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Hallmark Mystery's "One Bad Apple: A Hannah Swensen Mystery" Proves Alison Sweeney Writes as Well as She Acts

Alison Sweeney wasn't sure how fans would react to her script for One Bad Apple: A Hannah Swensen Mystery, and it stressed her out so much that she admits, “Every person who says they’ve seen it, and they like it, I’m like, ‘Oh, good, ok one more person likes it!'”

One Bad Apple is Sweeney's ninth Hannah Swensen mystery. Who better to write the story than the one who's most intimately acquainted with all the characters? Sweeney mixes all the right ingredients to whip up a movie treat that hits the spot.

What Is One Bad Apple: A Hannah Swensen Mystery About?

Hannah Swensen has been asked to teach a baking class at the college in Lake Eden, and she collaborates with an English professor to inspire students to bake desserts referenced in literature. Shortly after her cooking equipment causes an explosion, someone is murdered, and Hannah is one of the suspects. To clear her name, Hannah teams up with Norman and her family to solve the mystery, and along the way, she meets the town's prosecuting attorney, Chad Norton (Victor Webster).

Sweeney Bakes Humor into the One Bad Apple

One big twist in this Hannah Swensen mystery is that her mom, Delores (Barbara Niven), starts her own private investigator business. Delores' behavior is odd, exaggerated, and amusing, which could have been a disastrous combination, but Niven nails the role and makes it humorous rather than cheesy.

As Hannah prepares for her baking class, she references novels about baking that always include a recipe at the end. This is an acknowledgment that Hannah Swensen movies are all based on the books by Joanne Fluke.

Hannah's interaction with her family is fun to watch, too. The family dynamic is very relatable.

What Man Will Hannah Swensen End Up With?

Sleuthers who have faithfully followed Hannah Swensen mysteries are wondering which guy will eventually capture her heart? Some hope that it will be Mike (Cameron Mathison), but that is unlikely since Mathison has signed a deal with Great American Family.

Sweeney told SheKnows, "I went through all the same feelings the fans did about Mike." She continued, " I hope that I hit the right notes with that.... acknowledging and being respectful of how the fans feel about Mike and how Hannah feels about Mike."

In One Bad Apple, Hannah has to adjust to dealing with Mike's replacement, Lonnie Murphy, and when people ask about Mike, she explains that Mike couldn't pass up his dream job of working for the FBI in Virginia. She tears up at times when his absence is felt.

Despite having a long-term girlfriend, it's obvious that Norman is also interested in Hannah. He competes with Professor Ramsey for her attention, rushes to her aid, and is ultimately a hero. He's funny and caring and would make a suitable match.

Prosecuting attorney, Chad Norton, also captures Hannah's attention. He's handsome and professional, yet cool and detached. He's the only person whom she can't tempt with one of her sweet treats. You find yourself hoping that Hannah will be able to crack through his tough exterior. He's a challenge to her, and that seems to pique her interest.

It's obvious that the "love triangle" movie trope is being utilized, so we'll have to wait and see which man earns Hannah's affection.


One Bad Apple: A Hannah Swensen Mystery is Based on Apple Turnover Murder by Joanne Fluke

Author Joanne Fluke has published thirty Hannah Swensen novels, and One Bad Apple is based on book 13 in the series: Apple Turnover Murder.

The novel is vastly different from Sweeney's story, so if you enjoyed the movie, be sure to read the book to see how they compare. Here's the plot summary of the novel:

Early summer brings plenty of work for baker Hannah Swensen, even before Mayor Bascomb’s wife drops by The Cookie Jar to place an order for her charity event…for eleven hundred cookies! And Hannah almost flips when her business partner, Lisa, suggests setting up an apple turnover stand. But she places her faith in Lisa, and even agrees to be a magician’s assistant in the fundraiser's talent show.

The only snag is the show’s host, college professor Bradford Ramsey. Hannah and her sister, Michelle, each had unfortunate romances with Ramsey, and when the cad comes sniffing around between acts, Hannah tells him off. But when the curtain doesn't go up, she discovers Ramsey backstage—dead, with a turnover in his hand. Now she must find a killer who's flakier than puff pastry, and far more dangerous…

For a list of all the Fluke novels and the movies Hallmark Mystery produced based upon them, click here.

RomCom Review's Thoughts on One Bad Apple: A Hannah Swensen Mystery

I will admit that One Bad Apple is the first Hannah Swensen movie I have ever watched. Unlike viewers who struggle to see Hannah with any other man besides Mike, I am not a fan of Cameron Mathison and prefer Victor Webster. I love the synergy both of them shared in the Wedding Veil movies and anticipate seeing that same chemistry again in a mystery format.

I thought all the characters were well-developed, and I liked that it wasn't obvious who the murder victim would be. The list of suspects kept me guessing, though I did figure out the murderer ahead of the "big reveal." The movie keeps the viewer engaged from start to finish.

A lot of nuanced touches were added, like sprinkles on a cupcake, and the threads were woven seamlessly through the story before being tied up, which culminated in a satisfying ending. Kudos to Sweeney for knowing the characters so well that she could create realistic dialogue and scenes for each of them.

Sweeney shares that fans are her biggest priority. "I am always thinking of the fans, satisfying the fans and keeping them invested, wanting them to watch more. Wanting them to know how much they mean to me, and how much I care about how they feel about watching these movies. That is the number one priority that I have as I tell these stories. This is what I am thinking, from the beginning, from inception."

Will there be more Hannah Swensen movies? Sweeney responds to that question with, "Stay tuned!" so that sounds promising!

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