Banana Cream Pie Murder (Hannah Swensen Series #21)

Banana Cream Pie Murder (Hannah Swensen Series #21)

by Joanne Fluke

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Overview

Banana Cream Pie Murder (Hannah Swensen Series #21) by Joanne Fluke

A romantic seven-day cruise is the perfect start to bakery owner Hannah Swensen’s marriage. However, with a murder mystery heating up in Lake Eden, Minnesota, it seems the newlywed’s homecoming won’t be as sweet as anticipated . . .
 
After an extravagant honeymoon, Hannah’s eager to settle down in Lake Eden and turn domestic daydreams into reality. But when her mother’s neighbor is discovered murdered in the condo downstairs, reality becomes a nightmarish investigation. Victoria Bascomb, once a renowned stage actress, was active in the theater community during her brief appearance in town . . . and made throngs of enemies along the way. Did a random intruder murder the woman as police claim, or was a deadlier scheme at play? As Hannah peels through countless suspects and some new troubles of her own, solving this crime—and living to tell about it—might prove trickier than mixing up the ultimate banana cream pie . . .
 
Features Over a Dozen Cookie and Dessert Recipes from The Cookie Jar!

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781617732225
Publisher: Kensington
Publication date: 01/30/2018
Series: Hannah Swensen Series , #21
Edition description: Reprint
Sales rank: 23,870
Product dimensions: 4.10(w) x 6.60(h) x 1.10(d)

About the Author

JOANNE FLUKE is the New York Times bestselling author of the Hannah Swensen mysteries, which include Double Fudge Brownie Murder, Blackberry Pie Murder, Cinnamon Roll Murder, and the book that started it all, Chocolate Chip Cookie Murder. That first installment in the series premiered as Murder, She Baked:  A Chocolate Chip Cookie Mystery on the Hallmark Movies & Mysteries Channel. Like Hannah Swensen, Joanne Fluke was born and raised in a small town in rural Minnesota, but now lives in Southern California. Please visit her online at www.JoanneFluke.com.

Read an Excerpt

Banana Cream Pie Murder


By JOANNE FLUKE

KENSINGTON PUBLISHING CORP.

Copyright © 2017 H.L. Swensen, Inc.
All rights reserved.
ISBN: 978-1-61773-220-1


CHAPTER 1

Delores Swensen typed THE END and gave a smile of satisfaction as she leaned back in her desk chair. She'd finished the manuscript for her newest Regency romance novel. She was just about to get up and open the bottle of Perrier Jouet she'd been saving for this occasion when she heard a loud crack and she fell to the floor backwards.

For one stunned moment, she stared up at the ceiling in her office in disbelief, unable to move or make a sound. She blinked several times and moved her head tentatively. Nothing hurt. She was still alive. But what had happened? And why had she fallen over backwards?

When the obvious solution occurred to her, Delores started to giggle. The loud crack had sounded when the cushioned seat of her desk chair had sheared off from its base. It was something Doc had warned her would happen someday if she didn't get around to replacing it. And she hadn't. And it had. And here she was on her back, her body effectively swaddled by soft, stuffed leather, barely able to move a muscle.

As she realized that she was in the same position as a turtle flipped over on its back, Delores began to laugh even harder. It was a good thing no one was here to see her! She must look ridiculous. That meant she had to figure out some way to get up before Doc came home. If he saw her like this, she'd never hear the end of it. And she wouldn't put it past him to take a photo of her stuck in the chair, on her back, and show it to everyone at the hospital.

Unsure of exactly how to extricate herself, Delores braced her hands on the cushioned arms of the chair and pushed. This didn't work the way she'd thought it, but it did work. Instead of moving her body backwards, her action pushed the chair forward. The part of her body that Doc referred to as her gluteus maximus was now several inches away from the seat of the chair, far enough for her to bend her legs, hook her heels on the edge of the chair seat and push it even farther away.

She was getting there! Delores pushed with her heels again and the chair slid several more inches away. By repeating this motion and squirming on her back at the same time, she somehow managed to free herself from her cushioned prison and roll over on hands and knees. She got to her feet by grasping the edge of her desk and pulling herself upright. When she was in a standing position, Delores gave a sigh of relief and promised herself that she'd buy a new desk chair in the morning.

