It promises to be a busy week for Hannah Swensen. Not only is she whipping up treats for the chamber of commerce booth at the fair; she's also judging the baking contest; acting as a magician's assistant for her business partner's husband; trying to coax Moishe, her previously rapacious...
Hannah Swensen: She is the main character. Hannah is in her early thirties, has flaming frizzy red hair, and has an A- bloodtype. She is the oldest of the three daughters---Hannah, Andrea, and Michelle---of Delores Swensen. After her father died, Hannah left Macalester College---where she had gone with the hopes of becoming a literature teacher---to help take care of her mother. Hannah lives in a condo suite, and she has taken in a stray orange-and-white cat named Moishe as her pet. Hannah is involved in a love triangle with two men, local dentist Norman Rhodes and detective Mike Kingston. Hannah is unsure of whom she loves more. She makes her living by owning and operating an independent bakery called The Cookie Jar, where she and her young assistant, Lisa Beeseman (née Herman) make everything by hand. When Hannah is not baking or trying to keep away from the telephone so Delores cannot call her about how fast her biological clock is ticking, Hannah solves murder mysteries.
Andrea Todd: is Hannah's younger sister, in a very happy marriage to Detective Bill Todd. Andrea is a few years younger than her sister, and has a great body and shiny blonde hair. Andrea has two daughters, Tracey and Bethany. The complete opposite of Hannah, Andrea cares an enormous deal about fashion and the current "in" clothes. Whenever Hannah starts on solving a murder mystery, Andrea is always very eager to help in any way she can.
Michelle Swensen: She is Hannah's youngest sister. Michelle is as of right now attending Macalester College, away from Lake Eden. Michelle seems to be somewhere in between the personalities of Hannah and Andrea; Michelle is knowledgeable well enough in fashion to have a clothes conversation with Andrea, but she also contains some of Hannah's less girly traits, as well. When Michelle first came back form college for two weeks during a summer for the 4th of July celebration, she began a tight friendship with Lisa Herman, because of their closeness in ages. Michelle is in an exclusive, very secretive, and sometimes long-distance relationship with Lake Eden local Lonnie Murphy. Because of college, Michelle is not often featured. But when she is, however, Michelle is equally readily eager to help Hannah investigate a murder.
Norman Rhodes: is Lake Eden's kind, humorous, and fun to be around dentist at the Rhodes Dental Clinic, following in his father's own career footsteps. Norman is in his early forties, and probably not considered as attractive when compared to Detective Mike Kingston. Norman's mother is Carrie Rhodes, one of Hannah's mother Delores's closest friends, and together, Carrie and Delores rambunctiously play matchmaker for Norman and Hannah. But what Hannah loves about Norman is his comfortableness, and how approachable he is when Hannah needs to talk to him. Hannah thinks of him as a big cuddly teddy bear. Norman is also often very eager to help Hannah out in an investigation, and he is immensely protective over her. Norman's biggest hobby---which has sometimes proven quite useful in Hannah's murder sleuthing---is taking photographs, and developing the negatives in his own darkroom.
Mike Kingston: is a handsome detective from the Winnetka County Police, who recently moved to Lake Eden from Minneapolis after his pregnant wife, a nurse, was killed in a drive-by shooting. He is also Hannah's love interest, and, like Norman, he is very protective of Hannah. Because of his protectiveness Mike often attempts to advise Hannah to not investigate a new murder mystery, simply for her own safety. Although Mike is fully aware that Hannah will not listen to him, he warns her anyways. Many women in Lake Eden would like to have Mike as their boyfriend or husband. What Hannah loves most about Mike is how he makes her heart beat fast whenever he is around.
Moishe: Hannah's feisty feline roommate, an orange and white tom (23 pounds and counting) who she rescued from the streets. Has an insatiable appetite, needs to be fed constantly. Will do anything to get at food. Despite being blind in one eye, has become adept at getting at cat food, including learning how to unhook broom closet bungee cords and latches. Has an incurable dislike of Delores, Hannah's mother. Named after the general Moshe Dayan.
Lisa Beeseman: is Hannah's twenty-year-old extremely hardworking and kindhearted baking assistant at The Cookie Jar. Lisa's kind mother has been dead for some time, and when her father Jack Herman started showing early signs of Alzheimer's, Lisa made the difficult decision to not attend college at stay in Lake Eden to take care of her father. Lisa recently married Herb Beeseman, Lake Eden's roads patrolling officer. Herb is the only son of Marge Beeseman, and since Marge and Jack dated in high school, Marge enjoys sitting with Jack, so Lisa has more time to enjoy herself. Like Andrea, Lisa is always ready and eager to help Hannah investigate a murder.
Delores Swensen: The mother of Hannah Swensen, Andrea Todd, and Michelle Swensen, Delores is a widow. She is now pushing sixty years, but no one would ever be able to tell, for, according to Hannah, she "still looks great in a bikini." Similar to Andrea, Delores reads fashion magazines and likes to keep up with the times of fashion and makeup. Delores's matchmaking antics, usually by telephone, towards her oldest and still unmarried daughter often agitate Hannah. Delores positively despises being forced to admit her age to anyone, and simply refuses to do so.
Tracey Todd: Tracey Todd is Hannah's adorable blonde six-year-old niece; Tracey is Andrea and Bill's first daughter, the second being baby Bethany. Tracey is known all around Lake Eden for her immense cuteness---her pretty blonde hair and blue eyes already show early signs of her mother Andrea's beauty---amazing intelligence for a child her age, and her skills as a child actress. Tracey is very aware of what is going on between the adults around her and can instinctively tell when Hannah is pondering investigating another murder.
Bill Todd: The loving husband of Hannah's younger sister Andrea. Due to the untimely and sudden murder of Ted Grant, Lake Eden's current sheriff, Bill was able to win the town election as sheriff of Lake Eden. Bill is the gentle father of two daughters, Tracey and Bethany. Similar to Mike, Bill often discourages Hannah from bringing herself into yet another murder investigation; Bill, however, does not seem as serious about worrying for Hannah's nonexistent uncertain safety while she is sleuthing around, for he knows his sister-in-law well enough to know that she can definitely take care of herself when she needs to.
Brianna: Tucker's fiance and daughter of rodeo owner
Gordon Tate: college professor and Willa's former boyfriend
Carrie Rhodes: is Norman's constantly-worrying mother and Delores's best friend. Carrie and Delores first met when Delores set up a date between Hannah and Norman, and they have been close ever since. One thing these two quirky widows they share in common is their burning desire to marry off their children to each other. Carrie and Delores also run Lake Eden's antique shop, Granny's Attic, across the street from The Cookie Jar together. Carrie is always eager to help Hannah investigate murders by keeping her ears open on the town's gossip hotline for clues.
At precisely eight forty-five on the second Monday morning in June, Hannah Swensen took a number from the deli-style dispenser mounted on a pole next to the secretary's desk and plunked herself down in one of the nondescript chairs in the nondescript waiting room to wait her turn.
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