I don't believe in guilty pleasures. If you like something, you like it, regardless of how the rest of the world or your own little circle views it. I watch Beverly Hills, 90210 with pleasure and not a hint of ironic detachment. I love Mark Wahlberg's Rock Star. And any novel featuring fairies, werewolves, wizards, or vampires? Bring it on; I may not like it, but I certainly won't feel any guilt if I do. However, if I did believe in guilty pleasures, the novels of Joanne Fluke would fall firmly in that category for me. They're not at all well-written, the plots aren't original, the dialog is wooden, and yet...every now and then, when Ms. Fluke comes out with a new one or, as with Peach Cobbler Murder, I happen to notice it while browsing in the library, I feel an overwhelming urge to visit Lake Eden, Minnesota, where all the adults drink gallons of coffee, all the sex is missionary position, and the worst the bad girls ever do--or at least, the worst we ever know about--is to kiss someone else's boyfriend.
As Peach Cobbler Murder opens one of these bad girls, transplanted southern belle Shawna Lee Quinn, has opened a rival bakery in Lake Eden right across the street from the Cookie Jar. What? I hate her already. As always, the first hundred pages or so set up small town life, reintroducing the reader to the regular characters and their routines and establishing motive for the crime that is to come. And then, finally, there is a murder. And the victim is hardly ever a surprise.
Poor Shawna Lee, nobody much liked her anyway. Certainly not any of the women. And especially not Hannah, since not only has the Magnolia Blossom Bakery been undercutting her business dramatically since it opened, but Shawna Lee has set her sights on Sheriff Mike, as well. If we didn't know better we might think it was Hannah who shot Shawna Lee through the window of her bakery!
But it wasn't, and Hannah and her team of crack amateurs set out to solve the crime--which they do, while eating their way through dozens upon dozens of outrageously delicious sounding cookies. As always, read the recipe names and weep: Desperation Cookies, Chocolate Overload Cookie Bars, German Chocolate Cake Cookies, Rhubarb Custard Cake...and if you ever try any of these recipes, do let me know if they're as delicious as they sound, won't you?