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Triple Chocolate Cheesecake Murder By Joanne Fluke: Review/Giveaway/Easter Recipe

IN THE April 3 ISSUE

FROM THE 2021 Articles,
andFood Fun,
andMysteryrat's Maze,
andSandra Murphy
SECTIONS

by Sandra Murphy
& Joanne Fluke

This week we have a review of the latest Hannah Swensen Mystery by Joanne Fluke. We also have a fun Easter recipe from Joanne that is in the book. Details at the end of this post on how to enter to win a copy of the book, and a link to purchase it from Amazon and an indie bookstore.

Triple Chocolate Cheesecake Murder: A Hannah Swensen Mystery By Joanne Fluke
Review by Sandra Murphy

Mayor Bascomb likes being a big shot in Lake Eden, ‘pulling strings’ to get friends out of a bind. When that doesn’t work out like he planned, he loses his temper and it’s a fierce one. This time he’s unleashed it on Andrea. She’s Hannah Swenson’s sister, Hannah being the cookie baker in town. Andrea can hold her temper for quite a while, but when Bascomb tells her she’s stupid, that’s the final straw. Hannah and Bascomb’s secretary are waiting in the outer office, and even they can hear the sound of Andrea slapping Bascomb so hard, his office chair overturns.

Bascomb wanted Andrea’s husband to overlook a drunken accident the mayor’s nephew caused. Bill wouldn’t in any case, but there was also a state trooper on hand who witnessed the aftermath. Andrea tried to intercede.

After a cooling off period, Andrea decides to visit Bascomb again and take a slice of Hannah’s triple chocolate cheesecake as a peace offering. Bascomb can’t fire Bill, but he can make their lives miserable. She’s shocked to find Bascomb dead in his office, but the greater shock is, she’s a suspect! Hannah is once again involved in murder.

Since Bascomb was generally disliked, had numerous affairs, and thought he was above the law, the suspect list is long. Will Hannah be able to find the killer once again?

This is book twenty-seven in the series. Hannah is staying at Norman’s house while her condo is being redone. Meanwhile, Michelle is at the condo. Hannah feels like she’s imposing on Norman but when she’s at the condo, she feels more like a visitor than at home. The long running love triangle between Hannah, Norman, and Mike has settled down although Hannah shows no sign of moving forward after the death of Ross.

I found two things annoying. Hannah has internal arguments between her suspicious mind and her rational mind. The other is Andrea is treated as if she’s incapable of doing the smallest tasks. There was no mention this time, but in previous books, you see that she’s a successful realtor. Now the family feels the need to praise her effusively for making a salad for dinner.

Readers will appreciate the opportunity to catch up on all the latest goings on in Lake Eden. Given Hannah’s curiosity, expect the action to keep going.

With Easter orders rolling in, Hannah has plenty of recipes to share—three cheese bacon ball (no bake), Stroganoff light (chicken instead of beef), triple chocolate cheesecake (milk, white, semi-sweet), Easter bunny whippersnapper cookies with mini jellybean toppers, cocktail quiche with puff pastry, chocolate Easter egg cupcakes, Blueberry danish, Easter jellybean nest cupcakes, cream cheese frosting plain, chocolate, or coconut, butterscotch marshmallow bar cookies, ham and spicy mac and cheese, sweet orange pie, whipped orange crème fraiche, also plain, plus a shortcut version, chocolate hazelnut toast cookies, peanut butter crisp cookies, hot cross buns, powdered sugar frosting, deli brunch bake, Easter bunny’s pie squares, hot chocolate and marshmallow cookies, apple shortbread bar cookies, corn salad, Peeps Easter cupcakes, and coconut and cherry-cranberry frosting. There’s also a baking conversion chart converting US measurements to metric and Fahrenheit to Centigrade or British Gas Marks.

Sandra Murphy lives in the shadow of the Arch in St. Louis Missouri. She’s editor for Peace, Love, and Crime: Crime Stories Inspired by the Songs of the ’60s, with twenty-two cozy stories. She also edited A Murder of Crows, twenty-one stories featuring animals and crime (no animals were harmed). She also writes for magazines, newsletters, and the occasional guest blog. Both anthologies are available at the usual outlets, print or ebook.

Easter Bunny Whippersnapper Cookies
From Triple Chocolate Cheesecake Murder by Joanne Fluke

DO NOT preheat the oven yet. This dough needs to chill before baking.

1 cup pecans (buy the bits and pieces of pecan—they’re cheaper than pecan halves)
1 box (approximately 18 ounces) carrot cake mix, the kind that makes a 9-inch by 13-inch cake (I used Betty Crocker)
1/2 cup milk
1/4 cup carrot juice (substitute orange juice or pineapple juice if you can’t find it)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 large egg, beaten (just whip it up in a glass with a fork)
2 cups Original Cool Whip, thawed (measure this—a tub of Cool Whip contains a little over 3 cups and that’s too much!)
1?2 cup powdered (confectioners’) sugar (you don’t have to sift it unless it’s old and has big lumps)easter eggs
Jelly beans to decorate the top of the cookies, 3 jelly beans for each cookie

Use a food processor with the steel blade to chop the pecans into small pieces.

Transfer the contents of the food processor to a small bowl. You will add the nuts to the batter after everything else is mixed.

Pour HALF of the dry carrot cake mix into a large mixing bowl.

Add the milk and mix it in with a rubber spatula.

Add the carrot juice or substitute and mix that in.

Add the vanilla extract and mix that in.

Whip up the egg in a glass with a fork until it is frothy and well mixed.

Add the contents of the glass to the mixing bowl and mix until everything is well combined.

Measure the Cool Whip and add it to the mixing bowl.

