Coconut Layer Cake Murder by Joanne Fluke: Exclusive Excerpt

Read on for an exclusive excerpt from Coconut Layer Cake Murder, the newest upcoming Hannah Swensen Mystery by New York Times-bestselling author, Joanne Fluke.

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Chapter Three

 “Oh, Hannah! You look absolutely lovely,” Lynne complimented her as Hannah came down the stairs.

Hannah remembered what her mother had taught her about accepting compliments and gave Lynne a big smile.

“Thanks, Lynne,” she accepted the compliment gracefully. “Mother gave this to me for my birthday.”

“It’s perfect for you.” Lynne took the cookie tin that Hannah handed to her. “Cookies?”

“No, I made Chocolate Peanut Butter Toffee for you.”

A broad smile spread over Lynne’s face as she pried off the lid and looked inside the round tin. “This is my very favorite candy! You used to make this for me every Christmas when we were in college.”

“It’s a little different this year because I couldn’t find Nabisco Chocolate Wafers.”

“But it looks like there’s chocolate on top.”

“There is. I melted chocolate and drizzled it on the top.”

“It’s pretty.” Lynne took a small piece of toffee and bit into it. “It’s just as good without the chocolate wafers, Hannah. Actually, it may be better. It tastes like there’s more chocolate.”

“That’s because there is more chocolate. I used a layer of chocolate chips on top of the crackers.”

“There’s more salt, too. And I like it.”

“I used Club Crackers and they’re salted. The salt side is up and that adds more flavor to the chocolate.”

“You’re right. It’s just wonderful!” Lynne reached for another piece and stopped herself just in time. “I’d better save this for later or I won’t be hungry when we get to the restaurant.”

Hannah motioned to the staircase as she spotted her mother. “There’s Mother. It looks like she did something to her hair.”

“My guess is Maria had something to do with that,” Lynne told her. “She was a beautician before she married Robby.”

Hannah didn’t comment aloud, but she wondered if Maria could do something to improve her hairstyle. She’d often joked that she should start using a curry comb on her hair. Unlike Delores with her dark hair, her younger, light blond sister Andrea, and Michele, the youngest of the Swensen sisters, whose nickname had been Jeanie with the light brown hair, Hannah had inherited her father’s almost unmanageable curly red hair, along with his physique. Lars Swensen had been tall and burly with a tendency to put on weight. Hannah, unlike her mother and sisters, was quite tall and what her mother politely called substantial. Delores had declared once that Hannah could put on several pounds just walking past the candy store at the mall and staring at the display in the window.

“Am I late?” Delores asked, crossing the room to join them.

“Not at all,” Lynne assured her.

“I’m here, Mrs. Larchmont.” Robby appeared in the hallway. “I have the car out front if you ladies are ready to go.”

“We are,” Lynne said. “Perfect timing, Robby. I know that Hannah and Delores must be starving after having nothing but airplane food all day.”

 

* * *

 

“Good heavens!” Delores gasped, catching sight of the woman who’d just walked into the French Room. “Is that . . .”

“Leslie Towers?” Lynne guessed.

“Yes! I saw her in Peachtree Forever and she was just wonderful! It’s not polite to ask for an autograph, is it?”

Lynne shook her head. “No, but that’s not Leslie Towers. Everyone always thinks that, but her name is Gloria Denning and she’s my neighbor.”

Delores looked disappointed, but then her expression changed to one Hannah could only classify as cagey. “I don’t suppose she’d pose for a photo with me, would she?”

Lynne laughed. “Only if you promise to tell people she’s Leslie Towers. Gloria loves to do that, but she draws the line at signing Leslie’s name if people ask her for an autograph. Shall I ask her if she’d like to have lunch with us so that we can take a few photos?”

“That would be wonderful!” Delores answered immediately and Hannah began to grin. Doc had been right. It was clear that her mother was starstruck.

“I’ll be right back,” Lynne said, rising from the table and hurrying to intercept her neighbor. After a short conversation, Gloria came back to the table with Lynne.

“Gloria won’t be joining us for lunch,” Lynne told them after she’d introduced them.

“It would have been fun, but I’m meeting someone in a few minutes,” Gloria explained. “I’ll be happy to pose for photos, though. It’s fun to pretend to be someone famous.”

Hannah watched as Lynne posed Gloria and her mother, and took the photos. She could tell that her mother was having the time of her life, and she wouldn’t be surprised if Delores went straight down to Rod at the Lake Eden Journal when she got home and asked Rod Metcalf to put one of the photos in their hometown newspaper.

“How about you, Hannah?” Gloria asked when the photos with Delores had been taken. “Would you like to pose with me?”

For a moment, Hannah wasn’t sure what to say. Would Gloria be insulted if she said that she really wasn’t interested in having her photo taken with famous people, either lookalikes or real celebrities? Luckily, the perfect answer occurred to her.

“Thanks so much for offering, but I wouldn’t want to spoil my mother’s exciting moment. I’ll be happy to let her have all the celebrity photo-ops for today.”

Lunch had been wonderful, but Hannah noticed that her mother’s eyes had closed several times during their trip back to Brentwood. “Are you tired, Mother?” she asked as they entered the house.

“Yes, I am,” Delores admitted. “I was up late last night, waiting for Doc to come back from the hospital, and I didn’t sleep well. If you girls don’t mind, I think I’ll go up to my room and take a nap.”

“That’s a good idea,” Lynne said. “Traveling can be very tiring and it’s been a long day for you.”

“Then that’s what I’ll do as long as you don’t need me,” Delores declared, heading for the staircase.

“Are you tired, too?” Lynne asked Hannah.

“Not really. I think I got my second wind. Of course, sleeping all the way here on the plane might have something to do with it.”

“As long as you’re not as exhausted as your mother, stay and have another glass of champagne with me.”

“That sounds nice, but just one glass,” Hannah told her.

Lynne stood up and motioned to Hannah. “Let’s go in the den. It’s cozier. And we can have some of your Chocolate Peanut Butter Toffee for dessert. I carried it in there before we left the house and it’ll go well with champagne.”

Hannah followed Lynne down a long hallway. There was a door at the end and Lynne pushed it open. “Here’s where I come to study my lines. Have a seat, Hannah. I’ll get the champagne.”

There were two leather chairs in front of the fireplace with a small table between them. Hannah took one and waited while Lynne opened a small refrigerator and took out a bottle of champagne. She opened it, poured two glasses, and carried them over to the small table. “It’s Taittinger,” she said. “That’s my favorite champagne. If your mother had joined us, I would have opened a bottle of Perrier Jouët.”

“Mother’s favorite,” Hannah confirmed it with a nod. Lynne sat down in the second chair. “Do you have a favorite champagne?”

“Not really. I don’t know that much about champagne. Norman’s the expert when it comes to things like that.”

“But Norman doesn’t drink . . . does he?”

“No, but he’s still an expert.” Hannah didn’t go into details about the reason that Norman didn’t touch alcohol. He’d told her, but that was a confidence between the two of them and she wasn’t about to break it. “Norman brought me a bottle of champagne called . . .” Hannah stopped, trying to remember. “It was French, and he said some people referred to it as The Widow.”

Lynne nodded. “Veuve Clicquot. That nickname refers to a woman who inherited a winery from her husband and made their champagne into a success. Which champagne do you like best, Hannah? Norman’s or mine?”

“I don’t know. I think I’d need to have them side by side to compare them. I like your champagne very much, though.”

“Good. I was hoping you would. Let’s have a fire in the fireplace. It’s a little chilly here today.”

Hannah’s eyebrows shot up in surprise. It seemed nice and warm to her, but perhaps Lynne had lost her tolerance for cold since she’d lived in California for so long.

“This is so handy,” Lynne said, picking up the remote control that sat on the table, the one Hannah had assumed would operate the flat-screen television set on the wall. But Lynne didn’t swivel in her leather chair to face the television set. “Are you going to turn on the television?” Hannah asked, thoroughly puzzled.

“No, just watch. I think you’ll enjoy this,” Lynne told her, aiming the control at the fireplace and pressing a button.

Hannah watched as the multicolored crystals in the bed of the fireplace began to glow. A moment later, small flames licked up between the crystals to make the colors even brighter.

