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Plum Pudding Murder (Hannah Swensen #12)

3.80  ·  Rating Details  ·  6,598 Ratings  ·  449 Reviews
Holiday business is booming at Hannah Swenson's Cookie Jar pastry shop, but the mysterious murder of "Lunatic Larry" Jaeger puts a serious crimp in the season of good cheer. From the looks of it, Larry had as many enemies as Hannah's sugar cookies have sprinkles. With the 12 days of Christmas ticking down and cookie orders piling up, tracking down the killer won't be easy. ...more
MP3 Book, 0 pages
Published October 19th 2009 by Recorded Books, LLC (first published January 1st 2009)
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Mary Dolata
Dec 09, 2011 Mary Dolata rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I like to read Christmas themed books this time of year, and willingly set aside some standards to read books from series I would not otherwise choose to read. However, I can't imagine how this one was published. Hannah has to be the most annoying character in current fiction. She even makes the recipes annoying with all her side comments. She has a business partner who not only continually holds down the fort while she runs around sticking her nose in other people's business, she actually encou ...more
Darcy
Oct 10, 2009 Darcy rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2009, mystery
This book was ok. It seems like they are getting more and more predictable and formulmatic. The characters are becoming characters of themselves. I was able to guess very early on who the murderer was.

I am very tired of the whole Mike and Norman thing. There is no way if this were to happen in real life that these 2 men would be so friendly and able to handle each other so well.

With each book Hannah seems to give over more and more control to Lisa at the Cookie Jar. I am waiting for the time th
...more
Lori McD
Starting to lose my interest in this series... I admit that I read #12 ahead of #11, and I take it by the book and the reviews that I've missed something with Mike.

But the whole Mike/Hannah/Norman thing is too much. Like many other readers with reviews here have stated, Ms. Fluke is way out of touch with romance and small towns... unless she's remembering the 50s or 60s. And, unfortunately for me, the relationship triangle is sucking the enjoyment out of these books.

I'm the most irritated with H
...more
Saadia
Jan 22, 2012 Saadia rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
In terms of mystery plot and suspense, these stories are on the low end of the scale... Not too complex or suspenseful, and rather tame. That's all right, sometimes I don't want to know about ever more inventive and gruesome ways to kill a human being or about the deeply convoluted psychological depravities of twisted killers. Plain human motives like pain, greed, revenge, etc. are just fine. I don't need to try too hard to guess at the killer as I spend my time enjoying the fluffy lifestyle of ...more
Marian
Oct 12, 2009 Marian rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: readit, 2009
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Bev
Dec 18, 2012 Bev rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery, christmas
Plum Pudding Murder by Joanne Fluke is the twelfth book in the Hannah Swenson baking mysteries. It's also the first one that I've read. Fortunately, one really doesn't need to have read earlier books to slip into this one (although there are some relationships to work out that are probably explained as you go along if you read them in order).

Hannah Swenson is the owner of the Cookie Jar pastry shop in Lake Eden, Minnesota. She's the queen of baking in the small town and a pretty dab hand at solv
...more
Liralen
It's a cop-out, but the Hannah Swensen mysteries really only need a lump review:

For some reason, I keep reading these when they show up at the library. I don't know why. Do I enjoy them? Sure. They're trashy murder mysteries that don't always make sense. I can huff at them in irritation when the main character does, or thinks, something especially stupid. They involve recipes.

Actually, the books are formulaic enough that they themselves were written by recipe.

Yes, I will keep reading them, assum
...more
Alissa
Sep 27, 2009 Alissa rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mysteries, 2009
13 books in and Hannah's mysteries are getting a little thin. Fluke has finally introduced characters not from Lake Eden, since it wouldn't be credible for people in the town to keep dying. This seemed to have more recipes than usual. Also it was weird to read a christmas mystery in October. I would've thought the publisher would have pushed the pub date to November at least.
Also, after 13 books I'm really tired of the Mike vs. Norman debate. It's just not as fun as Evanovich's love triangle. I
...more
E Goldberg
May 16, 2010 E Goldberg rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery
Writing is good. Plot is ludicrous. Sort of "Look! His head is blown off! Are those his brains on the wall? Oh, by the way, I have a new recipe for chocolate chip cookies. Here, try one. I just mix a little earl grey tea into the mix and then toast them gently over an open fire." Right! Not so much a mystery as a recipe book.
Shaina
Nov 19, 2009 Shaina rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Last February, when I started working at Barnes & Noble "Cream Puff Murder" (Hannah Swensen Mystery, Book 11) had just been released and we had it everywhere in the store. The cover was so pretty that I kept meaning to read it, but never took the plunge. Then, we got in the newest addition to the series and I had to pick it up. The series just looked like a nice fun entry into the mystery genre. I mean, really, even if the story itself hadn't been that great, you at least got all the fun rec ...more
Scarlett Sims
Ok so one thing I have decided in this series' favor is the ongoing storylines. It's also kind of a downside, because I've read them out of order thinking they would be one-offs, and it's not like you need tons of backstory for them or anything, but I do like that there is an overarching storyline.

