Pop Culture Princess

Pop Culture Princess
especially welcome to extensive readers

Monday, July 12, 2021

Starting my sweet summer Series-ous Reading time with a plate of Red Velvet Cupcake Murder

 It's been awhile since I've been in Hannah Swensen country,so to speak, so to begin my summer session of Series-ous Reading, it felt right to pick up Red Velvet Cupcake Murder by Joanne Fluke.

Set during the month of June, the biggest event in Lake Eden is the opening of a luxury condo development funded by wealthy scion Roger Dalworth, who has Hannah's realtor sister Andrea setting up the reception and showing everyone the major renovations to the place.

Hannah is asked to serve her latest culinary hit, the title cupcakes, and while all assembled seem to be having a great time, a sudden storm followed by a shocking fall from the balcony of the penthouse quickly dampens the mood. Fortunately, the person who fell,Barbara Donnelly, is alive yet sadly, is injured enough to warrant a hospital stay until her memory improves. 

With Barbara insisting that her brother(who doesn't exist as far as anyone knows) threw her off the balcony, Hannah has a new mystery on her hands which takes her away from the Cookie Jar kitchen briefly but not long enough to enjoy the ready sweet success the business is having:

What is unsettling Hannah even more is the news that Doctor Beverly Thorndike(aka Doc Bev), her former rival for dentist and occasional beau Norman, is back in town and the fiance of Roger Dalworth to boot!

Being engaged to one of the richest men in the area isn't enough for her as Doc Bev sets her sights on Norman once again. She's not subtle about her intentions either, from taking him for a spin in the fancy new Maserati that her current love interest brought her to flaunting her presence in town in front of Hannah and friends when arriving in person to pick up an order of those special red velvet cupcakes.

Dealing with Doc Bev is hard for Hannah but she's willing to be the better person in this situation and that notion is put to the test in a deadly way all too soon. While making a delivery run, Hannah notices that a car went into the lake and the unconscious driver is Doc Bev!

 Hannah doesn't hesitate to jump in and rescue her but despite those efforts, Doc Bev is gone for good . To make  matters worse, Hannah's other part time boyfriend, police detective Mike, considers Hannah the prime suspect after an autopsy reveals that Doc Bev was poisoned and her last meal was , you guessed it, those particular cupcakes. Obviously, she's innocent but Mike has this annoying habit of being all by the book when it comes to crime solving(a standard that doesn't appear to apply to his love life there!).

So, Hannah has to prove that she didn't do it as well as figure out what happened to Barbara, not to mention fix a situation left over from the last book(Cinnamon Roll Murder)-not too much on her plates is there,folks? Personally, I'm not sad to see Doc Bev get taken out of the picture. 

She was such a nasty person to begin with and the whole fight over Norman deal was starting to get a little too much "The Boy is Mine"-don't get me wrong, Norman is a great guy worth fighting for but Hannah should have a better reason to appreciate him than another woman on the scene:

Nonetheless, it was good to meet up with Hannah again and while the various mysteries crisscrossed quite a bit, the story and well known characters were still  compelling enough to hang out with. 

Turns out that this is a good time to get reacquainted with the residents of Lake Eden as the Hallmark Movies & Mysteries channel is planning to air another Murder She Baked adaptation this summer!

Based on the book Cream Puff Murder, this installment is entitled Sweet Revenge where Hannah has to solve a murder at her local gym just before her wedding to Mike starts(I know she doesn't marry Mike in the books but rest assured, some fans will be happy to see them walk down the aisle). It sounds like light hearted summer viewing fun to me: 

In the meanwhile, the next summer serving in my Culinary Cozy Feast is from Barbara Ross with Clammed Up.

The first entry in her Maine Clambake Mysteries introduces us to Julia Snowden, who goes to her seaside home town of Busman's Harbor to help the ailing family business out. Thanks to her brother in law Sonny, the Snowden Family Clambake is deeply in debt with lackluster summer time attendance making it all the more difficult to keep the family financially afloat.

As a way to increase business, Julia expands their culinary services by catering events. Unfortunately, the first big outing is a wedding which comes to a quick end upon discovering the best man hung out to gruesomely dry at the family island venue!

Between that awful incident and a fire set during regular service, Julia finds herself taking up detective duties to not only save her business but perhaps a couple of lives as well. I'm not much of a seafood person yet the descriptions of the clambake are tempting indeed. I do look forward to sampling more of this series both in and out of the summer season there:

No comments: