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Red Velvet Cupcake Murder (Hannah Swensen #16)

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3.66 of 5 stars 3.66  ·  rating details  ·  4,957 ratings  ·  662 reviews
This summer has been warmer than usual in Lake Eden, Minnesota, and Hannah Swensen is trying to beat the heat both in and out of her bakery kitchen. But she's about to find out the hard way that nothing cools off a hot summer day like cold-blooded murder. . .
It's a hot, muggy evening, and the last thing Hannah wants to do is squeeze into a pair of pantyhose for the Grand O
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Hardcover, 322 pages
Published February 26th 2013 by Kensington (first published January 1st 2013)
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Read It and Weep by Jenn McKinlayHeirs and Graces by Rhys BowenCity of Darkness and Light by Rhys BowenRenatus by John A.   SaundersThe Dead in Their Vaulted Arches by Alan Bradley
New 2013-14 Mysteries to Snuggle Up With
13th out of 178 books — 129 voters
One for the Money by Janet EvanovichChocolate Chip Cookie Murder by Joanne FlukeAbby Cooper, Psychic Eye by Victoria LaurieThe No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency by Alexander McCall SmithMurder at the Vicarage by Agatha Christie
Best Cozy Mystery Series
396th out of 1,088 books — 1,291 voters


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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Marian
Hunh. A quick review of other reviews leaves me a bit confused. Normally I'm right there, leading the pack of fans clamoring for Hannah to pick Mike or Norman (or dump them both) but this time around I don't think it really mattered to the plot.

I enjoy the Hannah mysteries because I like most of the characters, I'd love to work at The Cookie Jar, and there's usually a recipe or two I want to try. They're fluffy reads and there's no shame in that.

The plus with mysteries is that if the series goes
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Jennifer
Well...another murder in Lake Eden...another struggle between Mike and Norman. It's getting old. I was a huge fan of this series, but after reading 16 of them, I can pretty much predict who is the victim and who is the killer after about the first two chapters. I'll still read them, because they're quick reads and cute, but so dated it almost makes me want to throw the book (or my Kindle) through the window. Why does Hannah always feel the need to cook dinner for Mike? He's got a good job, can't ...more
Melodie
I have had it, had it, HAD IT with this series!! Don't know why I am being so generous by giving it 2 stars! Guess I just can't bring myself to give an old friend 1! 16 books and this beyond stupid "love triangle" is still going on!! And NO ONE is having sex?? C'mon.....I get the general idea that Mike's a "horn dog", if he wasn't getting it from Hannah after all this time, he'd be SO out the door instead of asking her to marry him! And I have no idea in what universe 2 grown men who are suppose ...more
Melanie
Joanne Fluke was the first cozy author I liked. I thought all her books were exciting, fun and familar. I am going to list my pros and cons about the book. I will not continue this series. I am done! I also have to note that my review is not unique. I have read similar reviews, so I hope Mrs. Fluke is listening.

Cons
I am tired of the love triangle! I have had enough. Why doesn't Hannah pick someone? It's been too long. The men are stupid to stick around with no hint of her marrying either one. An
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Lorna
Well, I knew I was in for a wild ride when the book started out with almost a whole page devoted to … wait for it … putting on pantyhose. Yes. The rest is standard Hannah fare except for a new obsession with clichés, which is hilarious because this whole series has become clichéd.
I’m beginning to think Kensington must pay by the word. I can think of no other reason why she constantly uses ten words where she can use three, especially in the recipes. My daughter once had a science assignment wher
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Tamara
The Triangle that will not end. Hannah finds a body. Hannah solves the murder. Hannah wears pantsuits and pantyhose. Hannah and Andrea have these long exciting convos: "Hi Hannah. Hi Andrea. And the back and forth continues.

It's not bad, per se. It's just not even half as good as it used to be.
These books are library books from now on.

My review: Traveling With T
Mae
I find the first few pages to be rather slow and annoying because (Shocker!) the man is Hannah's room is her cat, which if you've been dedicated to the series and read all the books (this is book 16) you'll immediately know. I have no clue why Fluke wrote the first chapter all about panty hose, since it's rather dull and I ended up skimming the chapter. Honestly, describing the ways to put them on? It's as if she needed to reach her quota, so she wrote chapter one.

Hannah (naturally) finds the bo
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Kavita
This REALLY is literally one of the worst books I have ever read. I had been waiting to read one of the books from this series for a long time now since they had a good rating. But there isn’t one single good thing about this book!

