Joanne Fluke

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Joanne Fischmann (née Gibson,[1] born c. 1943 in Swanville, Minnesota[2]) is an American writer, using the pen name Joanne Fluke.[3] She is best known for her cozy mystery series surrounding a small-town baker, Hannah Swensen.[4] Five movies for the Hallmark Channel have been created based on her Hannah Swensen series.[1] Fluke is also known for making chocolate chip cookies for her readers.[5] Fluke has written under the pseudonyms John Fischer, R.J. Fischer, Jo Gibson, Chris Hunter, Gina Jackson and Kathryn Kirkwood.[6]

Personal life[edit]

Fluke was born to Cliff and Esther Gibson in c. 1943 in Swanville, Minnesota.[2] She graduated from Swanville High School in 1960, attended St. Cloud State University and earned a B.A. in psychology, in 1973, from California State University, San Bernardino.[2][3]

Fluke has been baking since she was a child and comes from a long line of bakers.[1]

According to the author's website, "While pursuing her writing career, Joanne has worked as a public school teacher, a psychologist, a musician, a private detective’s assistant, a corporate, legal, and pharmaceutical secretary, a short-order cook, a florist’s assistant, a caterer and party planner, a computer consultant on a now-defunct operating system, a production assistant on a TV quiz show, half of a screenwriting team with her husband, and a mother, wife, and homemaker."[7]

Fluke is married to television writer Ruel E. Fischmann[2] and lives with her husband, children and stepchildren in Southern California.[7]


In the 1980s, Fluke began writing young adult horror stories under the name Jo Gibson.[1]

Fluke began writing her cozy mystery series starring Hannah Swensen, an "amateur sleuth and baker" in 2000.[1] The idea for the series came out of Fluke's desire to create a cookbook, and her editor's suggestion that she write a cozy mystery series.[8] Fluke combined the two ideas by including recipes in the series.[8] Hannah Swensen lives in a small Minnesota town and Fluke feels that the stories are a welcome escape from reality.[9] Library Journal writes that the depiction of the story in Cinnamon Roll Murder is so natural, it is difficult to remember that the characters are fictional.[10] Booklist praised her plot-twists in Devil's Food Cake Murder.[11] Her book, Wedding Cake Murder, sees Swensen getting married and solving a crime in the same story.[12]


As Joanne Fluke[edit]

Hannah Swensen series[edit]

  • Chocolate Chip Cookie Murder (2001)[13]
  • Strawberry Shortcake Murder (2002)
  • Blueberry Muffin Murder (2002)
  • Lemon Meringue Pie Murder (2003)
  • Fudge Cupcake Murder (2004)
  • Sugar Cookie Murder (2004)
  • Peach Cobbler Murder (2005)
  • Cherry Cheesecake Murder (2006)
  • Key Lime Pie Murder (2007)
  • Candy Cane Murder (October 2007) (novella)
  • Carrot Cake Murder: A Hannah Swensen Mystery (2008)
  • Cream Puff Murder (March 2009)
  • Plum Pudding Murder (October 2009)
  • Apple Turnover Murder (February 2010)
  • Gingerbread Cookie Murder (October 2010) (novella)
  • Devil's Food Cake Murder (February 2011)
  • Cinnamon Roll Murder (February 2012)
  • Red Velvet Cupcake Murder (February 2013)
  • Joanne Fluke's Lake Eden Cookbook (September 2013) (includes short story and recipes)
  • Blackberry Pie Murder (February 2014)
  • Double Fudge Brownie Murder (February 2015)
  • Wedding Cake Murder (February 2016)
  • Christmas Caramel Murder (September 2016)
  • Banana Cream Pie Murder (February 2017)
  • Raspberry Danish Murder (February 2018)
  • Christmas Cake Murder (September 2018)
  • Chocolate Cream Pie Murder (February 2019)
  • Coconut Layer Cake Murder (February 2020)

Other works[14][edit]

  • The Stepchild (1980)
  • The Other Child (1983; reprinted August 2014)
  • Winter Chill (1984; reprinted August 2013)
  • Cold Judgment (1985; reprinted October 2014)
  • Vengeance is Mine (1986)
  • Video Kill (1989; reprinted May 2013)
  • Final Appeal (1989)
  • Dead Giveaway (1990; reprinted April 2014)
  • The Dead Girl (1993)
  • Fatal Identity (1993)
  • Deadly Memories (1995)
  • Sugar and Spice (2006) (A collaborative with Fern Michaels, Beverly Barton, and Shirley Jump)

Under pseudonyms[edit]

Fluke has been published under several pseudonyms, including Jo Gibson, Chris Hunter, John Fischer, R.J. Fischer, Kathryn Kirkwood and Gina Jackson.[6]

Teen Thrillers (as Jo Gibson)[15]

  • "Obsessed" (June 2014): combines "The Crush" (March 1994) and "The Crush II" (September 1994)
  • "Twisted" (July 2014): combines "My Bloody Valentine" (January 1995), "The Seance" and "Slay Bells" (December 1994)
  • "Afraid" (August 2014): combines "Dance of Death" (December 1996) and "The Dead Girl" (November 1993)

Regency Romances (as Kathryn Kirkwood)

  • A Match for Melissa
  • A Season for Samantha
  • A Husband for Holly
  • A Valentine for Vanessa
  • A Match for Mother (novella)
  • A Townhouse for Tessa
  • Winter Kittens (novella)


  1. ^ a b c d e Werris, Wendy (19 February 2016). "Kitchen Crime Queen: Joanne Fluke". Publishers Weekly. 28 May 2016.
  2. ^ a b c d "Joanne Fluke Papers" (PDF). St. Cloud State University. Retrieved 15 January 2017.
  3. ^ a b "Alumni Notes" (PDF). Cal State San Bernardino Magazine. 12 (2). 2004. Retrieved 15 January 2017.[permanent dead link]
  4. ^ Christie, Judy (23 February 2016). "Author Joanne Fluke Shares Recipes". Monroe News Star. Retrieved 28 May 2016.
  5. ^ Ammeson, Jane (9 March 2014). "Joanne Fluke Cooks Up Another Sweet Murder Mystery in Latest Series". Northwest Indiana Times. Retrieved 28 May 2016.
  6. ^ a b "Fluke, Joanne 1943-". Contemporary Authors, New Revision Series. Gale. 2007. Archived from the original on 2016-09-11 – via HighBeam Research.
  7. ^ a b "Joanne Fluke - Cozy Mysteries and Thrillers".
  8. ^ a b Cowles, Gregory (6 March 2015). "Inside the List". The New York Times. Retrieved 28 May 2016.
  9. ^ Hart, Melissa (2006). "Why Readers Curl Up With Cozies: Good Always Wins Out in These Gentle Mysteries That Tease the Brain and Comfort the Soul". Writer. 119 (3): 30–33. Retrieved 28 May 2016 – via EBSCO.
  10. ^ Israel, Jodi L. (September 2012). "Cinnamon Roll Murder". Library Journal. 137 (14): 64. Retrieved 28 May 2016 – via EBSCO.
  11. ^ O'Brien, Sue (March 2011). "Devil's Food Cake Murder". Booklist. 107 (13): 31. Retrieved 28 May 2016 – via EBSCO.
  12. ^ "New Books Include Joanne Fluke's Baker/Sleuth". Star-Telegram. 17 February 2016. Retrieved 28 May 2016.
  13. ^ "Joanne Fluke - Hannah Swensen Mysteries and Thrillers".
  14. ^ "Joanne Fluke - Thriller Novels".
  15. ^ "Joanne Fluke - Cozy Mysteries and Thrillers".

External links[edit]