Now that she was on her feet again and none the worse for wear, she decided that celebratory champagne was a necessity. She took the prized bottle from the dorm refrigerator Doc had insisted she install in her office, and opened it with a soft pop. Loud pops were for movie scenes. She'd learned to remove the cork slowly so that not even a drop would escape.

Delores set the open bottle on the desk and went to close the window. She liked fresh air and she always opened it when she worked in the office. She was about to close it when she heard a blood-curdling scream from the floor below.

For a moment Delores just stood there, a shocked expression on her face. Then she glanced at the clock and realized it was a few minutes past eight in the evening. The scream must have come from one of Tori's acting students.

The luxury condo immediately below the penthouse Doc had given her as a wedding present was owned by Victoria Bascomb, Mayor Bascomb's sister. Tori, as she preferred to be called, had been a famous Broadway actress. She'd recently retired and moved to Lake Eden to be closer to the only family she had left, her brother Richard, and his wife Stephanie. Unable to completely divorce herself from the life she loved, Tori had volunteered to direct their local theater group, to teach drama at Jordan High, and to give private acting lessons to any Lake Edenite who aspired to take the theater world by storm. If not the richest, Tori Bascomb was undeniably the most famous person in town. Just yesterday, Tori had told Delores that she had won the lifetime achievement award from STAG, the Stage and Theater Actors Guild and she would receive her award, a gold statuette that resembled a male deer, at a nationally televised award ceremony soon.

Delores gave a little laugh. How silly she'd been to forget that Tori gave acting lessons in her home studio! The scream she'd heard was obviously part of an acting lesson. Smiling a bit at her foolishness, Delores reached out again, intending to close and lock the window, but a loud cry made her pause in mid-motion.

"No!" a female voice screamed. "Don't! Please don't!"

Whoever the aspiring actress was, she was very good! Delores began to push the window closed when she heard a sound unlike any other. A gunshot. That was a gunshot! She was sure of it!

The gunshot was followed by a second gunshot, and then a crash from the floor below. Something was wrong! No acting student could be that realistic. This was really happening!

Delores didn't think. She just reacted. She raced for the doorway that led to the back stairway that had been used by hotel employees before the Albion Hotel had been converted into luxury condos. The old stairway had been completely refurbished and accessible exclusively to the penthouse residents.

When Delores arrived at the landing of the floor below, she unlocked the door and rushed out into the narrow lobby that separated the two condos on the floor below the penthouse. She raced to Tori's door and only then did the need for caution cross her mind.

Delores stood there, the key Tori had given her in her hand, and listened. All was quiet inside Tori's condo, no sounds at all. If what she'd heard had been an acting lesson, Tori should be speaking to the would-be actress, critiquing the scene she'd just performed.

As Delores continued to listen for sounds, she considered her options. She'd look very foolish if she unlocked the door and stepped inside to find that Tori and her student were perfectly fine. On the other hand, she could be walking into danger if what she'd heard was a real murder and the intruder was still there. If she called the police before she went in, they'd advise her to wait until they got there. But what if someone needed immediate medical attention?

Delores hesitated for another moment or two and then she decided to knock. She might feel foolish if Tori came to the door and said that everything was fine, but it couldn't hurt to check. She raised her hand and knocked sharply three times.

There was no answer and she heard no rushing footfalls as the intruder hurried to a hiding place. There were no sounds from inside at all. Delores hesitated for another moment and then she made a decision. She reached into her pocket, pulled out her cell phone, and dialed the emergency number for the Winnetka County Sheriff's Station.

"Sheriff's station. Detective Kingston speaking."

Delores took a deep breath. She'd been hoping to contact her son-in-law, Bill Todd, but instead she'd gotten Mike. He was a by-the-book cop and he'd tell her to stay outside the door and wait for him to get there.

"Mike. It's Delores," she said, thinking fast. "Stay on the line, will you, please? I heard a sound from Tori Bascomb's condo and I'm going in to make sure everything's all right."

"Delores. I want you to wait until ..."

Delores unlocked the door with one hand and pushed it open. Then, holding the phone away from her ear so she wouldn't hear Mike's objections, she glanced around Tori's living room. Nothing was out of place, no overturned chairs, no strangers lurking in corners, no sign of anything unusual. But the scream she'd heard hadn't come from the living room. It had come from the room directly below her office and that was the room that Tori had converted into her acting studio.