Stir gently with a rubber spatula until everything is well combined. Be very careful not to stir too vigorously. You don’t want to stir all the air out of the Cool Whip.

Sprinkle in the rest of the cake mix and gently fold everything together with the rubber spatula. Again, keep as much air in the batter as possible. Air is what will make your cookies soft and give them a melt-in-your-mouth quality.

Gently and carefully mix in the chopped pecans. Make sure you don’t mix too vigorously.

Cover the mixing bowl with plastic wrap and chill the cookie dough for at least one hour in the refrigerator. It’s a little too sticky to form into balls without chilling it first.

When your cookie dough has chilled and you’re ready to bake, preheat your oven to 350 degrees F., and make sure the rack is in the middle position. DO NOT take your chilled cookie dough out of the refrigerator until after your oven has reached the proper temperature.

While your oven is preheating, prepare your cookie sheets by spraying them with Pam or another nonstick baking spray, or lining them with parchment paper.

Place the powdered sugar in a small, shallow bowl. You will be dropping cookie dough into this bowl to form dough balls and coating the balls with the powdered sugar.

When your oven is ready, take your dough out of the refrigerator.

Using a teaspoon from your silverware drawer, drop the dough by rounded teaspoonful into the bowl with the powdered sugar. Roll the dough around with your fingers to form powdered sugar–coated cookie dough balls.

Hannah’s 1st Note: Work with only one cookie dough ball at a time. If you drop more than one in the bowl of powdered sugar, they’ll stick together. Also, make only as many cookie dough balls as you can bake at one time. Cover the remaining dough and return it to the refrigerator until you’re ready to bake more.

Place the coated cookie dough balls on your prepared cookie sheets, no more than 12 cookies to a standard-size sheet.

Hannah’s 2nd Note: If you coat your fingers with powdered sugar first and then try to form the cookie dough into balls, it’s a lot easier to accomplish.

If you decide you want to decorate your cookies, press 3 jelly beans on top of each cookie before you bake them.

Bake your Easter Bunny Whippersnapper Cookies at 350 degrees F., for 10 minutes. Let them cool on the cookie sheet for 2 minutes, and then move them to a wire rack to cool completely. (This is a lot easier if you line your cookie sheets with parchment paper—then you don’t need to lift the cookies one by one. All you have to do is grab one end of the parchment paper and pull it, cookies and all, onto the wire rack.)

Once the cookies are completely cool, store them between sheets of waxed paper in a cool, dry place. (Your refrigerator is cool, but it’s definitely not dry!)

Yield: 3 to 4 dozen soft, delicious cookies that everyone, especially the kids, will love to eat.

To enter to win a copy of Triple Chocolate Cheesecake Murder, simply email KRL at krlcontests@gmail[dot]com by replacing the [dot] with a period, and with the subject line “cheesecaked,” or comment on this article. A winner will be chosen April 10, 2021. U.S. residents only, and you must be 18 or older to enter. If you are entering via email please include you mailing address in case you win, it will be deleted after the contest. You can read our privacy statement here if you like. BE AWARE THAT IT WILL TAKE MUCH LONGER THAN USUAL FOR WINNERS TO GET THEIR BOOKS DUE TO THE CURRENT CRISIS.

Check out other mystery articles, reviews, book giveaways & mystery short stories in our mystery section. And join our mystery Facebook group to keep up with everything mystery we post, and have a chance at some extra giveaways. Also listen to our new mystery podcast where mystery short stories and first chapters are read by actors! They are also available on Apple Podcasts, Google Play, and Spotify. A new episode went up this week.

You can use this link to purchase this book from indie bookstore Mysterious Galaxy, and KRL gets a portion of the sale:

You can use this link to purchase these book from Amazon. If you have ad blocker on you may not see the link:

Disclosure: This post contains links to an affiliate program, for which we receive a few cents if you make purchases. KRL also receives free copies of most of the books that it reviews, that are provided in exchange for an honest review of the book.

{ 11 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Nancy April 3, 2021 at 9:36am

This book sounds like a delicious read for lovers of cozy mysteries!

Reply

2 Carol Knudtson April 4, 2021 at 6:15am

Thanks for the recipe and the contest!

Reply

3 Carl April 4, 2021 at 8:39am

Well now I want cheesecake. Seriously, thanks for the chance to win a copy of Triple Chocolate Cheesecake Murder. crs(at)codedivasites(dot)com

Reply

4 Jaime Minter
Twitter: @schnappy2
April 4, 2021 at 9:59am

The recipe sounds delicious! I enjoy this author and would love to win a copy! JL_Minter(at)hotmail(dot)com

Reply

5 Sherry Brown April 4, 2021 at 5:18pm

Love her books! Always good and with delicious recipes!
Thank you for the chance to win your wonderful book!!

Reply

6 Christine Ewalt April 4, 2021 at 8:56pm

Thanks for the great review. I really need to catch up on this series.

Reply

7 Nicole April 5, 2021 at 4:38am

Can’t wait to read this book. Thanks for the chance to win!

Reply

8 Christene Michelle Beaudin
Twitter: @Christene
April 5, 2021 at 5:23am

Can’t wait to get my copy and dig in

Reply

9 Sarah Parrish April 5, 2021 at 7:24am

The Whippersnappers are always delicious!

Reply

10 Ashlee Koskela April 7, 2021 at 4:20pm

So excited for this book. I have almost of them and am almost finished with the cinnamon roll murder. Can’t wait to keep going

Reply

11 Kathy Laweryson April 8, 2021 at 4:52am

well this sounds like a delicious book to read! I love Hannah, her family and boyfriends, and recipes. Thanks for the chance to win this book!

Reply

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