Raspberry Danish Murder

Raspberry Danish Murder

Thanksgiving has a way of thawing the frostiest hearts in Lake Eden. But that won’t be happening for newlywed Hannah Swensen Barton—not after her husband suddenly disappears . . .   Hannah has felt as bitter as November in Minnesota since Ross vanished without a trace and left their marriage in limbo. Still, she throws herself into a baking frenzy for the sake of pumpkin p...

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Title:Raspberry Danish Murder
Author:Joanne Fluke
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Raspberry Danish Murder Reviews

  • Juli

    Hannah Swensen is still reeling from the disappearance of her new husband, Ross Barton. He disappeared without a trace, leaving no explanation. When Ross' former assistant at KCOW-TV, P.K. Alesworth, is killed after eating poisoned candy that was left on Ross' desk, Lake Eden police start to investigate to find out if Ross might have been the intended victim, Hannah and her crew, of course, decide to also investigate. Turns out, there are a lot of discrepancies in the things Ross told Hannah abo

    Hannah Swensen is still reeling from the disappearance of her new husband, Ross Barton. He disappeared without a trace, leaving no explanation. When Ross' former assistant at KCOW-TV, P.K. Alesworth, is killed after eating poisoned candy that was left on Ross' desk, Lake Eden police start to investigate to find out if Ross might have been the intended victim, Hannah and her crew, of course, decide to also investigate. Turns out, there are a lot of discrepancies in the things Ross told Hannah about his past and his family. She is unsure if Ross is in danger and fled to avoid others getting hurt, or if he's just an outright cad. Was Ross involved in something dangerous? Or did the murderer intend to kill P.K.?

    Well, first off, I am going to say that I enjoyed this book. Raspberry Danish Murder is the 22nd book in the Hannah Swensen series. I've read them all. And I love the characters! I've even baked many of the recipes from the books. :) When I got my review copy, I started reading immediately....and didn't stop until I finished the book. I waited an entire year to find out what the heck happened to Ross so I devoured this book in one sitting. But, I do have to be honest and say that the feel is still a bit off. The last three books in this series seem to be different. The personality and behavior of some main characters are changed. The writing style and dialogue seem to be amateurish at times. The writing is just not up to Joanne Fluke quality. The books just seem.....different. That's the best word I can come up with. Not bad.....different. My best guess is that the new books might be written by a ghost writer. I can't be sure.....but it's just the feeling that I get. This newest book was tweaking my inner editor. There is some poorly written dialogue, overuse of characters' names and cookie names, too much repetition and over-explanation. For example, several times characters discovered new evidence in the case and went to share that evidence with other characters, repeating the entire story about finding said evidence all over again. Or repeating character names within dialogue when it's obvious which character they are addressing. It doesn't seem like natural conversation. Nobody repeats a friend's name over and over again during a casual discussion. That's just poorly written dialogue. Now....did that damage my enjoyment of the story? No, not really. I feel the book could use another edit and some tweaking before publication....but.....it's Lake Eden, Hannah, and all the characters I love from this series I've been enjoying since the first book came out in 2001......I can overlook some issues.

    The mystery mixes the search for information about Ross and the investigation into the murder of P.K. so there is always something going on. There is also a lot of baking and cookie munching, as usual. The crime wrap-up and the ending are a bit abrupt, but the ending does answer a lot of questions. Not all of them, but several important ones. I will be eagerly awaiting the next book!

    Is this book the best in the Hannah Swensen series? No. Is it still an enjoyable read? Definitely! I love this series. I read every book, and I watch the Hallmark movies, despite the fact they don't follow the books. And, I will continue to read this series until it reaches the final book.

    There are lots of yummy recipes included between chapters in this book, as usual. I definitely feel a danish baking session coming on soon! :) Mmmmm....raspberry danish!! But not all of the recipes are for desserts. There is also pizza dip, asparagus rolls and other non-sweets. :) nom nom!

    At the very end of the book, there is an exceprt from Winter Chill, a thriller also written by Joanne Fluke. She has written several suspense/thriller novels. Maybe I can read those novels to tide me over until the next Hannah book comes out!

    **I voluntarily read an advanced readers copy of this book from Kensington via NetGalley. All opinions expressed are entirely my own.**

  • James

    A little over a year ago, I joined NetGalley and Raspberry Danish Murder, the 22nd book in the Hannah Swensen cozy mystery series by Joanne Fluke, was one of the first books I requested. It had just been published, but I was ten books behind in the series. Throughout the last year, I finally caught up and read this one. From what I'd read, given the strange arc the books took a little while ago, it wasn't going to be good. Forgetting the love/romance change, the mystery itself in this book was v

    A little over a year ago, I joined NetGalley and Raspberry Danish Murder, the 22nd book in the Hannah Swensen cozy mystery series by Joanne Fluke, was one of the first books I requested. It had just been published, but I was ten books behind in the series. Throughout the last year, I finally caught up and read this one. From what I'd read, given the strange arc the books took a little while ago, it wasn't going to be good. Forgetting the love/romance change, the mystery itself in this book was very typical and fit well within the boundary or range we've seen from the author.

    Overall, I enjoyed the story. I was sad to see who was killed given (s)he seemed nice in prior books. Sometimes the good ones have to die, I completely understand that as an author of a book series myself. Fluke balanced the past and the present, the known and the unknown in this book trying to find a way to explain how/why Hannah's husband might or might not stick around. That said, it ended with a cliffhanger bombshell that makes us think... are we going back to the way things were four books ago before the proposal? Wow, I can't wait to see. I have the next book ready to read, but I haven't bought the last one yet. I wonder how many more there will be!

  • Barbara

    In this 22nd book in the 'Hannah Swensen' series, Hannah investigates the death of a television station employee. The book can be read as a standalone, but familiarity with the characters is a bonus.

    *****

    Hannah Swenson, owner of 'The Cookie Jar' confectionary in Lake Eden, Minnesota, is a talented baker and experienced amateur detective. As the story opens, Hannah's new husband, Ross Barton, has disappeare

    In this 22nd book in the 'Hannah Swensen' series, Hannah investigates the death of a television station employee. The book can be read as a standalone, but familiarity with the characters is a bonus.

    *****

    Hannah Swenson, owner of 'The Cookie Jar' confectionary in Lake Eden, Minnesota, is a talented baker and experienced amateur detective. As the story opens, Hannah's new husband, Ross Barton, has disappeared, taking nothing but his condominium keys. The police - and Hannah - are looking for Ross, but have no clues as to why he left or where he went. The mystery only deepens when Hannah pays a routine visit to the bank and makes a startling discovery.

    Shortly after Ross vanishes, his assistant at KCOW-TV, P.K. Aylesworth, is poisoned by chocolates left on Ross's desk....which P.K. has been using. The police don't know whether Ross or P.K. was the intended victim, but P.K. is dead - so the official investigation centers on him.

    Hannah and her sister Michelle take up the cudgel as well, and make inquiries about P.K.'s co-workers, family, girlfriend, etc.....to see who might have wanted him dead.

    In between her sleuthing activities, Hannah is running her bakery; testing new recipes with Michelle; having her former boyfriends (and current best buddies) Norman and Mike over to dinner; going to restaurants with Norman and Michelle; worrying about her cat Moishe - who's sleeping more than usual; getting Michelle a reliable used car; manning a cookie booth at the 'Holiday Gift Convention'; and more.

    That's the gist of the story, which takes up about half the book. The other half of the book is composed of recipes - for cookies, pastries, and savory foods (see below). I like recipes in novels, but this book has too many.....and it feels like serious padding.

    I have other issues with the book as well: much of the dialogue is stilted and unnatural; there are excessive descriptions of common things - like traveler's checks, yearbooks, and safe deposit boxes - that most people are familiar with; and Hannah and Michelle would have to be in the gym for half their lives to work off all the cookies they eat.

    Cookies for breakfast; cookies for snacks; cookies for dessert; and frequent cookie-tasting to try out new recipes. This would put the average person into sugar shock! And anyone who drank as much coffee as these folks would never fall asleep.

    My biggest problem, however, is with Hannah's demeanor. Considering that her husband Ross is missing, Hannah is unusually cheerful, happy, and busy.....when I would expect her to be sad, depressed and worried. One could almost imagine that Hannah is happy Ross is gone (and maybe she is 😉).

    This book seems out of sync with previous novels in the series, and I wonder if a ghostwriter was involved. Still, I'd recommend the book to devoted Hannah Swenson fans, and to people interested in the recipes, which sound yummy.

    You can follow my reviews at

    Raspberry Danish

    Cherry Chocolate Bar Cookies

    Pineapple Crunch Cookies

    Light Fandango Cookies

    Mixed Berry Muffins

    Blueberry Shortbread Bar Cookies

    Pineapple Raisin Whippersnapper Cookies

    Ultimate Fudgy Chocolate Bundt Cake

    Upside Down Pear Coffee Cake

    Maple Crunch Cookies

    Sweet and Salty Strawberry Bar Cookies

    Chocolate Cashew Bar Cookies

    Butterscotch Marshmallow Bar Cookies

    Chocolate Caramel Bar Cookies

    Piccadilly Mini Cheese Muffins

    Omelet Squares

    Jambalaya

    Pizza Dip (appetizer)

    Asparagus Rolls

  • Piepie

    Say what you will about these books, but the cliffhanger endings are what saves them. Somehow I have

    to know how this Hannah-Mike-Norman-Ross love "square" ends!!

    I read most of this all in one morning, and... as usual ...there were things that bugged me. Right out of the gate (p. 3), Michelle says, "They were sitting right on top of my warmest winter scarf." Who

    things like that? What is she, twelve?? Some of the language in these books seems stinted and mechanical -- like no one talks

    Say what you will about these books, but the cliffhanger endings are what saves them. Somehow I have

    to know how this Hannah-Mike-Norman-Ross love "square" ends!!

    I read most of this all in one morning, and... as usual ...there were things that bugged me. Right out of the gate (p. 3), Michelle says, "They were sitting right on top of my warmest winter scarf." Who

    things like that? What is she, twelve?? Some of the language in these books seems stinted and mechanical -- like no one talks like that.

    On p. 7 Hannah and Michelle seem confused on how many "ends" comprise a danish. Two. They can both have an "end piece" of the danish. Thank goodness Lisa was there to settle things for them!

    At the top of p. 19 Michelle seems to not know when her mother's (and Doc's) wedding anniversary is. How do you not know when your parent's anniversary is??

    On p. 34 Hannah and Michelle are leaving a restaurant. Michelle says that she's going up to the register to get coffee for the road. FOUR PARAGRAPHS LATER Michelle says that she's going to make coffee when they arrive at the condo. How much coffee do these two need???

    On p. 64 Mike is at the Cookie Jar, and Hannah has a couple of thoughts that almost seem rude about him. She offers him cookies, asking him how many he wants. True to form, Mike says something along the lines of he would eat the whole pan. "I'll give you eight for now," Hannah says, "just ask if you want more." EIGHT COOKIES? Does a typical man usually eat more than eight cookies in one sitting? Does Mike not have diabetes by now, feasting as he so often does on Hannah's cooking??

    Ross has left his car keys (that's a whole other conversation I could have) and in the course of events Hannah decides to buy a car for her sister, Michelle. Hannah is thinking about her bank balance, and the line goes "She might need some or all of that money" if the car she was going to buy cost more than she originally thought.

    of that money? If she spent it all on Michelle's car, what would she have to live on??

    There is what I think is a ridiculous scene concerning Swenson family matriarch Delores on pages 222-223. If I had a mother like Delores, I would want to shoot myself. She can be so rude and obnoxious and thoughtless.

    Tracey, Hannah's niece, makes a few appearances in this installment. Tracey is a precocious child, and she can pronounce the word "consolation," but she can't pronounce "protrusions"??

    Apparently when Andrea, Hannah's other sister, was in high school, she (obviously underage) went to a bar. Telling Mike about it when they were all adults, she made up a "ridiculous" excuse. Who cares what she did as a teenager? Who cares that she basically broke a law when she was younger? Haven't we all done that? Mike couldn't do anything about it at that point. Why lie??

    More questions... Why did Ross give up his car and assets? How does he have so much money? What does he DO???!!!

    Actually, I enjoyed all the food and going-out-to-eat scenes in this book. There are several interesting recipes in

    , including omelet squares, pizza dip, and Piccadilly cheese muffins. Maybe I'll actually make these...

    You'll be able to find me reading the next darn book in this next darn series, because, for some reason, I can't put these down. Bright covers, recipes and food that appeal to any good foodie's heart, and cliffhangers for endings. Quick reads, they're fun, they're fluffy, and maybe one day Hannah will finally end up with the guy who I have in mind for her. #TeamNorman

  • Kim

    Raspberry Danish Murder was better than the previous Hannah Swenson book but still seems very odd compared to the rest of the series.

    Is there a ghostwriter writing these books now? It seems every character name is overused. I don't remember early in the series Hannah constantly addresssing her sisters or Norman by name in every statement during a conversation like this:

    "If we stop to eat we can have a break Hannah"

    "That sounds good Michelle"

    "I thought so too Hannah" etc. Very stiff and formal d

    Raspberry Danish Murder was better than the previous Hannah Swenson book but still seems very odd compared to the rest of the series.

    Is there a ghostwriter writing these books now? It seems every character name is overused. I don't remember early in the series Hannah constantly addresssing her sisters or Norman by name in every statement during a conversation like this:

    "If we stop to eat we can have a break Hannah"

    "That sounds good Michelle"

    "I thought so too Hannah" etc. Very stiff and formal dialogue.

    Also a lot of repeating the same information over and over and over. As if the reader needs reminding every two paragraphs or so.

    This particular book has Hannah telling Michelle that a character is beginning to develop

    for her. Michelle's response: "You mean you think that he might be falling in love with me?" Oh honey. This just means he may like you as more than a friend, not that he is head over heels in love with you all of a sudden. I kind of feel like the ghostwriter here may be a man, the dialogue between Hannah and any other female in these last 3 books is just too stiff and not at all natural.

    Again this book finds Hannah very upset that Michelle and Mike can eat whatever they like and not Gina weight. When did Hannah get so inwardly nasty? She has some downright nasty thoughts in this book.

    At least we have Hannah realizing she knows nothing about Ross, the man she married. Married! She even admits she didn't question why no one from Ross' family came to the wedding.

    ya think?

    Another example of amateur dialogue: Hannah arrives home to see her answering machine light blinking.

    No, it doesn't. It means five people

    but thirty people could have called. Do we really need a lesson in messages?

    Finally my favorite from this book. Hannah frets that maybe she snores and that's why Ross has left her. Seriously. This is what Hannah Swenson has been reduced to. A dumb ditz that worries her husband had left her with no word because she snores.

    In the end Hannah realizes Ross has lied to her about pretty much everything but she decides to give him the benefit of the doubt because "that's what a good wife would do". Ok Hannah.

    This story was at least better than #21, and thankfully Ross is still gone for most of it. But there is a scene where Hannah's mother Delores accuses her of flirting with Norman while her husband is still missing. A big jump from previous books where Delores was forcing Norman on Hannah in every paragraph.

    I hope that whoever is writing these books gets let go, and we get our old Hannah back. In this book we find out Hannah only has a little over three hundred dollars in her banking account. But if the cookie shop is turning no profit how is Hannah employing Michelle, Lisa, Aunt Nancy and a whole host of others that do work for her while she's out sleuthing for free?

  • Hannah

    Rather interesting characters, but elementary and lackluster writing. In some places the writing is so bad as to be the sort found in chapter books—

    "We have a custard for dessert."

    "Did you hear they have a custard for dessert?"

    "I think I will order the custard for dessert."

    (To other character at table)

    "Did you know they have a custard for dessert?"

    Waitress: "We have an almond custard for dessert."

    "An almond custard. How unique."

    "A very smooth custard."

    "A smooth, almond custard. Yes. I will take

    Rather interesting characters, but elementary and lackluster writing. In some places the writing is so bad as to be the sort found in chapter books—

    "We have a custard for dessert."

    "Did you hear they have a custard for dessert?"

    "I think I will order the custard for dessert."

    (To other character at table)

    "Did you know they have a custard for dessert?"

    Waitress: "We have an almond custard for dessert."

    "An almond custard. How unique."

    "A very smooth custard."

    "A smooth, almond custard. Yes. I will take the almond custard for dessert."

    Repetitive conversation of that sort isn't just elementary, it's unrealistic...no one talks that way! And you really don't have to figure out someone to attribute the quote to when you use a cliche. "My great-aunt used to say..." To her own sister? It's her great-aunt, too.