Delores moved toward the studio silently, holding the phone in her left hand. It was still sputtering and squawking, but she ignored it. As she prepared to open the door, she spotted a piece of artwork on a table in the hallway. It was made of a heavy metal, probably silver, and it resembled a thin but curvaceous lady holding her arms aloft. Delores grabbed it. It was just as heavy as it looked and it would serve as a weapon if the occasion warranted.

The door to the studio was slightly open and Delores peeked in. The focus of the room was the U-shaped couch facing a low platform handcrafted of cherry wood. The platform was one step high and ran the length of the opposite wall, forming a stage for Tori's would-be actors and actresses. The couch served as Tori's throne. It was where she sat to observe her students. Delores had sat there one afternoon and she knew it was made of baby-soft, butterscotch-colored leather. A fur throw was draped over the back of the couch. Delores hadn't asked Tori which particular animals had given their lives to create the fur throw, but she suspected that it had been very expensive and was probably made from Russian sable.

The scene that presented itself did not look threatening, so Delores stepped into the studio. The indirect lighting that covered the ceiling bathed the studio in a soft glow. Delores glanced at the round coffee table in front of the couch and drew in her breath sharply. A bottle of champagne was nestled in a silver wine bucket next to the table and a crystal flute filled with champagne sat on the table next to a distinctive bakery box that Delores immediately recognized. It was a bakery box from The Cookie Jar, the bakery and coffee shop that her eldest daughter owned. The lid was open and Delores could tell that it contained one of Hannah's Banana Cream Pies. It was Tori's favorite pie and she'd told Delores that she often served it when she had guests.

The flute filled with champagne was interesting. Clouds of tiny bubbles were rising to the surface and that meant it had been poured quite recently. Delores knew, through personal experience, that the bubbles slowed and eventually stopped as time passed.

Two crystal dessert plates were stacked on the coffee table, along with two silver dessert forks. It was obvious that Tori had been expecting a guest.

Delores set the phone down on the couch and stared at the coffee table. The puzzle it presented was similar to the homework that her daughters had brought home from kindergarten, a photo-copied sheet of paper with a picture drawn in detail. The caption had been What is wrong with this picture? Something was wrong with Tori's coffee table. What was it?

The answer occurred to Delores almost immediately. Tori had set out two dessert plates and two dessert forks, but only one flute of champagne. That was a puzzling omission. Delores knew that Tori loved champagne and judging by the label that was peeking out of the ice bucket, this was very good champagne. Did this mean that Tori was imbibing, but her anticipated guest was not? Or had Tori filled her own champagne glass and carried it away to drink someplace else in the condo? And that question was followed by an even more important question. Where was Tori?

Delores was dimly aware that hissing and crackling sounds were coming from her phone. Mike was still talking to her, but his words were undecipherable, muffled by the fact she'd placed her cell phone down on the cushions of the couch. Delores ignored it and glanced around the studio again. Her gaze reached the floor near the back of the couch and halted, focusing on that area. The white plush wall-to-wall carpet looked wet. Something had been spilled there.

Delores moved toward the wet carpet. She rounded the corner of the couch and stopped, reaching out to steady herself as she saw a sight that she knew would haunt her dreams for years to come. Tori was sprawled on the rug, a sticky red stain on one of the beautiful silk caftans she wore on evenings that she worked at home.

The stain on the caftan glistened in the light from the tiny bulbs in the ceiling. Delores shuddered as she saw the crystal champagne flute tipped on its side on the floor, its expensive contents now permanently embedded in the plush white fibers. Thank goodness the blood hadn't gotten on the carpet! That could have permanently ruined it. She'd have to give Tori the name of a good carpet cleaning firm so that they could remove the champagne stain.

"Ohhhh!" Delores gave a cry that ended in a sob. Tori wouldn't need the name of a carpet cleaner. Tori would never need anything again. Tori was dead! Her friend was dead!

Tears began to fall from her eyes, but Delores couldn't seem to look away. Her friend's eyes seemed fixed on the ceiling and her mouth was slightly open, as if she were protesting the cruel twist of fate that had befallen her.

"It's okay, Delores. We're here."

The sound of a calm male voice released Delores from her horrid fixation and she managed to turn to face the sound. It was Mike, and he had brought Lonnie with him. They had both come to help her. She wanted to thank them, but she couldn't seem to find the words.