This one also has lots of recipes I want to try, including an entire Christmas dinner!

But seriously, Hannah is such a wet blanket sometimes. I mean I get that these are cozy mysteries and as such are g
...more
Rachel
I don't know why I read these books, except that I read cookbooks too, and this is like a cookbook with a really bad mystery in between the recipes. I will have to try a recipe or two to see if they work, the mixing method is sometimes a little suspect to me. (Hannah often mixes baking soda into the wet instead of adding to the dry.)

Anyway, the book is part of a series set in small town Minnesota where I don't recommend you visit. New people in town are usually murdered, or they are the ones doi
...more
Mario
Nov 25, 2012 Mario rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I don't know why I keep doing this to myself, knowing that I don't like these books. It's nice to have the recipes, and the cover, as always, is beautiful, but otherwise... ugh. This time, the mystery had, essentially, no suspects and no clues. There was one bizarre point where there was a football game on TV and she mentioned seeing that one of the teams was "LA" (which in Hannah's mind could have been Los Angeles or Louisiana), which I assumed must be a clue given that neither existed when the ...more
Writerlibrarian
The plot is thinner than usual, the Hannah self bashing is still on big time with a nice dose of you are not 'normal' from her mother and one half of her romantic triangle (Mike, which is one of the most despicable romantic lead I've read in a cozy in a long time, the character makes me want to take a shower and get clean every time he's there).

Why would I still read these books? I don't know. 75 pages of the 300 or so pages are recipes, the action revolves around food all the time. The female
...more
Andrea Guy
I admit it, I'm addicted to the Hannah Swensen Mystery Series. I'm totally reading them out of order, but I don't care. The festive stories are the best, and this one was really great. It was really more story than mystery. In fact, the murder didn't happen until the story was almost over.

The best part of the story is always the recipes. Joanne develops the best cookie recipes. It is one of the reasons why I always go for these books.

The whole story revolves around The Crazy Elf Christmas Tree
...more
Marti Martinson
After reading her murder mystery regarding red velvet cupcakes, I thought I'd never read another one of these. However, my experience with ONE book in another author's series -replete with a cat and Vegas city lights- made me try Fluke again. I still maintain that she is a competent author. The dialogue in this one was a little less contrived and the recipe insertions were a little less intrusive. The fact that I did have a hunch who did it does not mean she is a sloppy writer.

With it being Chri
...more
Angie H
Dec 28, 2014 Angie H rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: cozy-mystery
Another quick, cozy, read. Although I have "some" problems with these books. *cough* love triangle *cough*. Make a decision already Hannah! It is NOT a hard one to make........ I still enjoy this series. In this book particular I actually knew who the culprit was. Not sure if that means she is making it more obvious, If I'm just getting better at figuring it out, or I'm just paying more attention (probably a bit of everything).

One of my favourite things about this series is the setting. A small
...more
Jenn
May 18, 2014 Jenn rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Oh boy. I'm so far into this series, I feel invested. Plus, they take so very little time to read that I feel like I should just go ahead and read them, especially since I'm not paying for them, but getting them from the library.

This is YET ANOTHER Christmas story. The previous short story was also set at Christmas time, presumably before this one. But Hannah specifically mentions dressing like an elf LAST year in this book, so I think the order here at GR is off.

