Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Soda, Pop or Soft Drink?

Re: “Strawberry Shortcake Murder” by Joanne Fluke

Hannah is hard at work solving this mystery. One evening her friend and sometimes date, Norman stops over at Hannah’s home to chat.

She asks if he wants something to drink and he says he’ll have a diet soft drink. She smiles and says most people in Minnesota say ‘pop’. Norman has lived on the west coast for many years so he uses a different phrase.

Several years ago when my family was traveling in Montana, we stopped at a restaurant and I ordered a 7-Up. The waitress wasn’t sure what I meant. There they call it: Bubble-Up.

I’m from the Midwest but I usually say I want ‘soda’.

What do you call it? Soda, pop, a soft drink, or something else?

(Stay tuned for more posts about this book).

Monday, June 21, 2010

Pretty, if She Wants to Be

Re: “Strawberry Shortcake Murder” by Joanne Fluke

Mothers want the best for their children. But sometimes moms go a bit too far in trying to help their kids.

Hannah’s mother Delores wants to see Hannah happily married. So she warns Hannah to stop finding dead bodies or all the eligible men will think she’s disaster-prone. Delores also tells her daughter that Hannah can be quite attractive if she sets her mind to it. To that statement Hannah replies ‘Give it a rest, mother’!

Hannah isn’t one to preen over herself in the mirror, unlike her mother. Delores is very careful about her appearance and never goes out in public without being meticulously groomed. And Delores won’t rule out plastic surgery to help her look her best either.

Hannah’s sister, Andrea, takes after Delores in both appearance and grooming. Andrea is petite and slender. Hannah however resembles her late father more, being taller, red-haired and prone to putting on a few extra pounds here and there. Especially since she has to taste-test new recipes for her bakery, The Cookie Jar.

So there have been instances of sibling rivalry in the past between the two sisters. Funny though - each sister felt the other one had the upper hand.

(Stay tuned for more posts about this book).

Saturday, June 19, 2010

“Strawberry Shortcake Murder” by Joanne Fluke

This is the second book in the Hannah Swensen mystery series. Hannah is the owner and operator of a small Minnesota town bakery, The Cookie Jar.

The book opens to find Hannah helping to judge a local dessert baking contest. One of her fellow judges has a dental emergency, so they need a substitute. Boyd Watson, the local high school coach, is chosen.

During the judging, Boyd is none too subtle in his criticism of the desserts. Hannah tells him he could have been a little nicer to the contestants, but Boyd says there is no sense in sugar coating the message - if you don’t come in first, you are a loser.

Boyd is married and unfortunately Hannah has discovered a secret about him - he batters his wife Danielle. Danielle refuses to press charges against him, or leave him. After the bake-off, Hannah receives an urgent call from Danielle - could Hannah please come over to her and Boyd’s home right away?

Fearing Boyd has beaten Danielle again, Hannah fearfully rushes over. Danielle leads Hannah to their garage, where she sees Boyd lying on the floor in the gooey remains of the leftover strawberry shortcake. Hannah thinks the red splotches on the pavement are from the strawberries, but no, it’s blood. Boyd is dead.

Did Danielle kill him in self-defense? Or did a disgruntled bake-off contestant kill Boyd?

(Stay tuned for more posts about this book).

Monday, June 14, 2010

Done with “A Dose of Murder” by Lori Avocato

Ack! Bejeebers! Those are two of Pauline’s favorite expressions and she uses them often while solving her first case of medical insurance fraud.

While inexperienced as a PI, she has lots of experience as a nurse. She obtains a temporary nursing position at a clinic where a lot of fraud has been committed. So she’s able to read medical charts and wonder why MRI’s were billed to the insurance company, but not ordered for the patient.

Unfortunately there are two murders along the way. Even though she is only being paid to work on the fraud case, she vows to find out what happened to the deceased and bring their killers to justice.

Along the way she meets a handsome man of mystery named Jagger. When she asks if that is his first name or his last name, he says it’s “just Jagger”. (Perhaps the author is a Rolling Stone’s fan?)

Jagger won’t tell her who he works for but she thinks it’s the FBI. He always manages to show up wherever Pauline is. And eventually he helps to save her life when her sleuthing leads her into danger.

I bought this book at a library book sale because I thought it sounded interesting. It was, but I didn’t think it was great. We get a lot of Pauline talking to herself - mostly about her attraction to Jagger. There are some other interesting characters too - Pauline’s roommate Miles and Pauline’s co-worker Goldie.

But I will be reading more Pauline Sokol mysteries as I bought several other books in the series. The book covers are colorful and I like that.