Hannah knew she must have looked every bit as amazed as she felt. “That’s beautiful!” she breathed.

“I know. This is the place I always sat when Tom was gone. And he wasn’t here with me very often. He had a luxury apartment downtown in the financial district and when he wasn’t traveling, he spent most nights there.”

“Why?” Hannah asked, and then she wished she hadn’t asked. Perhaps the reason was too personal for Lynne to divulge.

“Sorry,” she apologized. “If you don’t want to tell me, I’ll understand.”

“That’s okay. I can tell you.” Lynne paused to take a deep breath. “I asked Tom why he bought the apartment and Tom told me that sometimes he was really tired after a late meeting with a client and it was exhausting to drive back here if the traffic was heavy.”

Hannah was surprised. “The traffic here is that bad?”

“It can be, especially coming from downtown if there’s a convention or a sports event.”

“Did Tom ever take you to see the apartment?”

“Yes, it’s on the top floor and it’s completely renovated. The view is just breathtaking.”

“And you helped him furnish it?”

Lynne shook her head. “No, he bought it completely furnished from a stockbroker he knew. Tom said the man made a fortune in hedge funds. He was moving to London and he planned to buy new furniture when he got there.”

“I guess that makes sense. It probably costs a lot to move furniture to another country.”

“Yes, it does. I believed the whole story until Tom showed me the bedroom.” Lynne paused to take a sip of her champagne.

“The first thing I noticed was the red velvet bedspread on the bed. Tom doesn’t like red. It’s his least favorite color. When we furnished this house, he told me not to buy anything red.”

“Did you ask Tom about the red bedspread?”

“Yes, the second I saw it. He said he hadn’t gotten around to replacing it yet, but this was a good three months after he’d bought the place. I found it hard to believe that someone like Tom, who hated the color red that much, would wait that long.”

“Perhaps he was too busy with his clients?” Hannah suggested.

“That’s the excuse he used. But then I noticed the bottle of perfume on the dresser. I’m almost certain that the stockbroker who’d owned the apartment wouldn’t have worn Chanel.”

“Oh, dear! Did you ask Tom about it?”

“No, I didn’t mention it.”

“Why?”

“I really didn’t want to know, at least not for sure. Then, when Tom started spending more and more time at his apartment and less and less time with me at home, I knew our marriage was falling apart.”

“And that’s why you wanted Tom to come to Lake Eden with you?”

“Yes, I hoped that we could work things out, but . . . that didn’t happen. I’m just glad that Tom gave me this house when we got married. I’m working with a real-estate agent and she’s going to sell it for me.”

“But . . . will you need money to move?”

“No, I’m okay financially, Hannah. Most of the commercials I’ve done have gone nationwide and the residuals are good. I used the signing bonus that Gibson Girl Cosmetics gave me as a down payment on Tori Bascomb’s condo.”

“So you won’t have to work?”

“Oh, I’ll want to work eventually, but I have enough for this move. I’m not going to take any of the big furniture, just some small pieces that I don’t want to leave behind. Everything else can be sold with the house.”

“So we’re just packing dishes and things like that?”

“Yes, and I’m going to take some of the artwork that I especially like. I have to remember that I’m downsizing and there’s not room for everything in the condo. That’s one of the reasons I asked you and Delores to come out here and help me. You and your mother have been in Tori Bascomb’s condo, and you can help me judge what will fit and what won’t.”

Hannah thought about that for a moment. “Mother will be better at that than I will. She spent a lot of time at Tori’s condo. They used to have coffee every morning.”

“I know. She told me. But there’s a second reason I wanted you to come out here, Hannah.”

“What is it?”

“I need to find out if we can still be friends after what happened. I wouldn’t blame you if you didn’t want anything to do with me.” Lynne took a deep breath and Hannah could see that she was upset. “After all, Hannah . . . my husband, Tom, did some horrible things. And I was so immersed in my own problems, I didn’t even suspect that Tom was involved!”

“Of course you didn’t!” Hannah reached out to pat Lynne’s arm. “I didn’t suspect Tom, either. I had no idea it was Tom until I put all the pieces together that day at The Cookie Jar.”

“Then you’re not mad at me for failing to warn you? Or to tell you something that might have made you suspect that you were in danger?”

Hannah shook her head. “Of course not! I didn’t suspect what Ross had done, either. It’s almost impossible to suspect someone you love and trust enough to marry.”

Lynne looked thoughtful. “I guess you’re right. I’m sorry, Hannah. If I’d known, or if I’d had even the slightest suspicion, I would have told you.”

“I know,” Hannah said, and then she smiled. “So we’re still good friends, right?”

“The best!” Lynne gave her a happy smile.

“Good, because I need to ask you for a favor.”

“Of course. What is it?”

“Don’t let Mother see your fireplace.”

It was clear from her expression that she was puzzled.

“Why not?”

“Because she’ll want one just like it. And she’ll needle Doc until he goes out and orders one for her.”

 

Chapter Four

Lynne Larchmont’s Home

Several days later

 

Lynne looked around at the boxes that were stacked in the living room, and groaned. “I’m taking way too much! There’s never going to be room for all this in the condo.”

“That’s why we didn’t tape the boxes closed,” Delores told her. “Leaving them open gives you a chance to reassess and make a final decision.”

“I guess I don’t really need more than a dozen Waterford crystal champagne glasses,” Lynne said with a sigh. “Unless . . .” She turned to Delores. “Would you like the other four dozen, Delores?”

“Oh, my!” Hannah recognized the amazed expression on her mother’s face. “I . . . I’d love to have them, but I want to pay for them.”

Lynne shook her head. “No, I’m giving them to you as a gift. They were a wedding present from one of Tom’s clients and I won’t be entertaining in Lake Eden the way I did out here. I want you to have them, Delores. It’s a small price to pay for all the help you’ve given me during the past five days.”

“Well . . . if you’re sure . . .” Delores gave a little nod. “If I take them, you have to promise to come to all my dinner parties. And I promise not to partner you with any unsuitable men.”

Lynne laughed. “It’s a deal. I love to go to dinner parties.” She turned to Hannah. “When we’ve finished packing, I’d like you to look around at the things I’m leaving behind. If there’s anything you want, just tell me and I’ll arrange to have it trucked to Lake Eden for you.”

“Thank you, Lynne!” Hannah was impressed with Lynne’s generosity. “You’re going to sell everything else, aren’t you?”

“Yes, my real estate agent will check with the buyers. If they want anything, she’ll set a fair price and add it to the sales price. Anything that’s left will go to Robby and Maria. I’ve already promised that they can hold an estate sale and keep whatever money they make.”

Lynne’s cell phone rang and she picked it up and glanced at the display. “It’s my agent,” she told them. “I’d better answer this.”

“What are you going to take, Hannah?” Delores asked as Lynne walked out of the room.

“I don’t know. I don’t really need anything, Mother.”

“But Lynne has some beautiful things.”

“Yes, she does.” Hannah thought about that for a moment. “Maybe I’ll just ask her to choose something for me. I know she’ll choose something she really likes and if she has any regrets later about giving it to me, she can have it back.”

“That’s a marvelous idea!” Delores said, just as Lynne came back into the room.

“I’m really sorry, but we can’t keep our lunch reservation today. I have to go to the studio for a final commercial. Gibson Girl Cosmetics decided that they need one more for their flight of commercials to be shown next month.”

“That’s all right,” Hannah said quickly. “Work comes first, Lynne.”

Delores nodded. “Yes, and I’m not really hungry after three pieces of that marvelous coffee cake Hannah made for breakfast.”

“Thanks for understanding. And I do have a little surprise for you. The director agreed to let the two of you come on the set when we’re filming the commercial. Would you like to go with me?”

“Oh, yes!” Delores responded immediately. “I’d love to go!”

“Hannah?” Lynne turned to her. “And if you go, would you bring a couple of pieces of that coffee cake for the director? He’s wild about home-baked goodies.”

“I’ll go. And of course I’ll bring some coffee cake with me,” Hannah said, but she added another sentence in her mind. I have to go so I can keep Mother in line. She’s so starstruck that I may have to tie her up to keep her from asking everyone there for an autograph.

