Sunday, March 18, 2007

Profile: Mysteries That Are Always in Good Taste

Mary Ann Grossmann, book critic for the St. Paul Pioneer Press, recently profiled , author of the mystery series featuring Hannah Swensen, manager of The Cookie Jar, a bakery in fictional Lake Eden, Minnesota. Each book contains delicious cookie and dessert recipes. Fluke is also a native of Minnesota. Her most recent book, Key Lime Pie Murder, published this month by Kensington Publishing, was the 9th mystery in this series.

Key Lime Pie Murder by Joanne FlukeAccording to Grossmann, Fluke, 64, was taught how to bake by her mother and grandmother when she was growing up in Swanville (population: 217). Their house was cold in the winter, so Fluke's grandmother would warm the rooms by baking every morning.

She adds that one of Fluke's strengths is her ability to write fully realized secondary characters like Hannah's mother, who chides her daughter about her weight and wants her to get married. And there are the two men who love her — Mike, a detective, and Norman, a dentist and amateur photographer.

Fluke says Norman is an example of how some characters take on a life of their own. "Norman was supposed to be a murder victim in the second book," she admits. "But when Hannah went to a party with him, he was charming. He would not go quietly."

Fluke keeps her series fresh by having her characters grow and change while keeping the tone fairly light.

What will not change is Fluke's commitment to finding the tastiest recipes to include in her books.

Read the entire profile and interview on TwinCities.com here.

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