"Lonnie's going to take you back upstairs and stay with you until Michelle comes."

"Michelle's still here?" Delores recovered enough to ask about her youngest daughter. "I thought she was going back to college tonight."

"She was, but she decided to stay until Hannah and Ross get back. I'll be up later to take your statement."

As Lonnie took her arm, Delores began to shake. It was as if she had been hit with a blast of icy winter wind. She leaned heavily on Lonnie's arm as he led her from the room, from the awful sight of the friend she'd never see again, the friend who wouldn't come over for coffee in the morning, the downstairs neighbor who would no longer sit by the pool under the climate-controlled dome in Delores and Doc's penthouse garden, and chat about her career on the stage. Tori would never collect her lifetime achievement award and hear the applause of her peers. Victoria Bascomb's stellar life had ended, and Delores was overwhelmed with grief and sadness.

As she entered the penthouse on Lonnie's arm and sank onto the soft cushions of the couch, another emotion began to grow in her mind. It replaced the heaviness of her sadness, at least for the moment. That emotion was anger, anger that her friend had died in such a senseless manner. How dare someone come into Tori's home and hurt her!

As Delores sat there waiting for Michelle to arrive, she was filled with a fiery resolve. She had to tell Hannah that Tori had been murdered. The moment that Michelle arrived, they had to try to reach Hannah. They needed her and she had to help them. Her eldest daughter would know where to start and what to do. Hannah had to come home to Lake Eden immediately so that they could find Tori's killer and make him pay for the horrible crime he had committed!

CHAPTER 2

Hannah Swensen Barton sat on the balcony of the owner's suite, a chilled glass of champagne in her hand. She gave a happy smile as she watched the sun sink lower in the sky. The gentle lapping of the waves created a rhythm of contentment in her heart and she knew that she'd never felt so joyous and fulfilled. Marriage was wonderful. She loved Ross with every fiber of her being and she truly felt one with him.

At the same time, she was happy to be alone for a few moments, to rediscover herself as a person and not half of a couple. She'd missed her alone time in the early morning, sitting at her kitchen table in her old nightgown, sipping coffee and letting her mind gather the energy to deal with the day ahead.

Early morning and late night were the times that her creative juices flourished, unchecked by the necessity of making conversation. Those were the times when she came up with ideas for new recipes, for improvements she could make at The Cookie Jar, for wonderfully personalized gifts she could make or buy for her family. Of course there were times when solitude was lonely, but she'd been with Ross for every waking moment of their honeymoon. There was no denying that it had been wonderful, but it had also felt just a bit confining, perhaps even ... Hannah stopped herself in mid-thought and attempted to ignore the word that had flashed in her mind. That word was stifling. Not all of the time. Certainly not. But occasionally, she needed some room to think and to breathe.

She took a sip of her champagne. She didn't really want it, but Ross had poured it for her and he'd think that she didn't like it if her glass was still untouched. She rose to her feet, walked to the second bathroom that their butler had called the powder room, and poured half of the champagne down the drain.

On her way back to the balcony, she felt a bit disloyal. Ross had chosen the champagne especially for her. It wasn't that she didn't like it. She did. It was just that she didn't feel like drinking it now, on the last night of their cruise. She wanted to savor every moment, to stock up the memories for later, for after they'd returned to their lives in Lake Eden.

The sun was almost down and it cast a golden path across the sea, a glistening bridge between day and night. Hannah looked up and smiled as she realized the stars were beginning to appear in the sky. They seemed to be bigger and more brilliant out here on the ocean than they ever had in Lake Eden. Going on a cruise was a wonderful adventure and she hoped that they could afford to do it again sometime.


(Continues...)