Hannah was surprised as she followed Lynne and her mother into the building that contained the sound stage. It was a huge warehouse, seemingly empty except for the section at the far end containing a set that duplicated a cosmetic counter in an upscale department store, complete with stocked shelves and makeup chairs in front of the counters.

“I thought it would be more glamorous than this,” Delores confided to Lynne.

“It’s a working set,” Lynne explained. “Gibson Girl Cosmetics rents out this part of the building and this is where they shoot all their commercials.”

Hannah noticed that Delores still looked puzzled. “But . . . I thought there’d be people with clapboards and all sorts of costumed actors and actresses running around.”

Lynne shook her head. “Not here. This sound stage is set aside for filming commercials, and the production company moves in their own sets. They just rent the space, that’s all.”

“Oh,” Delores said, looking very disappointed.

“Before we leave, we’ll have lunch in the studio commissary. I have a pass to the executive dining room. It’s on the second floor and we’ll ask for a table on the balcony that overlooks the commissary. There’ll be all sorts of actors in full makeup and costume down there.”

“That would be wonderful!” Delores looked excited at the prospect. “But do the stars actually come to eat in their makeup and costumes?”

“Yes, if they only have a short lunch break and they’ll be filming again when it’s over. It takes a long time to put on makeup, especially if it’s elaborate. Even some of the minor characters in science fiction or fantasy movies have to come in hours before they start shooting.”

“Lynne!” a voice called out. Hannah turned to see a tall, thin man with dark hair hurrying toward them. “You’re here early!”

“Yes, I wanted to introduce you to two of my friends from Lake Eden, Minnesota.” She gestured toward Hannah. “This is Hannah Swensen. You’ve heard me mention her. And this is Hannah’s mother, Delores Knight. I’d like you two to meet our director, David-Paul.”

“Hannah,” the director acknowledged her, “and Delores. Lynne’s mentioned both of you. Would you like to watch while we shoot the commercial?”

“We’d just love to!” Delores answered for both of them. “It’s so exciting being in a real movie studio!”

“Not if you work here every day,” David-Paul said with a laugh. “It’s just a giant warehouse, and even with air conditioning, it can get hot under the lights.” Just then his cell phone rang and he pulled it out of his pocket to answer it. “Excuse me for just a moment, will you?”

“It’s late notice, Harry,” Hannah heard him say as he walked away. “Our lead is here already.”

Lynne and Delores began to talk about the upcoming commercial. Hannah listened with mild interest, but she was much more interested in watching David-Paul’s face. The conversation he was having with the person named Harry must have been irritating because he was beginning to scowl.

“She’ll never work for me again!” Hannah heard him say, and then he jammed the phone back in his pocket and walked back to them.

“Cynthia can’t make it,” he said to Lynne. “Something about her husband being in the emergency room. Sorry, Lynne. Looks like I got you all the way out here for . . .” He stopped and moved a step closer to Delores. “How old are you?” he asked her.

“Excuse me?” Delores just stared at him. “A lady never tells her age!”

As Hannah and Lynne watched, David-Paul began to smile. “Perfect!” he said. “You’ll do just fine.”

“I’ll do what?” Delores asked him, bristling slightly.

“You’ll play Lynne’s mother in the commercial.”

Delores’s mouth fell open and she looked as if someone could knock her over with a feather. “Me?”

“You. Yes, you’ll be perfect.” David-Paul stopped short and began to frown. “You’re SAG, aren’t you?”

“Delores isn’t an actress,” Lynne said quickly, since Delores seemed to be incapable of speech.

“That’s okay. We’ll work that out later. She looks the part and I’ll rewrite the script. Just take her to the makeup trailer, will you, Lynne? And tell Julia that she needs bags under her eyes and a couple of grey streaks in her hair. The way she looks now doesn’t look natural for her age.”

Hannah gave a little gulp. She had to say something fast or she’d be forced to spend the remainder of the day assuring Delores that her hair looked perfectly natural and no one could possibly guess that she had it colored.

“Grey streaks would work,” Hannah said with a nod. “Mother’s supposed to look older in the commercial, isn’t she?”

“That’s right,” David-Paul agreed quickly. “Nobody will believe she’s Lynne’s mother if we don’t age her up a bit.”

“Of course,” Delores said, obviously pleased. “I didn’t think of that.”

Hannah breathed a sigh of relief as her mother began to smile. She watched as Lynne led Delores out of the building, and then she turned to David-Paul. “That worked,” she said. “Nice recovery on your part.”

David-Paul laughed. “Thanks! And thank you for cueing me in. I tend to say what I think and that’s not always a good thing. I’m going to have some coffee. You want some?”

“Coffee would be good,” Hannah said, following him over to the corner of the building, where there was an alcove with a coffeepot and a long table with chairs. “Are you hungry? I brought half of an Apricot Coffee Cake.”

“That sounds great! I was going to buy some doughnuts for breakfast, but I was running late and I didn’t have time to stop off at the doughnut shop this morning. Where did you buy your coffee cake?”

“I didn’t buy it. I baked it this morning and we had some for breakfast.”

“You baked it yourself?”

Hannah came close to laughing out loud. David-Paul sounded shocked that she’d actually baked it. “Yes, I baked it. I own a bakery and coffee shop in Lake Eden, Minnesota.”

Hannah unwrapped the coffee cake and set it on the table. Then she reached inside the tote bag she’d brought with her and took out paper plates, plastic forks, and a knife. “I’ll cut a piece for you. I already had mine this morning.”

David-Paul began to smile as Hannah cut a big piece for him. “Are you trying to fatten me up?” he asked her.

“No, but you said you hadn’t had time for breakfast and everybody says it’s the most important meal of the day. You’re hungry, aren’t you?”

“Yes, and I’m getting hungrier by the minute. Your coffee cake smells delicious, Hannah.”

“It is. I got the recipe from my partner’s aunt. Aunt Nancy collects recipes, and every one she’s given me has been wonderful.”

Hannah reached into her tote bag again and pulled out a tub of softened, salted butter and a plastic knife.

“Would you like butter on your coffee cake?”

“I don’t usually eat . . .” David-Paul stopped in mid-sentence and began to smile. “Why not? I’ll have some butter. I think that I’ve already blown my daily calorie count by just looking at the huge piece of coffee cake you cut for me.”

Once David-Paul had eaten his slice of coffee cake, he leaned back in his chair and gave a satisfied sigh. “That was great! I wish I lived in . . . what was the name of your town again?”

“Lake Eden.”

“Nice name. If I lived there, I’d come into your coffee shop every morning.”

“That would be nice,” Hannah said, but her mind had another response that she didn’t voice. If you moved to Lake Eden from a big city like this with glamorous parties, hectic schedules, and exciting things to do twenty-four hours a day, you’d probably be jumping on the first plane back here before the moving truck even came with your furniture!

“Thanks again, Delores,” David-Paul told her as he poured her a second glass of wine. “You really helped me out of a rough spot today.”

“Me too,” Lynne added. “I really don’t know if I could have shoe-horned in the time to make that last commercial if we’d had to reschedule it.”

“I’m glad that I could help,” Delores told them, but Hannah noticed that she was glancing over the balcony rail to watch a group of actors who’d just come into the commissary below. “Isn’t that the cast from One More Time With Feeling?”

“Yes.” David-Paul smiled at Delores. “Would you like me to ask Troy to come up here so you can get his autograph?”

“That would be wonderful!” Delores began to smile so widely that Hannah wondered if the street makeup that Julia had applied to her mother’s face before they’d left the studio would crack.

“I’ll text him for you,” David-Paul said, pulling out his cell phone.

As Hannah watched the handsome actor at the table only a few feet below them, he picked up his cell phone, glanced at the display, and pushed back his chair. A moment later, he

was climbing the stairs to the executive dining room. His rapid response reminded Hannah that she’d turned off her cell phone during the filming of the commercial and she hadn’t turned it back on again. She did so immediately and when she glanced at the display, she saw that Michelle had called her three times in the past hour and she’d left messages each time. All three calls were marked URGENT, and Hannah knew that there must be something drastically wrong back home in Lake Eden.

