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

3.79  ·  Rating details ·  7,260 Ratings  ·  593 Reviews
These days, everyone in Lake Eden, Minnesota, is buzzing with activity, and Hannah Swensen is no exception. But no matter how busy she may be, Hannah can always find time to help a friend in need--especially when he's been murdered. . .Hannah Swensen has to admit that her life is pretty sweet. Things are going well in the romance department, and her bakery's delectable con ...more
ebook, 304 pages
Published February 22nd 2011 by Kensington Publishing Corporation (first published January 1st 2011)
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Apr 29, 2011 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Nov 16, 2012 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
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
Andrea Lyn
Jun 09, 2012 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: listened
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
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
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.
Dec 29, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Jodie Hill
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Apr 14, 2012 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
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
May 31, 2011 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.
Apr 20, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Karen B.
May 22, 2011 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
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
Aug 22, 2010 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2011, mystery
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
Mar 08, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Nov 08, 2011 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2011-audio
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
Apr 29, 2011 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition

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
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
The Lake Eden Sheriffs Office has just been consulted about a jewel heist in Minneapolis. The city police want Bill and his deputies to look out for the stolen items. This is a job for Dolores, since many of the pieces are heirloom antiques. Meanwhile, Rev. Bob and Claire are off getting married and Grandma Knudson receives a welcome surprise; a young man from her past has returned for a visit. Matthew Walters, a Lutheran minister, stayed with the Knudsons for a time when he was a teen. Grandma ...more
Lori McD
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Sara Thompson
Sep 08, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Carly Thompson
Cozy mystery with a strong emphasis on baking. Hannah Swensen is the owner of the Cookie Jar bakery in Lake Eden, MN and an amateur sleuth. In this book in the series, she solves the murder of a visiting pastor found dead in the church office with a piece of devil's food cake.

I found this to be a poorly written book with unrealistic, inane characters. The protagonist, Hannah, was a mix of a 12 year old girl and 85 year old woman despite being in her early 30s. She is both naive and prudish with
Apr 11, 2012 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
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
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jennifer Bloom
Oct 25, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Feb 27, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.
Amy Baehr
Might be one of the dumbest books I've read. Hard to get into, annoying language, annoying characters and the recipes....ugh. I love a nice tidy mystery but this one is not good.
Without the recipes, this would be a short story. Some recipes are OK, but most, just add one new thing, oh a new cookie. The mystery was solved very early. And Hannah can't make up her mind about Norman, but doesn't want any one else to have him.
Feb 01, 2017 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Same ol', same ol'. Hannah is minding her own business and finds a dead body next to a baked good - though not one of hers this time, so that was new. She then investigates the murder, which local law enforcement seems to just accept at this point and ultimately solves the murder. Lather, rinse, repeat.

This particular book seemed to focus more on the food and recipes than the actual murder so it's a quick read if you skip the many pages of recipes (which would be a lot shorter without all of "Ha
Jan 08, 2013 rated it really liked it
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
Feb 21, 2011 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
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Madison Mega-Mara...: #2 Devil's Food Cake Murder 1 2 Jan 09, 2015 06:11AM  
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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 22 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)
“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
“BUTTERSCOTCH BONANZA BARS Preheat oven to 350 degrees F., rack in the middle position.   ½ cup salted butter (1 stick, 4 ounces, ¼ pound) 2 cups light brown sugar*** (pack it down in the cup when you measure it) 2 teaspoons baking powder 1 teaspoon salt 1 teaspoon vanilla extract 2 beaten eggs (just whip them up in a glass with a fork) 1 and ½cups flour (scoop it up and level it off with a table knife) 1 cup chopped nuts (optional) 2 cups butterscotch chips (optional) ***- If all you have in the house is dark brown sugar and the roads are icy, it’s below zero, and you really don’t feel like driving to the store, don’t despair. Measure out one cup of dark brown sugar and mix it with one cup regular white granulated sugar. Now you’ve got light brown sugar, just what’s called for in Leslie’s recipe. And remember that you can always make any type of brown sugar by mixing molasses into white granulated sugar until it’s the right color. Hannah’s Note: Leslie says the nuts are optional, but she likes these cookie bars better with nuts. So do I, especially with walnuts. Bertie Straub wants hers with a cup of chopped pecans and 2 cups of butterscotch chips. Mother prefers these bars with 2 cups of semi-sweet chocolate chips and no nuts, Carrie likes them with 2 cups of mini chocolate chips and a cup of chopped pecans, and Lisa prefers to make them with 1 cup of chopped walnuts, 1 cup of white chocolate chips, and 1 cup of butterscotch chips. All this goes to show just how versatile Leslie’s recipe is. Try it first as it’s written with just the nuts. Then try any other versions that you think would be yummy. Grease and flour a 9-inch by 13-inch cake pan, or spray it with nonstick baking spray, the kind with flour added. Set it aside while you mix up the batter. Melt the butter in a small saucepan over low heat on the stovetop, or put it in the bottom of a microwave-safe, medium-sized mixing bowl and heat it for 1 minute in the microwave on HIGH. Add the light brown sugar to the mixing bowl with the melted butter and stir it in well. Mix in the baking powder and the salt. Make sure they’re thoroughly incorporated. Stir in the vanilla extract. Mix in the beaten eggs. Add the flour by half-cup increments, stirring in each increment before adding the next. Stir in the nuts, if you decided to use them. Mix in the butterscotch chips if you decided to use them, or any other chips you’ve chosen. Spoon the batter into the prepared cake pan and smooth out the top with a rubber spatula. Bake the Butterscotch Bonanza Bars at 350 degrees F. for 20 to 25 minutes. (Mine took 25 minutes.) When the bars are done, take them out of the oven and cool them completely in the pan on a cold stove burner or a wire rack. When the bars are cool, use a sharp knife to cut them into brownie-sized pieces. Yield: Approximately 40 bars, but that all depends on how large you cut the squares. You may not believe this, but Mother suggested that I make these cookie bars with semi-sweet chocolate chips and then frost them with chocolate fudge frosting. There are times when I think she’d frost a tuna sandwich with chocolate fudge frosting and actually enjoy eating it!” 1 likes
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