Life in a small town. It's all so complicated.
Hannah Swensen is the owner of the Cookie Jar, a delightful small town bakery. Hannah dates Norman, the local dentist. Norman and Hannah were once engaged, but due to her fascination with another local boy, Detective Mike, she broke it off. Now she dates both men, in a squeaky clean, crime-solving, sexless way. They don't mind, because they both love her (and her cat Moishe).
Now, Norman's mom, Carrie, and Hannah's mom, Delores, are partners in the local antique shop, Granny's Attic. Lately, Carrie has been blowing off friends and family--breaking dates, not showing up to work, signing up for a small business class and not attending--and everyone's worried. So, Norman and Hannah begin their sleuthing, to determine what's going on in Carrie's life, and to make sure she's not in any trouble.
And, oh yes, round about page 170, there's a murder.
As always, with these coziest of cozies, the murder in Plum Pudding Murder isn't the main thing, nor is the solving of the murder, or the fact that Hannah almost gets killed in the thrilling chase at the end. No, the main thing is small town life and the people who make it that way.
And the food, that's the other main thing.
Ah, the food. Read just the names of these recipes (a mere smattering of the many that appear throughout the book) and tell me that you're not beginning to feel at least a little peckish.
Hot Fudge Sundae Cakes
Orange Julius Cookies
Chocolate Raspberry Truffles
Fudge-Mallow Cookie Bars
Chocolate Chip Pretzel Cookies
How is it possible that every one of the people in these books doesn't weigh 300 pounds? In addition to what she creates at her bakery, Hannah bakes at least one batch of cookies or other tasty treats every single day at home. Every day! And she and all her friends eat them. All of them. Every day!
And how do they ever manage to get any sleep? Now that's a real mystery. The coffee pot goes off on a timer at 3:45 every morning, coffee is drunk constantly throughout the day, and the last pot of coffee is usually put on--and drunk--at 9:30 or 10:00 at night. No wonder there are so many murders--everybody's nerves are constantly a-jangle from all that caffeine.
Here's the thing about Joanne Fluke's Hannah Swensen mysteries. They're light and fluffy and they make you feel good. The writing is sufficient, the plots are okay; it's that darn feel-good factor that keeps me coming back for more. And as far as I'm concerned, that's enough.