“I’ll be right back,” she told them, slipping her phone back into her pocket and rising from her chair. “I have to return a phone call.”

“Is there something wrong?” Delores asked immediately.

Not wanting to spoil her mother’s obvious delight at meeting a big television star, Hannah cracked a joke. “Yes, they ran out of sugar at The Cookie Jar.”

Delores looked at her blankly for a second, and then she began to laugh. “You’re joking, aren’t you, dear?”

“Yes, I’ll be right back, Mother.”

There was a directional sign at the back of the room and Hannah headed for the ladies’ room. It would provide a quiet, private place for her to return Michelle’s calls. She pushed open the door to the ladies’ room, stepped inside, and smiled as she realized that she was alone in an anteroom filled with chairs and a long makeup table with mirrors. She seated herself on one of the chairs, pulled out her cell phone, and punched in Michelle’s cell phone number.

“Hannah!” Michelle answered on the first ring. “Thank God you got back to me! You have to come back to Lake Eden right away! It’s an emergency!”

Hannah could feel her blood pressure rising. “Is something wrong with Moishe?”

“No, Hannah. Moishe’s fine, but he’s with Norman. I tried to bring him here to the condo, but he didn’t want to go inside.”

“Because I wasn’t there?”

“That could have been part of it, but he yowled at the foot of the stairs and kept on yowling, even when I picked him up to carry him. I went up a couple of steps, but he was shaking so hard, I turned around and took him back to the car. Of course I’m not sure, but I think Moishe feels the same way you do about the condo. Something bad happened inside and he doesn’t want me to go back there again.”

Hannah wondered briefly if Michelle was anthropomorphizing, but her sister had a valid point. Perhaps it would be different if she’d been there to carry Moishe up the stairs, but they wouldn’t know that until the renovation was finished and she tried it.

“So did you take him back to Mother and Doc’s place?” Hannah asked.

“No, I thought he’d be lonely with Mother gone and Doc at the hospital all day. I called Norman and he said he’d come right out to get Moishe and take him to his house.”

Hannah drew a sigh of relief. “Oh, good! Moishe loves playing with Cuddles. He’s still there, isn’t he?”

“Yes, and Norman told me that Moishe and Cuddles have been playing practically nonstop. Everybody’s fine here, Hannah, except”—Michelle’s voice broke and she stopped speaking to clear her throat”—except Lonnie.”

“What’s wrong with Lonnie? Is he sick?”

“No. There’s been a murder, a woman Lonnie knew from his high school class, Darcy Hicks. And Lonnie . . .” Michelle choked up again, and then she began to sob.

“Calm down, honey,” Hannah said, trying to make her voice as comforting as possible despite the alarm she was feeling. “Tell me what’s wrong with Lonnie.”

“It’s awful, Hannah!”

“I understand,” Hannah said, but of course she couldn’t possibly understand if Michelle didn’t tell her what was wrong.

“Whatever it is, it’s going to be okay. I’ll catch the first flight out and come right back to Lake Eden if you need me.”

“I do! I need you, Hannah! There’s nobody else who can help! And I’m too upset to do it alone!”

“Do what, Michelle?”

“Help Lonnie!”

Hannah realized that her youngest sister was almost hysterical, but Michelle still hadn’t told her what was wrong.

Somehow she had to reassure Michelle so that Michelle would explain what had happened.

“All right, Michelle. I promise you that I’ll help Lonnie. I’ll come right back and do whatever I can for him. But first, honey, you have to tell me what’s wrong.”

“Oh!” Michelle sounded shocked. “Yes! Of course I do! I’m just so rattled, Hannah. Just give me a second . . . okay?”

“I’ll give you as long as you need. Get a drink of water, try to calm down, and then tell me exactly what happened. Just put down the phone, go get some water, and I’ll be right here when you come back.”

Hannah heard Michelle put the phone down. There was the sound of a chair being pushed back. Then a cupboard door opened with a bang and there was the sound of water running. Michelle must have been in the kitchen at the condo when the phone rang. A chair creaked as Michelle sat down again, and Hannah heard her take a deep breath. Then she took another deep breath and picked up the phone.

“I’m back,” she said, and her voice was steadier. “You’re there, aren’t you, Hannah?”

“I’m here. Now tell me.”

“Lonnie’s classmate, Darcy Hicks, has been murdered. And Lonnie’s the . . .” Michelle swallowed audibly, took another breath, and managed to choke out the words. “Lonnie’s the main suspect!”

Copyright © 2020 Joanne Fluke.


Comment below for a chance to win a copy of Coconut Layer Cake Murder by Joanne Fluke!

To enter, make sure you’re a registered member of the site and simply leave a comment below.

Coconut Layer Cake Murder Comment Sweepstakes: NO PURCHASE NECESSARY TO ENTER OR WIN.  A purchase does not improve your chances of winning.  Sweepstakes open to legal residents of 50 United States, D.C., and Canada (excluding Quebec), who are 18 years or older as of the date of entry.  To enter, complete the “Post a Comment” entry at https://www.criminalelement.com/coconut-layer-cake-murder-exclusive-excerpt/ beginning at 12:00 p.m. Eastern Time (ET) February 21, 2020. Sweepstakes ends at 11:59 a.m. ET March 6, 2020. Void outside the United States and Canada and where prohibited by law. Please see full details and official rules here. Sponsor: Macmillan, 120 Broadway, New York, NY 10010.

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Comments

  1. Cherisse

    Looks good thanks for the chance!

    • Thisbe Schramm

      Love this series- a great mystery & yummy recipes!

  2. Tatiana deCarillion

    Ok, the photo on this post made me hungry!

    • Sara Hawkins

      This is my all time fav series. I cant wait to get a copy

  3. Brenda Gallop

    I am always excited when a Hannah book comes out.I always feel I am right there helping her and the gang to solve the murder.

    • Michelle Collins

      I’m so excited for this newest book. Sounds like a wonderful story and a few delicious recipes!

  4. MaryC

    Looking forward to reading about how Hannah clears Lonnie.

  5. John Smith

    This book sounds like a tasty treat!

  6. MrsNEW19

    I LOVE Hannah Swenson! I am so excited to read her next adventure, and hopefully win a copy for myself. Thank you for the chance!

  7. Mary Rappleyea

    Looks like a really good read. Thanks for the chance.

    • Ginny

      I love this series, and coconut cake is one of my favorite cakes!

  8. Carol Palasack

    Have read all of these wonderful books and am waiting on this newest one! Love the recipes too. This is one series of books I am collecting to add to my library.

  9. Linda Bell

    I love that Michelle and Lonnie will be featured so much in this book! And I can not wait to see all the recipes!!!

  10. Sara Deines

    I cant wait to read more!!

  11. Nicole Kowalski

    Love love love Hannah Swenson books!!!

  12. Christine Boles

    Awesome I’m hooked can’t wait to read the rest!!

  13. Cathy Buchanan

    So excited to read the rest!

  14. Harriet

    this is TOO good to be true…a new story…love all rhe characters

  15. Jennifer Hall

    Thank you! I look forward to finishing it.

  16. Laura Nason

    I want to make chocolate peanut butter toffee! Thanks for the preview, I can’t wait to read the rest.

  17. Carole

    Love the Hannah Swensen series.. love pretty much all mysteries…😀

  18. Jan

    I am so excited for this next installment!!

  19. Karla Seidita

    LUV. Murder She Baked!!!

  20. Debbie

    Sounds good. Can’t wait to read it.

  21. dg

    love this series. checked with the library and i’d be number 18 in line for a book that hasn’t even come out yet.!

  22. Kim Olander

    Is the Chocolate peanut butter toffee recipe in the book?

  23. Katherine Goodman

    Have my book on order. Can’t wait to read it.

  24. Martha LaChance

    I’ve enjoyed these books and can’t wait to read another.

  25. Phyllis Hamilton

    I have all her books. They make me so hungry when I read them. I wish her bakeshop was real

  26. Lisa Reddish

    I can’t wait to read it!!!

  27. Shawna

    I have all the books in her ‘ Hannah ‘ series. I enjoy the series and all the recipes. Hope to get to see her again!

