I don’t usually listen to audio books. I have a hard time keeping my mind from wandering, and I usually feel as if I could read it faster myself. Still, every once in a while, I’ll sign up for a free trial and give audio books another try. Chocolate Chip Cookie Murder is the first in a series of cozy mysteries with a baking theme–there are currently fifteen mysteries in the Hannah Swensen series.
In this story, Hannah Swensen is the owner of The Cookie Jar, a small cookies-and-coffee shop in Minnesota. She knows almost everyone in the small town of Lake Eden, and their world is shaken up when a murder takes place right behind Hannah’s shop. Since Hannah has a curious mind and a knack for being disarmingly brash and tactless, her brother-in-law (the policeman in charge of investigating the murder) asks her to help–off the record, of course. Hannah delves into the lives of her neighbors and friends, attempting to discover the murderer, and her efforts must increase when another murder takes place. Through all this, Hannah balances her cookie business as well as a possible romantic interest.
For the most part, I enjoyed listening to this book. It wasn’t anything too serious or in-depth, so I could listen to it while folding laundry, putting away dishes, or working out. However, I wasn’t a big fan of Suzanne Toren, the narrator. Her voice somehow reminded me of Lauren Bacall (I think that’s who I mean)–a little too posh for this story set in small town Minnesota. All of her character voices also seemed to fit into the categories of male or female, without much variation within those categories. Another odd thing about this audio version is that, since it is unabridged, it includes the cookie recipes that follow several of the chapters. It was a little jarring to go from the mystery into a voice reading, “One tablespoon of lemon zest (optional).” On the whole, this book is nothing special–it’s simple and straightforward, the voicing isn’t great, and the characters walk the edge of becoming stereotypes. Still, if I get the chance, I’ll probably take a look at the next one. There’s just something about a cozy mystery that brings a relaxing end to my day.
Rating: Good but Forgettable