Excerpted from Banana Cream Pie Murder by JOANNE FLUKE. Copyright © 2017 H.L. Swensen, Inc.. Excerpted by permission of KENSINGTON PUBLISHING CORP..
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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Banana Cream Pie Murder 3.7 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 38 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
There were more recipes than plot. The suspense came at the very end of the book and was not really part of tjhe story. Maybe this was a quickly written book to fill in until the next one.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book was terrible. Why has hannah turned into some suddenly weak woman? Why are the names of everything and everyone repeated over and over? I actually hope ross was murdered and I hope Norman did it. Was this book written for a 5 year old?
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Did not have the epilogue as promised and extra recipe .
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Certainly not as great as the other books in the series
Nate_Stolldorf1 More than 1 year ago
Hannah and Ross are on a beautiful Mexican cruise when they get a message from Delores that she has found the body that of her neighbor Tori Bascomb, sister of the mayor, murdered in her condo. Note: the final 2 pages are amazing! I have loved every single Joanne Fluke book in this series and read them religiously! Starting with Double Fudge Brownie Murder I began getting signed hardcovers because I felt like they brought me closer to Joanne. I stood up for her in every book and balked at all naysayers who gave the books poor reviews. In a nutshell I was disappointed with this story for a variety of reasons. First being Hannah cannot seem to understand sarcasm and scolds anyone who has it. Second being the cell phone, I understand that some people have trouble with a cell phone but Hannah, who is in her 30's, should be able to know if she missed a call or text message. It baffles me that she cannot do that. Third her play to be the most domesticated housewife bothered me it was as though she was turning into Lisa whom I love because she is not Hannah. I feel like Hannah at the beginning of the series would say who is this chick. The last issue was Sally who owns the best hotel and restaurant in town offering Hannah all of her recipes. It never got to me as much as in this book. What restaurant owner gives another person let alone one in the food business their recipes, especially new items on the menu. Every character seems to be a goodie goodie caricature of themselves, very 1 dimensional. I feel like these books have ceased being mysteries and more like cookbooks with a story. We sometimes get a whole page in which Hannah or one of the other characters literally makes the recipe and says every step they are doing and then we get the recipe. I cannot fault the recipes because they are delicious and Joanne Fluke should win an award for this Banana Creme Pie, I made it and it is delicious, but I miss the story and it seems like the pages are really just being filled with fluff, and not the marshmallow kind. If you took out the recipes and the mentions of making the food I bet you might have maybe 15 actual pages.
KrisAnderson_TAR More than 1 year ago
Banana Cream Pie Murder by Joanne Fluke is the twenty-first book in A Hannah Swensen Mystery series. Hannah Swensen is enjoying a honeymoon cruise with her new husband, Ross Barton. It is the last night of the voyage when they receive a message from Delores Swensen, Hannah’s mother. Delores found the body of her downstairs neighbor, Victoria “Tori” Bascomb and she wants Hannah to return home right away (to investigate). Tori Bascomb is the sister of Lake Eden’s mayor, Richard Bascomb. Tori was a retired actress who settled in Lake Eden and provides private acting lessons. Tori also directs the Lake Eden Players and teaches drama at Jordan High School. Hannah and Ross return home the next day and find the whole family waiting for them at Hannah’s condo. As a wedding gift, Hannah’s condo has been completely redecorated (except the kitchen for which Hannah is very grateful). The following day Hannah is ready to get updated on the case and to start sleuthing. Tori was not a well-liked woman which leads to a long suspect list. Hannah is busy questioning suspects and looking into Tori’s movements on the day of her death. Hannah also has to adjust to having a husband. Hannah is used to making her own decisions, but now she must consider Ross (and consult him). When Hannah gets a little too close, the killer strikes back. Join Hannah along with her family and friends in her latest adventure in Banana Cream Pie Murder. I thought that Banana Cream Pie Murder had a good pace which makes it an easy and quick novel to read. Hannah is not her usual confident, independent self in this book. Hannah is used to making her own decisions and living independently. She now has another person to consider. Hannah and Ross rushed into marriage and they never discussed what happens after they are married (like does Ross want children or does he mind Michelle staying in the guest room). Mike and Norman know more about Hannah than Ross (like how Hannah dislikes sweeping). I did not feel any chemistry between Ross and Hannah. I did not like how Hannah is portrayed as technologically incompetent. She cannot figure out how to use her phone (change ringer, get her messages, etc.). Another un-Hannah moment is when Hannah is shopping for pale ale for a beer muffin recipe. Hannah has never purchased lager previously. I would