  28. Jeannie Hansohn

    Welcome back, Hannah, I’ve missed you 😊

  29. Samantha Quigley

    So excited for this!

  30. Mary Jo

    Love the recipes!

  31. Tina Myers

    Awesome book. Thank you

  32. Karen H

    I really enjoy this series. Glad there is a new one out!

  33. Melissa Basnight

    I love the Hannah Swenson mysteries by Joanne Fluke!!

  34. veronica sandberg

    I would love to get this book. It would make a great read.

  35. Sandra S

    I love Hannah

  36. Marcia E. Brown

    Food Network meets I.D. Channel! I love this concept. Can’t wait to read the entire book!

  37. Kathi Brown

    I love the recipes,

  38. Karen Terry

    Sounds like a good read and love to get recipes for baking

  39. Margaret Repasz

    I can’t wait to read what happened!

  40. Bridget Taylor

    Cannot wait to read.

  41. Jennifer Drake

    Thank you for the opportunity to sample this book . I hope to win ! This would be my first book with this author

  42. Sabrina Padron

    I really want to read this series!

  43. Catherine Rivera

    Can’t wait for to read this book. Reads really well so far. Like the champagne comparisons.

  44. Catherine Rivera

    Can’t wait for to read this book. Enjoyed what I’ve read so far. Like the champagne comparisons as well.

  45. Linda D’Aguanno

    Oh no, I just joined Weight Watchers. The book looks like a treat but I’ll have to go easy on the recipes.

  46. Shirley Evans

    You got me hooked. Thanks for the chance!

  47. thomas coady

    I’m definitely checking out this author after reading this excerpt

  48. Angela Tart

    Sounds great. I’m looking forward to reading the book…and now I’m hungry for coconut cake. Lol.

  49. Diane Strouss

    I see I’ll be adding one more book to my collection. Love this series.

  50. Geraldine Sim

    Love it so far. I really enjoy the baking elements and recipes. Definitely need to pick up more books by Joanne Fluke!

  51. Caren Luckie

    Can’t wait to read this. I love the characters, the stories, and the recipes!

  52. Amanda Ortiz

    I love the covers of these books so much!!

  53. curlyblu918

    This sounds like a really good book. I can’t wait to read this!

  54. susan shue

    I love all her books, even though they make me so hungry!!! Can’t wait to “sink my teeth” this new one. LOL

  55. Pam Bundy

    Another winner – love the recipes!

  56. Karen Mikusak

    Love this series!

  57. lynn smith

    all of the stories and recipes are so much fun to read. and the jacket art is always refreshing! I really like joannes updated website, nice clean easy to navigate.

  58. Ceil Hook

    Only problem with a Joanne Fluke mystery is you always wind up snacking…

  59. Marjorie Anderson

    Thanks for the chance.

  60. cjyap1

    This looks like another good book. I always enjoy them and would love to get a copy!

  61. Gail Gallant

    I always look forward to Joanne Fluke’s books; both the story and the great recipes. I’ve used some of the recipes for our annual Bake sale at church so I could offer something our customers don’t see every day.

  62. Rebecca Kaufman

    I have and read all of the cookie shop mysteries in hardcover and have watched the movies on hallmark. One of my favorite cozy mysteries

  63. Gwen Detweiler

    Looking forward to reading this one!

  64. Melinda E. Williamson

    I read all of joanne books. I also love the hallmark mysteries based on her books. You gave us just enough to read as a teaser. Gonna be hard waiting to read the full book.

  65. Julie McDonough

    I love these books, I can’t wait to read this one!

  66. Brenda Dickson

    OMG! It makes me hungry for all things sweet! can’t wait to read it!

  67. April Morin

    I am new to cozy mysteries and this sounds like a great book. I love the idea of continuing characters as well as recipes. And now I want a piece of that cake.

  68. Mary Kearney

    I will definitely be reading this, if I win one or not. Love her books and have been following the series for as long as it has been around.

  69. TERESA WALLACE COLSTON

    Good enough to eat. I want to read more!!

  70. Paul Gada

    Delicious

  71. Linda Armstrong

    The last book left me hanging and I cannot wait to find out if Hannah is pregnant or not!! And even if most of her recipes seem to include a LOT of butter, they sound delicious. But then, how can you go wrong while baking if you use butter!

  72. Nissa Evans

    I’ve read a few of these books and I loved them. The covers are great too.

  73. susan hahaj

    excellent book! can’t wait to finish it <3

  74. Ryan Dotson

    Can’t wait!

  75. linda mckee

    Too long an excerpt ! gives too much away! that’s my comment

  76. Marlene R Buchanan

    Moesha is once again on the case with his Mama, Hannah. This sounds like a really intriguing story. I love the Hannah Swenson stories.

  77. Brenda Looney

    Can’t wait to read the rest!! Love reading about Hannah and the others and the recipes are amazing and easy! Thanks for the opportunity to win!!

  78. Lisa Maschino

    Sounds like a great book. I would love to read the rest.

  79. Karen Agee

    If I don’t win I’ll have to buy this one.

  80. Kate D.

    This book sounds like a real “treat”!!

  81. Melodie Stickrath

    Haven’t read one of these in some time. Looks like it might be pretty good!

  82. Karl Stenger

    I enjoy this series and would love to read this book.

  83. Nancy

    Sounds good. I’m excited to read it.

  84. Catherine Wolf

    Saw it today at Barnes and Noble, and as a promotion they gave a piece of coconut cake from their café. Enjoy this series and have several of her books.

  85. Robin Leslie Coxon

    Hannah is a regular Nancy Drew and I’m sure she will not just provide support for Michelle but also scope out who actually killed Darcy Hicks. JoAnne Fluke’s Hannah Swenson books are always marked as one of my favorites.

  86. Christine Robinson

    Her books always make me want sweets.

  87. Jena Massey

    Thank you for the chance!

  88. Sam Irizarry

    I really enjoy this series I’m definitely glad it keeps growing!

  89. Linda Fonzo

    Sounds like a great story. Lonnie accused of murder! Hannah will have to prove he didn’t do it & who did. Can’t wait to read the rest. Love Hannah Swenson!

  90. Jessica Bolender

    I love the Hannah Swenson mysteries! Can’t wait to read this one.

  91. Kathleen

    My mom loves this series. It would be great to win a copy for her.

  92. Karen Carter

    Love this series, thanks for hosting a giveaway!

  93. lasvegasnv

    interesting excerpt

  94. Kimberly

    When is this coming out??? I have to know what happens

  95. Michael Carter

    Please enter me in this sweepstakes.
    Thanks!

  96. Cecilia4

    Now I can’t wait to read the rest of the book!

  97. Merle Carrus

    Looking forward to reading this book in full. Another fun mystery and some delicious recipes! I can hardly wait

  98. Cindi Hoppes

    Hello, This is my favorite genre. I also really enjoy watching mysteries on tv.
    Thanks for this opportunity!
    Cindi

  99. Brenda L Gallop

    I have read all of the books in this series..This new book sounds exciting.

  100. Sheila J Gilliam

    Love the excerpt, love these books with all the recipes, and thoroughly enjoy reading books from this author!

  101. Mara Rosenthal

    Now I’m hungry and then want to read the new book!!!!

  102. Margo Sue

    Love this series

  103. Kelly

    Yum! This one is sure to make me hungry. Look forward to the recipes too.

  104. Nancy L

    Why am I suddenly craving club crackers and chocolate (and coconut cake)?

  105. Eowana

    Hungry already! Know this one will be a winner too!

  106. Eowana

    Sounds like you have another blue ribbon winner! Read on!

  107. Lori P

    Lots of food (and bubbly) for the imagination!

  108. Debbie

    Butter on coffee cake?

  109. Vicky Renne

    I can’t wait to read the rest of this book! I’ve read all of Joanne Fluke’s Hannah Swensen books and I am a huge fan of all the Murder She Baked movies!! I’ve watched and read all of them several times each! I am thrilled to enter for a chance to win a copy of this book!

  110. Kate Mahalik

    I love this series and can’t wait to find out what trouble Hannah gets into and out of to solve the mystery. I am also looking forward to the recipes.