    Also the emotional responses to things are way unrealistic, and the clues are often entirely by chance. It's a fun and fast-paced read, though! Some of the included recipes look really promising, and Imll be trying them out. Perhaps I'll find a new favorite.

    Thanks to NetGalley for a free review copy.

  • Laurie

    I cannot even with these books any more. They have gotten progressively worse with each one. This book was literally 90% people eating or talking about what they're going to eat, or what they just ate, or how to cook the recipe that appears on the next page. Throw in boringly long pages about random things like how to recycle and scammer phone messages. There was hardly anything about the murder of the week or the investigation into Ross's disappearance, and what did happen, happened off-screen

    I cannot even with these books any more. They have gotten progressively worse with each one. This book was literally 90% people eating or talking about what they're going to eat, or what they just ate, or how to cook the recipe that appears on the next page. Throw in boringly long pages about random things like how to recycle and scammer phone messages. There was hardly anything about the murder of the week or the investigation into Ross's disappearance, and what did happen, happened off-screen so to speak, so we just got a quick blink or you'll miss it sum up. This wasn't a murder mystery, nothing was solved, nothing was explained, it was just a long list of cookies and other assorted foods being eaten.

    I've been firmly #TeamNorman since the beginning, but Mike wasn't even in this book (except when he was eating) and I see no reason why either of them stick around for Hannah other than the food.

    Also, seriously, another cliffhanger ending that comes out of nowhere in a rushed paragraph at the end, which I'm sure we'll have to wait another year for. I doubt I'll be back for it.

    See this review and others on my

    .

  • Anne

    This series jumped the shark awhile back and I just haven't been able to cut the cord though I was seriously going to stop after the last book and the surprise ending. However, curiosity got the best of me. Raspberry begins where #21 left off, but any active investigation by Hannah doesn't really begin until about the half way mark...way too late for a mystery. Prior (and after) we get WAY too much cookie and food talk. Take that away and the book would be a good 60% shorter.

    Hannah has completel

    This series jumped the shark awhile back and I just haven't been able to cut the cord though I was seriously going to stop after the last book and the surprise ending. However, curiosity got the best of me. Raspberry begins where #21 left off, but any active investigation by Hannah doesn't really begin until about the half way mark...way too late for a mystery. Prior (and after) we get WAY too much cookie and food talk. Take that away and the book would be a good 60% shorter.

    Hannah has completely devolved into an idiot, both professionally and personally. How can a store that just sells cookies pay a staff of 6 and it's expenses, especially when Hannah keeps giving the stuff to everyone? Later, we do find out that one of the staff doesn't get paid, so how the heck can she afford to live?!? We saw in the last book that Hannah seems to have lost any self confidence and it's just plain weird. Why? She questions that her husband left her with no word because she snores??? She needs Cher to give her a good slap and a "Snap out of it!" Hannah also comes to the conclusion she may not have known Ross very well at all. Really? You think so when you can't answer basic questions about your husband??? She's also very passive as an investigator until about the 50% mark as I mentioned. She used to be much more proactive.

    We, the readers, are also treated like we're brainless. We have to be told that the fact the telephone is showing the number 5 that there were 5 callers while Hannah was gone? (Actually, that 5 messages were left, could have been more callers.) The characters have to constantly call each other by name so we don't have to keep track of their minimal interaction.

    The actual murder, who did it and why was weak. It was surprising and Hannah did investigate to get the answers, but it made no sense. Given what little we find out about the person who is the reason for the murder (trying not to give spoilers) what that person does makes no sense. We're not given any reason for that person's actions, therefore the murderer's decision to do what he/she does makes no sense. Less than half a page of additional information to flesh it out would have helped.

    What really frosted my cookie is what we and Hannah are informed of at the very end. Without giving any spoilers all I can say is WTF?!? You have to be kidding me. It just doesn't make sense so no spoiler here, I think it's a fake out.

    Chances are I will read the next book only to find out if I'm right (or to see if the series continues on it's insane trajectory into the dumpster) and only if I get the book free again from Netgalley in exchange for my honest review or if I get it from the library.

  • Yolanda

    My favorite line of this book was:

    "And a school yearbook usually contains some student photos."

    I've never seen a school yearbook that didn't contain student photos.

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