of stress! I w ...more

So. done. with. these. books.

Setting aside the preposterous plot and unbelievable cliffhanger ending of this one, the most annoying thing about these books are the recipes. They sound yummy, sure, but they seem to be written for Martians just arriving on Earth who have never set foot in a kitchen before! I think the majority of people who enjoy these books for the recipes have some familiarity with baking and don't need to be told how to beat an egg or require 4 different measurements for bu
It has been a long time since I read a book from this series. Picking up this one was like having a visit with old friends. I enjoyed my time in Lake Eden, Minnesota and will likely come back again soon. I did like the mystery, but it seems like the number and length of recipes included in this series has grown. It seemed more like reading a cookbook with a mystery thrown in. But that was OK with me. A very enjoyable read.
Dollycas’s Thoughts

I was so excited to start this book because the author left us with a bit of a cliffhanger last time. We start with Reverend Bob and Claire off on their honeymoon since they have found another minister to fill in. Matthew just happens to a childhood friend of Bob’s so he feels his church is in good hands. He was doing a fantastic job until Hannah finds him dead, with a single bullet wound and in a mess of Devil’s Food Cake.

I love the series and all the characters. Hannah has t
UPDATE: After consideration, I have demoted this book to two stars.

This is a VERY generous 3 stars, most likely motivated by the fact that it has been some time since I have read a Hannah Swensen mystery and that right now, at the tailend of studying for the bar, I am easily entertained. However, there is really nothing new in this book that Joanne Fluke hasn't in some way, shape, or form written
Lori McD
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Wow. Well, Fluke has opted to join the ranks of cliffhanger endings. And what a twist! I'm thinking more about the possibilities from that ending than I am of the rest of the book! A lot of repetition in the writing--and not just same phrases from the series but within the same book. Some things explained more than once. Some things said over and over. A couple of parts that felt like personal opinions inserted and coming out of characters' mouths. (Though I tend to do that in my fiction writing ...more
This was entertaining enough to read in the minutes before I fall asleep, when I'm too tired to read anything very heavy. Erika brought my attention to a great interview w Julie Beck where she talks about how she uses her leisure time. This book wouldn't meet her standard for a good book (see below), but it was good enough to fall asleep to :) I need to do more of the kind of reading she describes. Following is someone's transcription of the interview so it may not be exact but it's the gist of ...more
Ok during the summertime, I was like, do I really want to keep reading this sort of inane series? I took a break right before Carrot Cake Murder. I started in on them again this winter. I'm now almost finished with all of the published ones.

I don't see an issue in continuing to read them. Yes they can be a bit repetitive but I think that's the nature of the beast? I think Fluke wants to make it so there's a very strong sense of familiarity with the characters and their traits.

She did tone down
I really enjoyed this cozy mystery. This is the first I've read of this series and I can't wait to read more. What's more to love than baked goods, smarty-pants cats, and murder! I really enjoyed the characters in this town and became very fond of Hannah. I found myself wishing I could walk into her cookie shop and get to know her better. The added recipes between the chapters was an awesome added bonus. I love the tone of this book and how it was written, it really keeps you wanting more. The r ...more
Once again, if you are hoping that this will be the book in which Hannah finally settles done with either Mike or Norman, you will be disappointed. There is twist at the end, which threatens to complicate Hannah's life, and makes us wish we could read the next installment now. The best thing about the novel? Without a doubt, the delicious recipes. Joanne Fluke does a great job of incorporating the recipe into the storyline, and then graciously giving us the actual recipe, along with helpful and ...more
SPOILER ALERT...What is Norman thinking!!!! The last few pages has put me into a tail spin. I know Hannah likes Norman a little better than Mike and now he has gone and let Dr. Bev move in with him. She's saying that her daughter is Norman's. This can't be!! Can't wait for Hannah to prove this wrong.
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The Women's Myste...: #16 Devil's Food Cake Murder 1 4 Aug 09, 2013 11:25PM  
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Like Hannah Swensen, Joanne Fluke grew up in a small town in rural Minnesota where her neighbors were friendly, the winters were fierce, and the biggest scandal was the spotting of unidentified male undergarments on a young widow's clothesline. She insists that there really are 10,000 lakes and the mosquito is NOT the state bird.

While pursuing her writing career, Joanne has worked as: a public sch
More about Joanne Fluke...