  111. Richard Brandt

    The news about Lonnie is so distressing I almost forgot how secretly upset I was over the Nabisco Chocolate Wafers.

  112. Karen Farmer

    Love Hannah and her mischief! Thanks for the entry…

  113. Rebecca Joy Mensinga

    Sounds really good. I want chocolate now.

  114. Lar Soler

    I can’t even read a Joanne Fluke excerpt without a yummy- thank goodness for Tastykakes! I know, not as wonderful as her home baked goodies, but my life is more pedestrian… I don’t have any mysteries to solve either! But I do vicariously enjoy her creations and characters.

  115. Robin Weatherington

    Sounds Yummy!

  116. carloshmarlo

    I haven’t had coconut cake in ages. Thanks for the chance to win a copy. crs(at)codedivasites(dot)com

  117. Mary Rappleyea

    This is going to be another good read! Thanks for the chance to win!

  118. Anne

    Wonderful author and series. Thanks.

  119. Sheryl Sens

    I love Joanne Fluke and her Hannah Swensen Mystery series! She has some yummy recipes! Thanks for the excerpt!

  120. Stephanie D Hall

    I can’t wait to read. Thanks for the chance to win!!

  121. Pearl

    Very interesting and enticing. Many thanks.

  122. Auntdork76

    I absolutely love your books!! Thank you for the opportunity!!

  123. Jana

    Enjoyed the excerpt & am looking forward to reading more.

  124. Betty Smith

    I read all the other books in the series and look forward to reading the new one. I really enjoy Hannah, her family and friends

  125. Glen Davis

    I’ve read all the others. Would like to win this one!

  126. vickie dailey

    the excerpt is making me hungry – especially like the tips for making the cookies taste better

  127. Shirley Schwartz

    I have been reading this series forever. I love Hannah Swenson, and I love the recipes in the books. I’d love a chance to win a copy of this newest one

  128. Karina Thibodeau

    I would live to continue reading this book. Thank you for the chance.

  129. Pam Ward

    I can’t wait to read this. Love this series!

  130. Angie stinnett

    Oh what a teaser!! I cant wait! 🙂

  131. Sally Kohlenberg

    such a fun series, thanks,

  132. Susan Wilkinson

    Sounds so good and the title, too. Chocolate and coconut cakes, my favorites. Enjoy the books as much, too.

  133. K Levi

    Heck of a teaser. Looking forward to the whole story.

  134. Debbie Durey

    First off the cover caught my attention because Coconut Cake is my favorite! Love the mother’s obsession with celebrities and the fabulous sounding deserts that Hannah makes at her bakery. Would love to get to know the characters of Lake Eden! Thanks!

  135. Tammy wright

    I absolutely loved it I have RASPBERRY DANISH MURDER & CHOCOLATE CREAM PIE MURDER.I have read others they are amazing

  136. Margaret Thompson

    Thanks for the chance to preview the book. Have read the series and always look forward to the newest adventures

  137. paul klumbach

    i want to eat everything they “cook”

  138. Victoria Lynch

    I need to know what happens next! Also what happened in the first two chapters. Thank you for the opportunity to win a copy!

  139. Devena McLaurine

    I’m already hooked! I’ve been anxiously awaiting the resolution to Hannah’s marriage problem…#TeamNorman all the way… LOL

  140. Dianna Young

    I love Joanne Fluke mysteries and her quirky characters!

  141. Chrisy Santerre Markey

    I can’t wait to read more I love these mysteries!!

  142. Janice Cook

    This books looks fun! I would love to win.

  143. Kaye L Killgore

    I love Joanne Fluke and Hannah Swenson.

  144. Nathan

    Hannah’s Back!!!!!

  145. Tari Hann

    I’m really anxious to read this book, thanks for the preview and giveaway!

  146. Renee Morgan

    This seems like a quick and easy read! It pulls you in quickly!

  147. Lynn Bushey

    I have been waiting not-so patiently for this –I own all the previous books in the series and I’ve even cooked some of the recipes. How many more will there be???

  148. Maureen Heedles

    I love this series. Looking forward to another great read.

  149. Lisa Mitchell

    I ADORE this author and this series!!!

  150. Bernadette Viola

    Really enjoy Joanne Flukes books! Who wouldn’t want to brave a winter there to enjoy some treats from the Cookie Jar. So wanna finish this book. Have to find out what happened!!!

  151. rosa roth

    I can’t wait to finish reading this!

  152. Kelly Rodriguez

    This book looks so good.

  153. Cathy Conley

    I love coconut and all the yummy recipes. Hannah has such a wonderful way of uncovering the guilty person. Looking forward to reading the newest book.

  154. Andrea McGuire

    I am super excited to add this to my collection. Thanks for the chance.

  155. Jeff Stutsman

    Fluke’s mysteries are always yummy , will be reviewing one later this year in my book club

  156. Jennifer Sandorf

    Always love the Joanne Fluke Hannah Swenson books!

  157. Charlene Batten

    Can’t wait for the release…I have enjoyed every book you have released…not to mention the enclosed recipes that are really good (I have tried many)

  158. Margaret Herrin

    I’m prepared to be hungry while I read this book.

  159. robin l gee

    Hannah is just a down to earth who gets in jams but as usual great fast read..can’t wait to finish this one as well as others I’ve read

  160. Mindy Gilbert

    I am so anxious to read the rest and see what happens next!

  161. Deborah Dumm

    Sounds wonderful. I can’t wait to read this book.

  162. Lisa e

    Can’t wait to read this!

  163. Laura K West

    she always writes delicious mysteries

  164. Laura K West

    always writes delicious mysteries

  165. Terry Sutcliffe

    I cannot wait to read the book and share it as well!

  166. Desmond Warzel

    Count me in, please!

  167. Rachelle Lerner

    I like the fact that someone else likes butter on coffee cake.

  168. Jenny Fitzgerald

    Looks like a good read! Thanks for the chance!

  169. Suzanne McMannis

    Tasty treat!

  170. Sherri Mayr

    Love coconut cake and murder mysteries!

  171. Linda Herold

    I’m ready to keep reading to see what Hannah gets up to next!

  172. Karen D Williams

    I love this series and I can’t wait to read the rest of this new book!

  173. Daniel M

    sounds like a fun one

  174. Christian Mericle

    I’m always looking for a new book read.

  175. Sandi Weisel

    I want to read MORE!!!

  176. Jackie Plese

    First timer reader but sounds great

  177. Kathy Dobson

    Love her books!

  178. Sandi Weisel

    Ooooooh can’t wait!

  179. Janis Rich

    I love Joanne Fluke books and, judging from the excerpt, this is another diamond. I can’t wait to read.

  180. Rhonda Chambers

    I love Joanne Fluke books. Hannah Swenson is my favorite character. These are books I can loan to my granddaughters who love to read & bake. Two have decided they want to open a bakery like Hannah.

  181. Pokyjo

    Oh, my goodness…cake and eat it too. Can’t wait to find our about Lonnie and the rest of the family members…plus all the goodies that Hannah will bake or make 🙂

  182. Phylllis Sinclair

    Love Joanne Fluke’s books.

  183. Carole McKinney

    Sounds good.. Would love to win!

  184. Amanda

    Can’t wait to read this one!

  185. Sarah Baker

    I love trying out the Hannah Swenson recipes as much as i enjoy solving mysteries with her. Can’t wait to read the rest of this book.

  186. Denise Stacer

    Can’t wait for this book!

  187. Joye

    I look forward to seeing what mischief Hannah gets into and like the recipes in theses books

  188. Rebecca Garrett

    I can’t wait to read this!

  189. Vicky Zak

    Thanks for the chance to win a copy! I can’t wait to read your book.

  190. Jan Phillips

    I love Joanne Fluke’s books. I have read all of them but this book.

  191. IRENE HENDERSON

    Good to be back in Lake Eden again with Hannah & all the others. Thank you for the chance to win a copy of Coconut Layer Cake Murder.

  192. Mikka Funk

    Joanne Fluke has once again drawn me in for another great mystery.

  193. Susan Stokes

    Knowing The Backstory…I.Cannot.Wait.To.Read Joanne Flukes Newest Hannah Swenson Book;)

  194. Sandra Hemsher

    Sounds pretty good.