First of all, my main problem is the misogyny in this book. The detective keeps berating herself for being a few kilos overweight. Everyone is having liposuction and filling their faces with Botox. WTF! The villainous women are made to talk like some sexy vamp of the
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Karen Blinn
Hannah Swenson and her bakery have returned to solve another murder in Lake Eden, Minnesota. The book begins at the grand re-opening of the Albion Hotel, now converted into condominiums, that Hannah's sister, Andrea, is trying to sell. The party screeches to a halt when a party-goer plummets off of the roof of the hotel. Then, Dr. Bev, Norman's former fiance, arrives back in town to move into the penthouse. (She is supposedly going to marry the developer.) Of course, the love triangle of Hannah ...more
Jane Cray
The murder plot itself was good but Hannah is on my nerves. What is her attraction for these two guys? She can cook? She smells like cookies? Not to say that all my heroines have to be perfectly beautiful but she sounds pretty unattractive most of the time. Also I felt like the text was padded out with too much extraneous detail--seriously almost a whole page on her not charging her cell phone....again...and she has chargers two different places...and notes to remind her...and blah, blah, blah. ...more
Erin
Joanne Fluke was the first cozy author I liked. Heck she was the first author to introduce me to the 'cozy' genre. And actually, she's the only author I stuck with having given up on Diana Mott Davidson long ago (and very short into the series). I enjoyed this series for a very long time even though each book was pretty much the same and the writing started getting simpler and simpler. I tried to stick with it though, which brings us to now.

Another reviewer wrote: I am tired of the love triangle
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Joanna Warrens
I was sent an advanced copy by Kensington and it was a perfect Saturday afternoon read. I have read almost all of this series and enjoyed them. This is a pretty standard cozy but the recipes set them apart. Fluke provides a lot of recipes and for a culinary cozy reader it's a standout.
Nancy Narma
“A Cozy Filled With Mystery, Murder and Surprises”

If you enjoyed Ms. Fluke’s “Cinnamon Roll Murder”, you’re going to be over-the-top thrilled with this action-packed volume. Lake Eden is all abuzz with excitement as the Grand Opening of the poshly- renovated Albion Hotel is about to begin—complete with eye-popping condos and a jaw-dropping, bank account draining penthouse fit for a king, complete with a domed tropical rooftop garden and
breathtaking view. Owner, Roger Dalworth (From the “Cities”)
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Tamara
This is the sixteenth installment of this long series, although it certainly has felt even longer. And the biggest, most evident theme throughout all of these books - more than Swedish Plasma, more than cats, more than her bizarre penchant for randomly italicising sentences, more even than baking and cookies and eating - is Joanne Fluke's masterful flair for self-preservation. She has figured out that keeping Hannah torn between two lovers, as it were, will keep bringing readers to each new book ...more
Lisa Elizabeth
I think it's time this series was laid to rest. When you can figure out the murderer and the victim really early, you need compelling characters and relationships to make the read worthwhile.

Unfortunately, these characters are just frustrating. A 30something woman with 2 boyfriends for 2 years, both of whom have proposed, and yet neither has ever spent the night? No indication of anything beyond kissing? It's a bit ridiculous.

Love triangles are good tension builders, yes, but there is absolutely
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terpkristin
I've been in a reading funk lately. This book might have been exactly what I needed to snap out of the funk, to get ready for my next big read in early March.

A light, fluffy mystery book with a little bit of thriller aspect, this book is exactly the type of thing I turn to when I want to read something (instead of say, watching TV) but don't want to have to think too much. I eat these like popcorn and they mostly lump into the category of "Beach books" for me (i.e. books I'd read while relaxing
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Ashland Mystery Oregon
Joanne Fluke's latest Hanna Swensen mystery, Red Velvet Cupcake Murder was a sweet, simple surprise this Valentine's Day. In the middle of a complex work week, Red Velvet Cupcake Murder arrived in the mail to calm my mind and delight my soul. And the wonderful recipes tease my palate!

My delight was unexpected and I didn't realize how much I needed the quick escape into a light read complete with loving friends and family, a bit of romance, an uncomplicated plot and no blood, gore or terror. Ther
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Tonia Dempsey
{Almost} A Comeback...

I'll admit I was excited for this book to come out just to see how ridiculous it would be. I've read the series from the beginning and really enjoyed it at first, but then it just started going down hill, as you will see from some of my other reviews. After the last book, I had no idea what to expect with Red Velvet. But, to my complete surprise, I actually enjoyed this latest installment. I liked the mystery and the storm-filled ending and also enjoyed the fact that Hannah
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Darcy
I started out reading/listening to the audio version of the book and it was horrible! The narrator did not do anything to help out this series that needs to end. I hate to say it, but it is time for Hannah to keep finding dead bodies, for everyone in town to depend on her to solve the crime (doesn't bode well for the police force), and most especially for her to pick between Norman and Mike. I am actually getting tired of all of that, but most especially the triangle between the three of them. I ...more
Kwoomac
I blame myself for this one because I knew what to expect and I went there anyway. Admittedly, I generally like the formula of books with recipes. Snoopy girl runs a bakery and gets caught up in the many murders that take place in her quaint little town. There is often lots of talk about food, which I like, followed by a recipe. Some of the cake and cookie recipes seemed fine ( although I'm not really into sweets) but I was not happy with other foods our heroine cooks. There's some kind of pasta ...more
A Well Read Woman (April)
All Hannah Swenson wants to do is bake and deliver red velvet cupcakes for the grand opening of a refurbished hotel. However, Hannah gets herself embroiled into yet another mystery when one of the party-goers, (the sheriff's secretary), is either pushed/or jumps from the rooftop of the hotel. To make things even worse, Hannah's long time rival Doctor Bev is back, and in attendance at the party...

