Chocolate Chip Cookie Murder is the first of Joanne Fluke’s delectable murder mystery series featuring amateur sleuth and cookie store owner Hannah Swensen. The series is set in Lake Eden Minnesota, where Hannah was born and raised. When Hannah isn’t baking and selling cookies or stumbling upon a murder, she is dealing with her lovable but meddling mother and sister or spending time with her two equally wonderful boyfriends, Norman (the dentist) and Mike (the police officer). Full of humor, intrigue and great recipes, the Hannah Swensen Mysteries are a must-read for any lover of cozy mysteries.

Bubby: So I will just get this out there before Sissy has a chance to spread vitriol about my Friday Favorites pick. Yes, it is another cozy mystery – book after book of random dead people in a little town, totally statistically unlikely and unbelievable and why wouldn’t Hannah move to someplace safer already! I don’t care. I like cozy mysteries. It’s supposed to be fictional – it’s o.k. if it doesn’t seem plausible. Yes, it’s another book/series featuring food and/or chocolate. Yep. I like food. Especially chocolate food. I like books about people who make food. Deal with it. Yes, it’s another strong female lead. And? Is there a problem with that? I don’t think so! The Hannah Swensen Mysteries are GREAT READS. I don’t care what stinky Sissy says. Now I am done. Sissy, do you care to rebut?

Sissy: Speaking of butts, someone has a burr up theirs today. Since you’ve ruined all chances for my witty commentary about your ridiculous obsession with foodie cozy mysteries I’ll just say yep. I’ve read them. They are readable. People die a lot. People eat a lot and don’t get fat. That really bugs me because if I eat a lot I gain a lot of weight.

Bubby: Readable? That’s the best you can do? They are funny. Entertaining. The characterizations are excellent – tell me you don’t love the interaction between Hannah’s mom (a beautiful well-kept widow who knows best about everything) and Norman’s mom (also a widow who meddles a lot in her children’s lives)! What about the relationship between Hannah and her sisters? And Hannah and Mike and Norman? Epic.

Sissy: A bunch of tall Swedes who eat a lot and don’t get fat. And talk about food and put the recipes for their food in their book when I am trying to live a whole and non-processed food lifestyle.

Bubby: Who has a burr where?

Sissy: I am also tired of the love triangle between Bessie, Norman and Mike. What’s her name? Should be Crumbcake. That’s how I think of her. Anyway, Norman is stable and committed and responsible AND has chemistry with HannahCrumbcake. But she can’t choose between him and dangerous, player bad-boy Mike. Duh! Are we 15? You can tell that I have an interest in these characters and their stories are well written, so I’ll give you that.

Bubby: I have to admit, I do think she should just marry Norman and get on with life. But Mike is seriously yummy and a good kisser and, well, sometimes it’s hard to choose between oatmeal raisin and double fudge. Oatmeal raisin is better for you and tastes good but sometimes double fudge is all you want. Or two double fudge. Or three. (Unlike Sissy I find that cookies fit quite nicely into my whole and non-processed food lifestyle). I enjoy Joanne Fluke’s detailed descriptions of small town life. Having grown up in a ridiculously small town myself, I can relate!

Sissy: Bubby has been feeding me (get the pun?) these books for years now so yes, I am invested in the series. They are fun to read, fluffy, entertaining and don’t make me have to ponder my purpose in the universe, which is a good thing sometimes. The covers are big pictures of delectable desserts which is not necessarily a good thing, depending on my state of mind. Like last night. When I had a sudden, intense craving for something carb and sugar laden. But I ate some protein instead. Wouldn’t it be nice if Hannah Swensen had a side business of colorful organic veggies? On the cover?

Bubby: I see that someone has missed lunch and is experiencing irritability due to low blood sugar. Evidently the beef jerky that Sissy stole from my pantry an hour ago has worn off. Suffice it to say that whatever your personal nutritional philosophy, you will enjoy these books. If you are on a fitness and diet kick, as many are at this time of year, then read them for the mystery and humor aspect. If you are extending the holiday sugar and fat overload, then read them for the recipes. Either way, the Hannah Swensen Mysteries by Joanne Fluke are winners. I rate them 4 stars overall.

Sissy: Righto. 3 bubbles (but only organic, whole-grain, protein-rich bubbles) from me.

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