  195. Tracy Jean Michaud

    new recipes to try!

  196. Susan Gannon

    I would love to win. Thanks for the chance

  197. Joyce Mitchell

    Thanks for the chance to win another delicious murder mystery.

  198. Connie Torgerson

    Thank you for a chance to win. I was reading the excerpt and was not ready to stop. I was hooked.

  199. Christina Cueto

    I would love to read this! I really enjoy the series.

  200. Karen Stenback

    I love Hannah Swenson mysteries…love the recipes…love the location as I am from Minnesota, now living in California.

  201. susan beamon

    Lots of food, per usual. Add to my collection of non-cooking recipe books.

  202. Alice Glover

    Sounds delicious.

  203. LINDA COSBY

    I would like to read this book

  204. Katrina Edwards

    Love this book series and can’t wait to read the latest.

  205. LeMinou

    Sounds like a fun read. Fabulous cover. Thanks for the chance.

  206. Janice Smith
  207. Shirley Whitehouse

    Looking forward to reading the next book in this series. Have enjoyed all of the previous ones.

  208. Terri Echols

    I love Hannah Swensen! Thanks for the opportunity!

  209. BARBARA FITOS

    Have loved the series on Hallmark Channel – first glimpse at the books – looking forward to reading more! Thank you!

  210. Deb Philippon

    I very much enjoyed the excerpt, and look forward to reading the book.

  211. Janine L Gober

    All of Joanne Fluke’s Hannah Swensen books are so worth reading! Lots of great recipes as well! Love her books!

  212. Maryann Anderson

    I just started to read Joann Flukes books this year. Can’t wait to continue the series.

  213. Candy Kennedy

    I enjoy this series and and looking forward to the newest one.

  214. Lisa Sabatini

    I usually don’t read excerpts for fear the story will be spoiled, but this excerpt was like a trip down memory lane for a visit with old friends!

  215. Elena

    I am looking forward to reading Coconut Layer Cake Murder. Thanks for the chance!

  216. KAREN THOMAS

    Sounds like a really good read. Thanks for the chance!

  217. Beth Penland

    This sounds really good! And I want the recipe for that toffee!

  218. Anita Stevenson

    This looks like a good book!! I’m going to definitely read this!

  219. Terri

    I love these characters..I feel like they are extended family. Can’t wait to see what happens

  220. Angela Turley

    Can’t wait to get my hands on this book. Thank you for share chapters 3 & 4 and giving us a chance to win a copy of you book.

  221. Rita Cream

    I love this series and the characters. I really enjoyed the excerpt and the brief visit; makes me anticipate reading the whole book!!!!

  222. Tamara Thomas Thomas

    Sound like a good read. Just starting the series would love to add to it.

  223. Sherrie Wood

    I have read all of these series. Hannah is a great main character and it is always interesting to see which type of pastry will be introduced. I love Coconut Cake.

  224. Pat Lieberman

    I love the cover and enjoy the books and the hallmark mystery movies of this series.

  225. Angie Simmonds

    Not only is coconut cake good, but the excerpt was too!!

  226. julia

    Can’t wait to read this latest volume. Love this series!

  227. Alicia

    Been reading these since the beginning. Discovered them in middle school and introduced my mother to them. As always, I’m excited to read the latest happenings in Lake Eden and try the recipes.

  228. Bree Tinch

    I can’t wait to read the rest of the book.

  229. Beth Harms

    Looks like a good one! Thanks for the chance!

  230. Carol LuBien

    Been awhile since I caught up with Hannah. If the book is as enticing as the cake, it’s sure to be a winner!

  231. crystle tellerday

    my aunt loves cozy mysteries

  232. Marcia de Napoli

    I got hooked on this series of books and anxiously await each new release for a great read and recipe. Keep them coming, please!

  233. JAMES LYNAM

    Sounds like my kind of book. I WANT.

  234. Phyllis McGuire

    Love Joanna Flukes books and this one sounds wonderfully interesting!!!

  235. Linda Semler

    The toffee sounds delicious. Thank you for the opportunity from a long time fan of Joanne Fluke

  236. Madonna Litwin

    Can’t wait to read this book

  237. Joan Emerson

    Looking forward to reading this! Thanks for this opportunity . . . .

  238. Lana Sibley

    I’ve been waiting not so patiently for this one and I can’t wait to find out about the cliffhanger from Chocolate Cream Pie Murder!

  239. Jeannie Huffman

    Love this! Thanks for the chance.

  240. Cheryl Nichols

    I like cake

  241. busybehr

    This looks like a very tasty read, thank you for the chance!

  242. Melissa Lawrence

    I would love to win this. Perhaps she’s made a choice between Norm(my favorite) or the other guy… 😀 Thanks for the chance to win!

  243. Sabine

    I would love to win this. Thank you for the chance!

  244. M Thompson

    Can’t wait to read this and get the recipe! Thanks for the giveaway

  245. Carrie McCall

    Oh my gosh. This just skyrocketed to the top of my “must read” list 💖

  246. Antwanette

    Your books always make me hungry!🤦🏽‍♀️ I love coconut cake & can’t wait to read more!

  247. Jamie Gillespie

    I cannot wait to read about what is going with Hannah and all the rest of the residents of Lake Eden. I would be honored to win and read/review!!

  248. Allison McMillan-Lee

    Time for some more calories! That coffee cake sounds divine. What’s a little sugar between friends, eh? Love to continue reading this one! Thanks!

  249. Diana Hardt

    I loved the excerpt. It sounds like a wonderful book.

  250. Brenda Williamson

    I enjoyed the excerpts and want to read more. Definitely want to read this series. Thanks for introducing me to this series.

  251. Allison Oglesby

    I love the whole series! Ms. Fluke was one of the first to incorporate recipes into mysteries (I believe).

    Thank you for this opportunity, and I can’t wait for the book to come out!

  252. Sinda Conrad

    This sounds like a great book and I would love to win it. Thank you so much for the opportunity.

  253. Kimberly Paulson

    I can’t wait to read this book. I look forward to all the new recipes.Thanks for the chance to win!

  254. Laura Nason

    Love this series!

  255. Sheila Fiske

    I want to know who killed Darcy. Also, how the commercial went.

  256. Kelle Fathers

    Well, of course Lonnie didn’t do it! But now I have something to do until I get my hands on a copy–beat the daylights out of Mike for even thinking such a thing! Excuse me…

  257. Kelle Fathers

    Well, of course Lonnie didn’t do it! Excuse me while I go beat the daylights out of Mike for even thinking that.

  258. Jill Sirignano

    Would love to win this bookL

  259. Joyce Gibson

    I was really getting into the story. Would love the chance to finish it.

  260. shaylavay

    You pulled me in again! Now I have to finish reading this. I also love the TV series, though I don’t get to watch it much.

  261. Lisa Endicott

    I am into this storyline already! It will be a fun read. Thank you for the chance too win. Also the recipe at the start sounds like the toffee we make at Christmas.

  262. Lisa Garrett

    I have been hearing quite a lot about this release. Sounds very good!

  263. Roxana Yvette-Lupe Garcia

    Sounds good!

  264. Marilyn L Jones

    I’m already intrigued! Would love to win this book to find out the real killer and get all those delicious recipes! Thank you!

  265. Paula Adams

    I love reading about Hannah and the gang and to find out what the newest mystery is. Thank you for this chance.

  266. Karyn Koehler

    Would love this! Sounds like an amazing read

  267. Lisa Winter

    Sounds like another great book. I love all of Hannah’s stories.

  268. Kim Thompson

    Joanne Fluke brought all of her excellent writing to another book in the Hannah series. It will be interesting to see how the new book ends.

  269. Jodi Scott

    Never read this series – now can’t wait to try it!

  270. Elaine Froneberger

    This looks like another great Hannah Swensen mystery – with yummy recipes included! I hope that Apricot Coffee Cake is in there……

  271. Christine Smiga

    I’m just discovering cozies, and I love that there are recipes included in the book!

  272. Wendy Pitts

    Sounds readalicous like her other stuff!

  273. Pat Hoffarth

    Would love to win this!

  274. Fran Novick

    Loved the excerpt!

