Raspberry Danish Murder – Joanne Fluke

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Most of the group is now completely OVER cozy mysteries involving food and gossipy women.  Joan is in both wide awake AND in a diabetic coma after reading this one.  So.  Many.  Cookies.  And so much coffee.

Bruce declared, via written book report, that it was actually THREE books — (1) gossips gushing over pastries, (2) a cookbook, and (3) a ridiculous murder mystery.  None of us were sure what to do with the missing husband story and most weren’t interested in reading on to find out about it.

We generally found the mystery/story boring, yet over the top with food (both the making and the enjoying thereof) and coffee.  Ruthann likes this series and finds it fun and enjoyable.  It was declared to be an easy, quick read, especially if you skim the recipes, and people liked the small town atmosphere.

Joan found Michelle and Hannah to be completely ridiculous.  Out to dinner, cooking dinner with people in, crock pot meals and never-ending desserts.  Who really lives like that?  It’s exhausting!

And Norman?  What was up with HIM?  Is he just hanging around being uber helpful because he wants to be Hannah’s friend or get into her cookie sheets?  Mike, too, though less sheets and more of a cop caricature.

While we were curious to learn who killed P.K., the hunt for Pinkie was almost more entertaining. The intertwined mystery of the missing husband was also interesting and we kind of hoped that he was on some sort of James Bond-type mission.  And maybe he is because really, where did he get that kind of money?  But Hannah didn’t seem all that upset about his sudden departure.  And she, the great detective, didn’t seem to be putting much effort into finding him.  Neither did the police, for that matter.

Favorite Characters – Ross because he got the hell out of town and away from all these crazy people.  The cats, Hannah, and the pastries.

Least Favorite Characters – Norman, most humans, Gary, and the sleazebag husband.  Hannah, who wasn’t a baker, she just gave food away.

We aren’t reading The Orchid Thief for next month’s meeting.  Turns out it’s not a mystery.  And it was dreary.  We’ve switched to Marcia Muller’s The Ever-Running Man.  There are copies available behind the desk at the library.

The Alpine Winter — Mary Daheim

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Sorry Mary Daheim, but this went over like a lead balloon.  While there were six of us at the meeting, only one of us finished the book.  We abandoned it after the first chapter, after thirty pages, and someone gave up half way.  Tom heard bad reports and didn’t even TRY to read it.  The biggest complaints we had were:

• Too many characters

• No redeeming characters

• Ridiculousness

• It was mostly gossip

• Poorly edited – there were typos

• Factual errors

• Plot holes

• Generally being “just a mess.”

That being said, “favorite” characters were the guy who was murdered, though he was barely liked, Emma, sort of.  And the priests were occasionally interesting.

Least favorite characters were most characters, Vida, Curtis, and the newspaper, which had a poor hiring process, and seemed to only print gossip.

As for any redeeming qualities, the location was good.

(Rating by the reader who finished it)

(Rating by all who wanted their opinions known)