expect Hannah to figure it out on her own (that she just needs to look at the labels) or ask someone in the store. Hannah has never been helpless or a dimwit. Michelle, Hannah’s sister, is the more self-possessed sister in this story (especially since Andrea is MIA). I give Banana Cream Pie Murder 3 out of 5 stars. Banana Cream Pie Murder was more cozy than mystery. Every chapter revolved around the baking, making, or eating of food with recipes at the end of the chapter. The murder investigation does not ramp up until a reader is about 70% of the way through the novel. That is when the author starts introducing the suspects. It does not take much brain power to identify the guilty party. Banana Cream Pie Murder seemed to be written by someone other than Joanne Fluke. Banana Cream Pie Murder is nothing like the earlier books in the series. I did not appreciate the cliffhanger ending. I am hoping, though, that the person involved (spoiler) will get bumped off (a girl can dream). Because of the cliffhanger, I will be reading the next book in A Hannah Swensen Mystery series.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I selected 'below average' because this book doesn't match the quality of the rest of Fluke's Hannah Swensen series, with the exception of the Wedding Cake Murder which was also a disappointment. It almost seems like Joanne Fluke didn't write the book herself. There is a LOT of weak dialog but not much story. Yes, the plot is in there but it's so poorly developed it's difficult to follow. I had to keep reminding myself that it was November in MN and therefore very cold but the weather which normally an integral part of the narrative is almost completely missing from this book. As others have already mentioned, Ross is nearly just a figment of someone's imagination not a fully fleshed out character. I'm on Team Norman, so I'd like Ross to simply disappear into the sunset as we find out that their marriage wasn't valid for whatever reason but he feels really bad and leaves Hannah a pile of money before he flees to some obscure country never to be heard from again. Then after Hannah has a sufficient mourning period she can start dating Norman more seriously. Or maybe, it's all just a very weird dream that Hannah is having because she's been in a coma after one of the murders she's chased hit her on the head. Finally, that pumpkin scone recipe is just weird. I haven't tried it but based on my extensive baking experience the use of a pre-packaged baking mix just doesn't seem quite right.
Calliegh0 More than 1 year ago
I have always been a fan of the Hannah Swensen murder series. Hannah is a small town baker who solves the many murders which take place in her small town. However, I was disappointed in this book. Hannah has returned from her honeymoon but things do not appear to be as they should be. It makes me wonder if the pairing of Hannah with Ross was a decision which the author is regretting. I am definitely not a fan of Ross and find it difficult to follow the storyline with him involved. The newlyweds seem a bit distant to one another. Aside from this unusual situation, I did enjoy the aspects of Banana Cream Pie Murder. Hannah's mother finds the body this time of her downstairs neighbor. Tori has taken over the theater group in Lake Eden. Did someone kill her for her harsh reviews of the actors? Or did someone from her past want her dead? This is the mystery Hannah must solve before the play can go on. I love all of the characters that return. I especially like her sister Michelle who is a talented baker in her own right. I love the recipes in this book. As with other books in the series, the recipes are presented with notes that help when preparing them. I received a copy through Netgalley. I wrote my review on my own.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I like the style with recipes included, but the writing style sometimes bores me at times. I am still stunned by the ending.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
No ending. You have to buy the next book in the series to finf out who dunnit. I don't like that and will not be buying any more.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I have enjoyed all of the Hannah Sweden books!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
On the edge of my seat to find out what happens next love the mystery ending.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Who is this Ross guy? Like, where the heck did he come from and why did Hannah decide to marry him? I honestly wanted her to marry Norman. Definately not happy that she married Ross. But you never know I might grow to like him...
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Very little story. Too many recipes. Dialog boring. Who cares about Ross his character has not been fleshed out so we know or care about the character. Have read most of her other books, this one disappointing.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The last three books in this series haven't been the best. Not too thrilled with the way it's going.
InspirationalAngel531 More than 1 year ago
