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Banana Cream Pie Murder–a little too sweet?

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Banana Cream Pie Murder

by Joanne Fluke

banana-cream-pieI went into this book with the assumption that there would be a recipe for Banana Cream Pie and there was–plus 24 more recipes. Folks in the little Minnesota town of Lake Eden like their food! Most of the recipes sound delicious, and they are highly detailed with helpful tips so that even a novice cook could successfully make each dish. Banana Cream Pie Murder has been described as a “culinary cozy.” I agree but have to add that the emphasis is on food with the mystery playing a supporting role.

I am confused about the reputation of the book and the author. Joanne Fluke is the pen name of a New York Times best selling author. Based on this book, I am not sure why. Banana Cream Pie Murder  is the latest in the Hannah Swensen Mystery Series  which has 23 books. Obviously it has appeal for a certain group of readers. I appreciate a book with no sex or profanity, but this was just too sweet, too gentle. The simplistic dialogue was a model for how kindly we wish people would talk to each other and even think of each other. Unfortunately the civility I long for in today’s society was unrealistically portrayed here.

Banana Cream Pie Murder doesn’t work well as a standalone. Several important characters are a part of this story with the assumption that the reader should know who they are. Looking back in the text, I confirmed that they were never introduced; you just had to have read the previous books. If the author feels that by the twenty-fourth book it is just too redundant to remind the reader of the various characters, then I would suggest a simple listing of recurring characters with name, occupation, and relationship with other characters.

I really am not a fan of this book nor would I have considered reading a sequel to it, but then I got caught. At the very end of the book a new unsolved mystery is introduced, a hook to drag me into the next book. All through this book, I felt little impetus to get to the next chapter to see what would happen. Now I really am anxiously anticipating the development of this new mystery.

I would like to extend my thanks to and to Kensington Books for giving me the opportunity to read this book in exchange for an honest review.

Rating: 3/5

Category: Mystery


1. Joanne Fluke has published additional novels, sometimes under other pseudonyms: 11 suspense, 7 romance novels, and 7 young adult/teen horror.

The reading level of the Hannah Swensen books is low making it a good fit for an adult or teen who struggles with reading.

Four Hallmark movies have been made from the Hannah Swensen Mystery Series.

Publication:  February 28, 2017–Kensington Books

Memorable Lines:

You’d do what you had to do. Everyone’s stronger than they think they are.

Mother thinks chocolate is a food group.

If you weren’t in a hurry, and you stood in an aisle long enough and listened to the conversations that were all around you, you might overhear an important clue.  She would call this phenomenon the “unseen shopper trick.” It was almost as good as the invisible waitress trick, when Hannah and Lisa walked around The Cookie Jar, refilling coffee cups, and their customers didn’t seem to notice that they were there and went right on talking about private matters.


  1. Wendy says:

    Great review. Telling it like it is, without being unkind. Great job.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Tara says:

    I’ll pass on this one. Too sweet can be a bit of a bore. Great review! You’re such a great writer. Everytime I put a post together I’m literally cringing at this thought, “What will my mother think?” I’m doing it right now. Ha!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I stopped reading this series sometime ago. I found most of the recipes unsuited for my home, although I don’t read books for the recipes.

    Liked by 2 people

    • lghiggins says:

      I agree on the recipes. They sounded like something I would take to a potluck in the South, not something I would want to serve at home–too many processed ingredients and too many empty calories.

      Liked by 1 person

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