Other Books in the Series

Hannah Swensen (1 - 10 of 19 books)
  • Chocolate Chip Cookie Murder (Hannah Swensen, #1)
  • Strawberry Shortcake Murder (Hannah Swensen, #2)
  • Blueberry Muffin Murder (Hannah Swensen, #3)
  • Lemon Meringue Pie Murder (Hannah Swensen, #4)
  • Fudge Cupcake Murder (Hannah Swensen, #5)
  • Sugar Cookie Murder (Hannah Swensen, #6)
  • Peach Cobbler Murder (Hannah Swensen, #7)
  • Cherry Cheesecake Murder (Hannah Swensen, #8)
  • Key Lime Pie Murder (Hannah Swensen, #9)
  • Carrot Cake Murder (Hannah Swensen, #10)
Chocolate Chip Cookie Murder (Hannah Swensen, #1) Fudge Cupcake Murder (Hannah Swensen, #5) Strawberry Shortcake Murder (Hannah Swensen, #2) Cherry Cheesecake Murder (Hannah Swensen, #8) Blueberry Muffin Murder (Hannah Swensen, #3)

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“JANELLE’S QUICK AND EASY CHICKEN SOUP 8 cups chicken broth OR 2 quarts water (that’s 8 cups) and 8 chicken bouillon cubes 6 and ½ cups uncooked wide egg noodles 2 cans (10 and ¾ ounce each) condensed cream of chicken soup, undiluted 3 cups cubed cooked chicken 1 cup (8 ounces) sour cream minced fresh parsley Bring broth OR water and bouillon to a boil in a pot that will hold 12 to 14 cups. Add the noodles. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the noodles are tender. (Read your noodle package for the time. Mine took about 9 minutes.) DO NOT DRAIN the noodles. They are now part of the soup. Turn the heat down to medium. Add the two cans of condensed cream of chicken soup. Stir them in well. Add the cubed chicken and stir it in. Heat everything through. This should take from 5 to 10 minutes. When the soup is piping hot, remove it from the heat. If you’re serving it all at once and everyone’s ready to eat, stir in the sour cream, sprinkle with fresh parsley, and ladle into soup bowls.” 1 likes
“STRAWBERRY SHORTBREAD BAR COOKIES Preheat oven to 350 degrees F., rack in the middle position.   Hannah’s 1st Note: These are really easy and fast to make. Almost everyone loves them, including Baby Bethie, and they’re not even chocolate! 3 cups all purpose flour (pack it down in the cup when you measure it) ¾ cup powdered (confectioner’s) sugar (don’t sift un- less it’s got big lumps) 1 and ½ cups salted butter, softened (3 sticks, 12 ounces, ¾ pound) 1 can (21 ounces) strawberry pie filling (I used Comstock)*** *** - If you can’t find strawberry pie filling, you can use another berry filling, like raspberry, or blueberry. You can also use pie fillings of larger fruits like peach, apple, or whatever. If you do that, cut the fruit pieces into smaller pieces so that each bar cookie will have some. I just put my apple or peach pie filling in the food processor with the steel blade and zoop it up just short of being pureed. I’m not sure about using lemon pie filling. I haven’t tried that yet. FIRST STEP: Mix the flour and the powdered sugar together in a medium-sized bowl. Cut in the softened butter with a two knives or a pastry cutter until the resulting mixture resembles bread crumbs or coarse corn meal. (You can also do this in a food processor using cold butter cut into chunks that you layer between the powdered sugar and flour mixture and process with the steel blade, using an on-and-off pulsing motion.) Spread HALF of this mixture (approximately 3 cups will be fine) into a greased (or sprayed with Pam or another nonstick cooking spray) 9-inch by 13-inch pan. (That’s a standard size rectangular cake pan.) Bake at 350 degrees F. for 12 to 15 minutes, or until the edges are just beginning to turn golden brown. Remove the pan to a wire rack or a cold burner on the stove, but DON’T TURN OFF THE OVEN! Let the crust cool for 5 minutes. SECOND STEP: Spread the pie filling over the top of the crust you just baked. Sprinkle the crust with the other half of the crust mixture you saved. Try to do this as evenly as possible. Don’t worry about little gaps in the topping. It will spread out and fill in a bit as it bakes. Gently press the top crust down with the flat blade of a metal spatula. Bake the cookie bars at 350 degrees F. for another 30 to 35 minutes, or until the top is lightly golden. Turn off the oven and remove the pan to a wire rack or a cold burner to cool completely. When the bars are completely cool, cover the pan with foil and refrigerate them until you’re ready to cut them. (Chilling them makes them easier to cut.) When you’re ready to serve them, cut the Strawberry Shortbread Bar Cookies into brownie-sized pieces, arrange them on a pretty platter, and if you like, sprinkle the top with extra powdered sugar.” 1 likes
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