Hannah still thinks she's the o
...more
Angel
Apr 15, 2014 Angel rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
The only reason I hung on as long as I did was because I was getting them from the library and they require no brains to read. Truthfully, I checked out of the premise a long time ago because it is very clear that the author has exactly zero experience with the age groups in the time period she writes about. Grown women do not need to be told about the phrase "don't shoot the messenger". Grown women, including ones in small towns, have more than a passing recognition of technology. Grown women d ...more
George
Feb 17, 2014 George rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
#12 in the Hannah Swensen mystery series. Hannah is co-owner of The Cookie Jar bakery in Lake Eden, Minnesota and the novel is filled with recipes of the items mentioned in the story. Much of the story revolves around Hannah's relations with the two men (Mike, police detective, & Norman, dentist) she loves and love her and Hannah's relations with her family members. This mystery involves the murder of a con man who specializes in attracting investors in a business and then scamming them. He ...more
Theresa Leone Davidson
"The alarm clock was set for four in the morning, but Hannah awoke before it went off. She sat up in bed and glanced at the clock. It was three forty-seven. What had happened to wake her up eight minutes before the alarm went off?" OK, Fluke knows a lot about baking and cooking but apparently doesn't know how to count AND this book didn't have a very thorough editor. Small point, to be sure. I have in the past read a couple of Joanne Fluke's novels, from the series where each is dubbed a "Hannah ...more
Heather
Jul 02, 2013 Heather rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
2.5 Stars. This was another chapter in the mundane lives of the Lake Edenites, in which murder is par for the course and Hannah always finds the bodies.

I did like that this book started with the murder, even though the body wasn't discovered by Hannah until halfway through the book. Maybe it's because I've read this series from the beginning but I thought the killer's identity was quite obvious-and I was right-even though I didn't know the motive. The side mystery of Carrie's odd behavior wasn't
...more
Kasia
Apr 13, 2012 Kasia rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Another yummy treat from Joanne brought back my craving for food related mysteries, there is a lot of holiday cheer in this one but reading it in April is just as good. I enjoyed how different this one was, the murder happened right away but the story back tracks to events before it which take up half the book, I like the buildup knowing that there will be a bad guy and trying to see who was suspicious form beginning was actually fun! This is the thirteenth effort from Fluke, some sites don’t co ...more
Susan
Dec 10, 2010 Susan rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Hannah Swenson owns a cookie bakery in Minnesota. She is also an amateur sleuth who has apparently solved other murders in previous books. This one, set around Christmas, involves a murder that happened at the Crazy Elf Christmas Tree lot. There were so many things about this book that annoyed me. First, the murder happens on page 5, but no one discovers the body until page 209. There is a lot of inconsequential fluff in between, mainly centering around the new types of cookies Hannah is selling ...more
Karol
Usually I rate books in the Hannah Swenson very highly - I love the characters, and the chit chat throughout about food, cats, family, friends. And of course there are recipes (very nice in this book) and a mystery. All these elements were present in Plum Pudding Murder, by Joanne Fluke.

However, when I take the time to read an entire book, I expect there to be a satisfactory ending. I HATE cliffhangers! If I like a series as much as I do this one, I don't need to be prodded with the contrivance
...more
Cheryl
Oct 06, 2015 Cheryl rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
An enjoyable read with a decent mystery to it, although a few of the clues were given a little too much emphasis somehow. The recipes sounded yummy, though, and I copied a few to try after I return the book to my friend.
Margarette
Hannah Swensen is a partner of the local Cookie & Coffee Shop. This particular story occurs at Christmas time and as in previous books she finds a dead body after all of the town characters are introduced and then everyone looks to her to solve the murder. Of course whatever food was discussed in that chapter, the recipe was included. Some of the recipes were excellent although i don't know many people who work all day and then come home and cook half the night. The number of pots of coffee ...more
Julie Morales
Apr 23, 2016 Julie Morales rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I love Christmas stories and this one had some scenes that were warm and fuzzy...just the sort of thing I like to read when I think about Christmas.
Hannah's troubles with her cat and the Christmas tree remind me of why I don't have a tree most years. But she persevered, with Mike and Norman's help, and managed to have a tree that year anyway.
The Christmas dinner scene at the end of the book was nice and homey. Scenes like that make you wish you were a part of things. I love to cook too, but I kn
...more
Cherry
Nov 20, 2015 Cherry rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Here's another installment of Hannah Swensen, demanding answers to personal questions, breaking laws and sneaking around others, and invading people's privacy by using tricks learned from her horrendous mother.

She's Lake Eden's number one eligible spinster and makes the best cookies (well, everything) in the whole USA. She is also, somehow, far beyond her mother and Andrea in the sense and knowledge areas (Michelle is perfect). Perhaps she got that from her father.