Title: Banana Cream Pie Murder - Hannah Swenson Mystery Book 21 Author: Joanne Fluke Publisher: Kensington Books Published: 2-28-2017 Pages: 304 Genre: Mystery, Thrillers & Suspense Sub-Genre: Amateur Sleuth, Culinary Mystery; Women Sleuths; Cozy Mystery ISBN: 97817732218 ASIN: B01GBAIXD8 Reviewed For NetGalley and Kensinton Books Reviewer: DelAnne Rating: 3.75 Stars A romantic seven-day cruise is the perfect start to bakery owner Hannah Swensen’s marriage. However, with a murder mystery heating up in Lake Eden, Minnesota, it seems the newlywed’s homecoming won’t be as sweet as she anticipated . . . After an extravagant honeymoon, Hannah’s eager to settle down in Lake Eden and turn domestic daydreams into reality. But when her mother’s neighbor is discovered murdered in the condo downstairs, reality becomes a nightmarish investigation. Victoria Bascomb, once a renowned stage actress, was active in the theater community during her brief appearance in town . . . and made throngs of enemies along the way. Did a random intruder murder the woman as police claim, or was a deadlier scheme at play? As Hannah peels through countless suspects and some new troubles of her own, solving this crime—and living to tell about it—might prove trickier than mixing up the ultimate banana cream pie . . . I can't be the only one wondering what in the world Hannah was thinking when she married Ross. I know we joked about the Mike, Hannah, and Norman sandwich, and when she would choose, but Ross has done nothing to add to her character. She has become a skittish, self effacing, dithering idiot who can do nothing without wondering what would Ross say or do. please. I'm surprised The Cookie Jar is still in operation. She needs to get down on her knees and kiss Lisa's feet for constantly covering for her as she runs around sleuthing instead of working. Now I have ranted let me tell you what I liked. Hannah has returned home so it is understandable when she checks out her mother's friend's murder. We are happy recipients of some great recipes and get to watch as Hannah uses her strange logic to add and remove suspects and comes up with the killer in the end. And guess what Ross disappears in the end and no one knows what happened to him. Maybe he will turn out to be a bad guy who is not really married to Hannah. Without him around we get glimpses of our old Hannah. I miss her. My rating of "Banana Cream Pie Murder" is 3.75 out of 5 stars.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I will admit to being one of those people who was NOT happy that Hannah married Ross. However l decided to read this next installment to see if Ros could either get more interesting or get dead. Well, he chose the former! The Hannah books are fully redeemed, and the cliffhanger ending has me hooked afresh. Sorry for doubting you, Ms. Fluke!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
For next book please
Carstairs38 More than 1 year ago
Honeymoon’s Over – Time for a Murder The last book in the Hannah Swensen series ended with the event longtime fans thought we’d never see – Hannah got married. Banana Cream Pie Murder picks up not too long after this momentous event as Hannah and her new husband are returning from their honeymoon. Unfortunately, while they are gone, Hannah’s mom Delores finds a dead body. When she hears screaming and what sounds like a gunshot from her downstairs neighbor, Tori Bascomb, she goes to investigate and is horrified to find Tori’s body in her acting studio. Tori was a retired Broadway actress who had settled in Lake Eden to be near her brother, the town’s mayor. Of course, when Hannah returns, Delores wants her to find the killer and figure out what is happening. Tori didn’t seem to have too many friends, but she doesn’t seem to have many enemies either. The lack of suspects begin to frustrate Hannah. Will she find anything that points to the killer? Because not too much time has passed since the last time we saw Hannah and the gang, we don’t need too much catch up before diving into the murder. All the talk of food and the various desserts that Hannah is making do still slow down the mystery a bit in the early stages of the book, but the further we go into the story, the more the mystery takes over. I appreciated how the clues were sandwiched in with the red herrings. Yes, I did figure things out before Hannah, but only a few pages. And we get a strong climax. Those who have been enjoying this series for a long time know there are a lot of characters, and I always enjoy spending time with them. In fact, they are a draw of the series. I’m not sure how it would feel jumping in here and not knowing them. The development could be stronger, but that’s a minor issue. And we can’t leave out the recipes. By my count, we get 23 new recipes in this book, including the title recipe as well as orange fudge cookies, salted caramel bar cookies, and peanut butter cheesecake with chocolate peanut butter sauce. Honestly, with all the talk of food in this series, it’s hard to believe all of the characters aren’t very overweight. I know I gain weight just reading about all the delicious sounding food. Hannah’s life takes an interesting turn in this book. I have a feeling this is setting us up for something I’ve been dreading for a few books now, but I hope not. While I am dreading the outcome, I do find the twist presented here intriguing, and I’m curious to see where things go in the next book. At this point in the series, it would be hard for anyone to jump in and fully enjoy what is happening here. However, diehard fans of the series who are interested in the next chapter of Hannah’s life will find checking in with their friends fun when they read Banana Cream Pie Murder.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The only book in the series I did not care for.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I'm not sure if I like the ending.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I love this series but this book fell short in plot. Its like it was thrown together at the last moment. Too much cat story line and recipes. I'm glad Ross is gone.