Everyone is preoccupied with solving the mystery, except Doctor Bev, who is preoccupied with getting
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Katie Bee
I am laughing out loud reading some of these reviews. I agree with all of the criticisms, especially that ummmm HELLO Joanne Fluke it's 2013. I think Joanne Fluke might be a total weirdo... I honestly had to double check when this book was written because I couldn't believe it was written after 1990! I read a couple of the older Hannah Swensen books and they're still talking about TAPING things on TV. Really... do they even sell VHS's anymore? And the idiots in this town don't know how to use th ...more
Andrea
The Hannah Swensen murder mysteries are set in a small Minnesota town, and Fluke spends a lot of time developing her characters and describing the little town she lives in. I really like that her murders are never gory (I don't care to read a graphic description of someone else's pain and fear).

However, if you're going to create a mystery series that is more about the characters than the actual murder, then those characters have to be engaging and "real". And that's the problem with these books
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Dale Harcombe
At the time of reading this I wanted something light after a few heavy novels. This filled the bill. It is a cosy mystery with a likeable main character in Hannah, who not only bakes but solves crimes. But this time it is Hannah that is accused of murder. Will she be able to prove her innocence and what will this do to her relationship with Mike the police officer and friendships with others in town?
If you like cosy mysteries, which I only occasionally read, you should enjoy this. A bonus is a n
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Shirley Schwartz
I think this book will be my last Hannah Swenson book. I've been noticing that the story quality is going downhill in the last few books. I used to really like these books and I loved Hannah and her madcap family and friends, but now not so much. Nothing seems to go anywhere in these books. For example Hannah still hasn't made a choice between Norman and Mike. What real grown men would put up with that situation for years and years? And there are quite a few holes in the plot in this book. I don ...more
Sharon Chance
Joanne Fluke takes her readers on a whirlwind of mystery solving in her latest Hannah Swenson Mystery, RED VELVET CUPCAKE MURDER. This time around, bakery shop owner/amateur sleuth Hannah solves not just one, but two murder mysteries that have turned the small town of Lake Eden upside down. Fast-paced and lively, this charming story has the intrigue of mystery and the deliciousness of out-of-this-world recipes that fans so look forward to each time.

This is the 18th book in Joanne Fluke's series,
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Kate
This is my favorite cozy series and although the love triangle bothers me a bit, there is enough movement with the other characters and the series as a whole is just so good that it doesn't matter as much to me. I really liked this installment and thought the ending was exciting and a bit scary, just like it should be! It also made things even clearer about who Hannah belongs with and I do hope she'll make her choice soon, as the answer is so obvious it's a bit ridiculous. The news at the end ha ...more
Andrea Guy
Red Velvet Cupcake Murder is book 16 in the Hannah Swenson Mystery series. I have to admit, I read these books for the recipes and I'm never disappointed. I wish the same could be said for Hannah and Co.

After 16 books there's still a love triangle between Hannah, Norman and Mike. I think it is time for her to make a choice. I'm Team Norman, because I think Norman is just the nicer of the two guys..but that's just me.

I've never quite understood the chasteness of Hannah either. I could possibly ac
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Arow
First Read: March 5th to 8th, 2013 - 3 stars
Second Read: March 7th to 10th, 2015 - 4 stars

What can I say? I truly am a fan. I know they are not the best books but there is something about Hannah Swensen that I just love and can't wait to get my hands on the next book in the series.

Red Velvet Cupcake Murder does not let us down. It is filled with the same old love triangle, along with the silly family dynamics we have grown to love and expect and let’s not forgot about the unsolved murder to fig
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Ariel
It was easy to realise who the murderer was as you go along the book. And the few long-standing annoyances of this very very long series still exist.

Despite her half-hearted protests, Hannah is still happy to be a 'bologna' in the Mike and Norman sandwich (her words, not mine). Isn't it obvious by now that she's a commitment-phobe who prefers the company of her cat?