  275. ckd518

    Love this! Thank you!

  276. Kathy S

    I am SO looking forward to Hannah’s next delicious adventure!

  277. Karen Dries

    I can’t wait to read the whole book. And to try that coffee cake recipe

  278. Paula Camuti

    This preview ‘just whet my appetite for more of my favorite author and her recipes !!

  279. Catherine Winslow

    I love this series and love the Hallmark episodes.

  280. Catherine Wolf

    I live cozy mysteries, and have enjoyed her series both the books and the Hallmark television show. The recipes are part of the fun of reading for me.

  281. April meng

    I love Joanne Fluke’ s books

  282. Saundra K. Warren

    sounds really good! And I’ve been know to copy down and try some of the recipes!

  283. Sheila Siarkiewicz

    I love this series and this book sounds amazing! I can’t wait to read it!

  284. Cheree Goolsby

    This one is for sure on my list to purchase!

  285. Diana

    I love this series and always make the recipes that are included. All of the recipes have been delicious.

  286. Kirsten

    I love Joanne Fluke novels! I especially love how there are recipes included with each story.

  287. Teresa Young

    I am so excited to return to Lake Eden and see what Hannah and the gang have been up to.

  288. Barbara Fish

    I love this series and would really like to win this book.

  289. Dottie Tutt-Hutchinson

    Besides the great story and likable characters, the recipes are to die for! Can’t wait to read the whole book and try out the new treats.

  290. Margaret Rushton

    I love this series and all of the adventures of Hannah. A huge bonus are the recipes included.

  291. JULES M.

    I love her books and this one looks delicious! 🙂

  292. Kathy Curtin

    Love these books, thanks for a chance to win the newest one.

  293. Joy M

    Can’t wait to read more

  294. Helen Allman

    Now I am hooked.

  295. Roxanna Buck

    Can’t wait to read more!!!

  296. Lily-Ann Gill

    I absolutely love this series!! Thank you for. sneak peek into the newest book and the chance to win.

  297. Robin Gardner

    Sounds like the series is getting back on track. I can’t wait to read it!

  298. Dianne Casey

    I love Hannah Swensen and I can’t wait to see what she’s up to. Great series.

  299. Nancy Hoven

    It’s always fun to see what Hannah and company are going to get up to in Lake Eden!

  300. rose berger

    The book is fast reading, people seem so real and I look forward to finishing the book.

  301. Teresa Warner

    I’ve been hearing a lot about this one, count me in!

  302. Cynthia Grissinger

    Love, love, love this series. Cannot wait to read this one!

  303. stephanie mellott

    Cant wait to read the new one!

  304. Jill Carpenter

    Hoping there are some recipes included although the book sounds yummy on it’s own.

  305. Aisha Kimberly Hashmi

    WOW! I love Fluke and her books! Cant wait to read this, either way!!!

  306. Samantha A Cox

    Fluke is great! Looks like a good read!

  307. Michelle Broussard Honick

    I love every one of the Hannah Swenson books, and this will be no exception. She and the other characters feel like old friends, and I can’t wait to read each adventure. Wish I could read it all right now!

  308. Kathleen T

    I would love to read one of her books! Wonderful to win!

    • KateT16

      I just entered above but wasn’t logged in! Thanks!

  309. KateT16

    Haven’t read her books! Would love to win!

  310. Marcia E

    I’m in!

  311. Tyler

    I’m excited to read this book!

  312. DebiW

    I have binge read the whole series so I am ready for this!!! Also wondering if Hannah will be in any more movies on Hallmark?

  313. DebiW

    I have binge watched this entire series, so I am ready for this one! Also wondering if Hannah will in any more Hallmark movies?

  314. Sharon

    I have always loved the Hannah Swenson series. I’ve made several of the recipes and even bought Joanna Fluke’s cookbook. These books are a great read.

  315. Danielle

    This looks like such a cute book! Cant wsit to read! Good luck everyone!! 😍

  316. Sandra Hobson

    Several delectable story layers & recipes!

  317. Amber Frechette

    These mysteries are always so intriguing and I love the recipes too. I’ve tried a couple at home and they were a hit. I look forward to this one too!

  318. Theresa Casteel

    Besides enjoying a good mystery, coconut cake is my favorite.

  319. Michelle Larsen

    Great cover! Can’t wait to read the next installment!

  320. Susanne

    Really enjoy this series, excited to read the Coconut Layer Cake Murder!

  321. Dyan Rosario

    This is my favorite series! Hannah is a great character.

  322. Lorrie Montgomery

    Thanks for the chance to win this book. Looks to be a fun read!

  323. Lorrie Montgomery

    Thanks for the chance to win this book.

  324. Robin Schonewetter

    I enjoy Joann’s books, can’t wait to read this one!

  325. Leona Olson

    Love the books. Wish the shows were back on Hallmark. Joanne Fluke is from the same town in Minnesota my husband’s niece lives. I have made some of the recipes in her books.

  326. Gloria Schwarting

    Love it. Can’t wait for the latest adventure and recipes

  327. Janet Gould

    I can’t wait to read this!

  328. sarah e cooke

    I love this book series.

  329. SweetDreams

    I always love the covers.

  330. Marta Mahet

    Interesting so far. I am anxious to see how Molly sees her part in the commercial.

  331. Amber Stevens

    Barnes & Noble just came out with a coconut layer cake in their café that I think I will have to enjoy while reading this…

  332. celia croteau

    hi

  333. Susan Morris

    Nothing better than a cozy mystery especially featuring food!

  334. Linda Bass

    HEY JO. FOR CRYING OUT LOUD, I’ ON A DIET HERE!!! LOL

  335. Claudia Hawkins

    I can’t wait for the book.

  336. Peter W.

    I love cake! Yes!

  337. Linda Kish

    I enjoyed the excerpt. I’d love to read more.

  338. Rosemary Lynch

    Looking forward to this book and hoping Hannah is on the road to recovery from Ross

  339. Lynn Hopper

    One of my favorite cozy mystery writers. Can’t wait to read the rest of the book!

  340. Nancy Johansen

    I always love Hannah and the rest of the Lake Eden crew!!!

  341. Jamie D. Augenstein

    Love reading this series. It is light, fun, easy to read but not simplistic. The stories are well written.

  342. Kathleen M Craig

    Very tasty series.

  343. Michelle Hupfer

    I’ve read many books in this series. Thanks for the chance to win another!

  344. ljjbawden

    I love the series and the recipes. I can’t put the book down once I start.

  345. Michele Flatbush

    This series is one of my favorites. Such endearing characters and the recipes are definitely a bonus.

  346. Jennifer Golub

    Thank you for this giveaway! I love this series.

  347. Judith Cozart

    Love this author. This is an excellent cozy mystery to read. Can’t wait.

  348. Johanna Rodriguez

    Can’t wait to read Hannah’s new murder case and the recipes in store. It should be tasty and intriguing!

  349. kathyg

    You had me at butter on coffee cake! Can’t wait to read this!!!

  350. Kathy

    I love the Hannah Swenson series of books by Joanne Fluke! Her heroine Hannah would be be one of my best friends if I lived in Minnesota and Moishe…..I adore that perceptive kitty! It looks like this book starts off with Chocolate Peanut Butter Toffee that leads into Apricot Coffee Cake…almost forgot the Coconut Cake and of course there’s a murder. Hannah’s sweet sister Michelle’s boyfriend Lonnie is the main suspect! Well I know Hannah will be on this case ASAP and cook a storm up along the way! Can’t wait to see what happens next! Please count me in on the giveaway! Thank You!

  351. Margaret Gannon

    I loved the excerpt. I sure hope they make a Hallmark movie out of this book.

  352. Margaret Gannon

    I loved this book. Hope they make a movie out of it.

  353. Margaret Gannon

    Wonderful story. Hope they make a movie out of it.

  354. Margaret Gannon

    Great story!

  355. Marisa Young

    Love this series.

  356. Tiffany

    This looks great

  357. Shirley Nothdurft

    Love this series and the receipes she includes.

  358. Susan Hoskie

    I love Joanne Fluke’s cozy mysteries

  359. teresa k levan

    love,love her books cant wait to read this

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