People drop around at 10pm, una
...more
Jessica
Jul 07, 2016 Jessica rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I wanted to like Hannah, I really did. But she's too much of a cut-out. This is the second book in the series I've read but I don't think I'll be reading the third. The murder mystery felt contrived, easy to identify the murderer, and the side plots were very thin.

I enjoy cozy mysteries. I find them very appealing in summer heat. And I love one surrounding food. But I feel like Fluke writes a cookbook with non cooking instructions instead of adding a bonus. Cleo Coyle's series has recipes but t
...more
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The Women's Myste...: #13 Plum Pudding Murder 1 5 Aug 09, 2013 11:23PM  
  • Sugar and Spice
  • The Cereal Murders (A Goldy Bear Culinary Mystery, #3)
  • The Chocolate Snowman Murders (A Chocoholic Mystery, #8)
  • Powdered Peril (Donut Shop Mystery, #8)
  • Christmas Cookie Murder (A Lucy Stone Mystery, #6)
  • Buttercream Bump Off (Cupcake Bakery Mystery, #2)
  • Eggs Benedict Arnold (Cackleberry Club, #2)
  • Murder by the Slice (A Fresh-Baked Mystery, #2)
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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
More about Joanne Fluke...

Other Books in the Series

Hannah Swensen (1 - 10 of 21 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)

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“SHRIMP LOUIE SPREAD Hannah’s Note: This is best served well chilled with a basket of crackers on the side. 8 ounces softened cream cheese ½ cup mayonnaise ¼ cup chili sauce (I used Heinz) 1 Tablespoon horseradish (I used Silver Springs) 1/8 teaspoon pepper 6 green onions 2 cups finely chopped cooked salad shrimp*** (measure AFTER chopping) Salt to taste Mix the cream cheese with the mayonnaise. Add the chili sauce, horseradish, and pepper. Mix it up into a smooth sauce.   Clean the green onions and cut off the bottoms. Use all of the white part and up to an inch of the green part. Throw the tops away.   Mince the onions as finely as you can and add them to the sauce. Stir them in well.   Chop the salad shrimp into fine bits. You can do this with a sharp knife, or in the food processor using the steel blade and an on-and-off motion.   Mix in the shrimp and check to see how salty the spread is. Add salt if needed.   Chill the spread in a covered bowl in the refrigerator for at least 4 hours. You can make it in the morning if you plan to serve it that night.   Yield: Makes approximately 3 cups.” 2 likes
“CRANBERRY SCONES Preheat oven to 425 degrees F., rack in the middle position. 3 cups all-purpose flour (pack it down in the cup when you measure it) 2 Tablespoons white (granulated) sugar 2 teaspoons cream of tartar (important) 1 teaspoon baking powder 1 teaspoon baking soda ½ teaspoon salt ½ cup softened salted butter (1 stick, 4 ounces, ¼ pound) 2 large eggs, beaten (just whip them up in a glass with a fork) 1 cup unflavored yogurt (8 ounces) 1 cup sweetened dried cranberries (Craisins, or their equivalent) ½ cup whole milk Use a medium-size mixing bowl to combine the flour, sugar, cream of tartar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Stir them all up together. Cut in the salted butter just as you would for piecrust dough.   Hannah’s Note: If you have a food processor, you can use it for the first step. Cut ½ cup COLD salted butter into 8 chunks. Layer them with the dry ingredients in the bowl of the food processor. Process with the steel blade until the mixture has the texture of cornmeal. Transfer the mixture to a medium-sized mixing bowl and proceed to the second step.   Stir in the beaten eggs and the unflavored yogurt. Then add the sweetened dried cranberries and mix everything up together.   Add the milk and stir until everything is combined.   Drop the scones by soup spoonfuls onto a greased (or sprayed with Pam or another nonstick baking spray) baking sheet, 12 large scones to a sheet. You can also drop these scones on parchment paper if you prefer.   Once the scones are on the baking sheet, you can wet your fingers and shape them into more perfect rounds. (If you do this and there are any leftovers, you can slice them in half and toast them for breakfast the next morning.)   Bake the scones at 425 degrees F. for 12 to 14 minutes, or until they’re golden brown on top.   Cool the scones for at least five minutes on the cookie sheet, and then remove them with a spatula. Serve them in a towel-lined basket so they stay warm.   Yield: Makes 12 large and delicious scones.” 1 likes
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