Cinnamon Roll Murder (Hannah Swensen Series #15)

Cinnamon Roll Murder - Joanne Fluke Well FINALLY! Ms. Fluke must have been paying attention to her readers' reviews! I can finally write a rather glowing review of this book, because for once, that awful love triangle between Norman-Hannah-Mike seems to have been resolved. And Mike isn't characterized as a "no-good two-timer".If you're a Hannah fan, you'll love this book. You won't be sorry that you read it.In the last book, Hannah has finally decided that she belonged with the gentle dentist Norman. Even Mike told Hannah that Norman was better for her, even though he (Mike) loves her; but he said he simply isn't ready to be remarried yet - he wants to roam. The impetus for Hannah finally coming to that decision was Dr. Bev - Norman's ex-finance, who managed to date both Norman and Mike while they were both dating Hannah. *sigh* Yes, I know... and Hannah somehow had a problem with that, even though it was her own indecision that kept both Mike and Norman hanging. (And IMO, both guys had every right to date whomever they wanted - even sleep with other, if they chose - because Hannah never made it clear she expected exclusitivity.)ANYHOO... Before Hannah could tell Norman the good news, Norman told her that Dr. Bev had a 3-year old daughter, Diana, and that Norman is Diana's father. Dr. Bev essentially blackmailed Norman into an engagement and a dental partnership, telling Norman it was the only way to be part of his daughter's life. Norman, being the good guy that he is, decided he had no choice. Dr. Bev claims that she found out she was pregnant just after she broke it off with Norman the first time; although everyone was asking why she waited so long to tell Norman - and certainly, why didn't she tell him when she first came back to Minnesota?Rather than starting with all that nonsense, this book actually begins with the MYSTERY. A jazz band called Cinnamon Roll Six is coming to town to play at the local inn. But as April weather can be fickle in Minnesota, it's snowing, making the roads icy and muddy at the same time. The band's bus skids off the road, causing a car pile-up behind it. The bus is upside down. The bus driver is dead, still strapped into his seat, but other than the keyboard player Buddy, everyone else seems to be OK. Hannah and her youngest sister Michelle are first on the scene. They meet the band and their entourage on the bus, and they assist in getting everyone to the local hospital. Buddy's wrist is in a splint, and he's taken off for X-rays. But it's not long before Hannah sees her mother (in charge of the hospital's volunteers) come out of the curtained room where Buddy is, declaring that Buddy's dead and Hannah needs to call Mike to investigate.We're well into the book before the question of Norman comes up. Hannah's family and friends (including Mike) think that Hannah needs to fight for Norman - prove that Dr. Bev doesn't really love Norman and that she's been lying to him about a lot of things. They even think that Hannah should get DNA samples to see if Diana is really Norman's child! And of course, Hannah, her mother, her sisters Andrea and Michelle, and Hannah's Cookie Jar partner Lisa are going to investigate Buddy's murder!The scene where Hannah confronts Dr. Bev in the dressing room while she's trying on her wedding dress is priceless. I only wish Hannah had been a bit meaner, but that's not Hannah's style.While the mysteries involved (because there's more than one) have rather predictable outcomes, Ms. Fluke doesn't take the easiest way out - the "out" that readers might expect. She puts in enough red herrings to keep the reader entertained and guessing about who really did it.The story is entertaining and does justice to the cast of characters we've come to know and love. Having lived in rural Minnesota from 3rd grade through high school, it's easy to recognize the quintessential Minnesotan theme - even in some of the recipes! Hamburger Hot Dish is, without a doubt, Minnesotan. And I was BEYOND PLEASED that the old drama didn't invade this book. The "drama" now is how unhappy Norman is... which is sad and makes the reader feel for all involved.The only real nit I have is that the mystery of the bus driver's death - accident or murder - is never resolved. (If it was, I missed it.)And the book ends as it should. (I'm going to borrow a line from Forest Gump and say, "That's all I'm gonna say about that.")