Everyone else has moved on and grown in this series - Andrea has two kids now and is learning to enjoy baking, Lisa married Herb, a
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The Women's Myste...: #18 Red Velvet Cupcake Murder 1 13 Aug 09, 2013 11:27PM  
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18819
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
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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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“GUAC AD HOC   Hannah’s 1st Note: This is Howie Levine’s guacamole recipe. He’s Lake Eden’s most popular lawyer. 2 ounces cream cheese 4 ripe avocados (I used Haas avocados) 2 Tablespoons lemon juice (freshly squeezed is best) 1 clove garlic, finely minced (you can squeeze it in a garlic press if you have one) cup finely chopped fresh oregano leaves 1 Italian (or plum) tomato, peeled, seeded, and chopped 4 green onions, peeled and thinly sliced (you can use up to 2 inches of the green stem) ½ teaspoon salt 10 grinds of freshly ground pepper (or tea spoon) ½ cup sour cream to spread on top Bacon bits to sprinkle on top of the sour cream Tortilla chips as dippers Howie’s Note: I use chopped oregano because Florence doesn’t always carry cilantro at the Lake Eden Red Owl. This guacamole is equally good with either one. Heat the cream cheese in a medium-sized microwave-safe bowl for 15 seconds on HIGH, or until it’s spreadable. Peel and seed the avocados. Put them in the bowl with the cream cheese and mix everything up with a fork. Mix just slightly short of smooth. You want the mixture to have a few lumps of avocado. Add the lemon juice and mix it in. It’ll keep your Guac Ad Hoc from browning. Add the minced garlic, chopped oregano leaves, tomato, sliced green onion, salt, and pepper. Mix everything together. Put your Guac Ad Hoc in a pretty bowl, and cover it with the sour cream. Sprinkle on the bacon bits. If you’re NOT going to serve it immediately, spread on the sour cream, but don’t use the bacon bits. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate it until time to serve. Then sprinkle on the bacon bits. (My bacon bits got a little tough when I added them to the bowl and refrigerated it. They were best when I sprinkled them on at the last moment.) Hannah’s 2nd Note: Mike and Norman like this best if I serve it with sliced, pickled Jalapenos on top. Mother won’t touch it that way. Yield: This amount of Guac Ad Hoc serves 4 unless you’re making it for a Super Bowl game. Then you’d better double the recipe.” 1 likes
“TICKLED PINK LEMONADE COOKIES   Preheat oven to 350 degrees F., rack in the middle position. Hannah’s 1st Note: This recipe is from Lisa’s Aunt Nancy. It’s a real favorite down at The Cookie Jar because the cookies are different, delicious, and very pretty. ½ cup salted, softened butter (1 stick, 4 ounces, ¼ pound) (do not substitute) ½ cup white (granulated) sugar ½ teaspoon baking powder ¼ teaspoon baking soda 1 large egg, beaten cup frozen pink or regular lemonade concentrate, thawed 3 drops of liquid red food coloring (I used ½ teaspoon of Betty Crocker food color gel) 1 and ¾ cups all-purpose flour (pack it down in the cup when you measure it) In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat the softened butter with the sugar until the resulting mixture is light and fluffy. Mix in the baking powder and baking soda. Beat until they’re well-combined. Mix in the beaten egg and the lemonade concentrate. Add 3 drops of red food coloring (or ½ teaspoon of the food color gel, if you used that). Add the flour, a half-cup or so at a time, beating after each addition. (You don’t have to be exact—just don’t put in all the flour at once.) If the resulting cookie dough is too sticky to work with, refrigerate it for an hour or so. (Don’t forget to turn off your oven if you do this. You’ll have to preheat it again once you’re ready to bake.) Drop the cookies by teaspoonful, 2 inches apart, on an UNGREASED cookie sheet. Bake the Tickled Pink Lemonade Cookies at 350 degrees F. for 10 to 12 minutes or until the edges are golden brown. (Mine took 11 minutes.) Let the cookies cool on the cookie sheet for 2 minutes. Then use a metal spatula to remove them to a wire rack to cool completely. FROSTING FOR PINK LEMONADE COOKIES   2 Tablespoons salted butter, softened 2 cups powdered sugar (no need to sift unless it’s got big lumps) 2 teaspoons frozen pink or regular lemonade concentrate, thawed 3 to 4 teaspoons milk (water will also work for a less creamy frosting) 2 drops red food coloring (or enough red food color gel to turn the frosting pink) Beat the butter and the powdered sugar together. Mix in the lemonade concentrate. Beat in the milk, a bit at a time, until the frosting is almost thin enough to spread, but not quite. Mix in the 2 drops of red food coloring. Stir until the color is uniform. If your frosting is too thin, add a bit more powdered sugar. If your frosting is too thick, add a bit more milk or water.” 1 likes
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