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Alison Sweeney Talks Carrot Cake Murder: A Hannah Swensen Mystery 

Alison Sweeney Talks Carrot Cake Murder: A Hannah Swensen Mystery

[Warning: General spoilers ahead.]

It’s been a minute but the Eden Lake crime-solving crew is back this Friday (note the new day) on Hallmark Movies and Mysteries with Carrot Cake Murder A Hannah Swensen Mystery. The film takes a page from Alison Sweeney’s Chronicle Mysteries series as Hannah explores a cold case and collaborates openly on it with her fiance, Mike (Cameron Mathison). Pat Williams directs a script by Melissa Salmons based on Joanne Fluke’s novel, Carrot Cake Murder. I caught up with Sweeney, who once again produces and stars, to chat about the new installment. And even better news — we’re getting a second film this year based on A Zest for Death.

A Carrot Cake Murder Hannah Swensen Mystery

Sweeney loved diving right back into the world, and was thrilled that Hallmark came calling for another film a little shy of two years after the last one in the summer of 2021. “It’s funny because it seems like a long time, but then as soon as everyone’s on set, it’s just like no time has passed, which is really the mark of good friendship and talented actors. It’s so much fun to be around these people,” she says.

“Of course, Joanne Fluke has written [29] of the Hannah Swensen mysteries. And they’re just delightful. They’re fun to read, and it’s fun for me, every time Hallmark comes to me wanting a new one, to dive into those books and pick through all the delicious recipes and try to figure out which one is right for the next movie.”

A Carrot Cake Murder Hannah Swensen Mystery

Sweeney also enjoys the challenge of bringing stories into the present timeline – the original novel was published 11 years ago. “There are some things that we try to really adhere to, like the main characters that Joanne has created and the rollercoaster of her love life and all that,” she explains.

“But the mysteries are tougher [to adapt] because technology has just made such a huge difference. That’s really the bottom line. Google and having a cell phone and the information of the world in your pocket changes how you write a mystery. So we do our best to try to honor the spirits of these characters and these stories.”

A Carrot Cake Murder Hannah Swensen Mystery

Barbara Niven’s character, Delores, gets in on the action this time around. “For me, personally, just as a fan, [the scene] where Delores has to come into the birthday party makes me laugh every single time. She’s so funny. And when everybody yells and she startled, she’s hilarious,” Sweeney says.

We also get another callback with Hannah enlisting Norman’s help when the cold case intersects with his longtime friend, Eugene (Danny Wattley). “I like the scene where Norman and Hannah are searching for clues at Eugene’s [and later when he’s talking to him one on one. Gabriel Hogan] was so good. It’s just such an intimate moment for him and his childhood friend. I just love that story. I thought that was so great. And so that was another really beautiful moment for me,” Sweeney recalls.

A Carrot Cake Murder Hannah Swensen Mystery

As we’ve seen with some of the other Vancouver-filmed movies rolling through this spring, the winter shooting schedule factored into Carrot Cake Murder, too. A scene that finds Hannah and Mike having an impromptu picnic outside in the dead of winter was shot very quickly to escape an impending storm. 

“It was cold [to film]. And there’s one scene you can see in The Cookie Jar, if you look out the window, you can see the snow. It is winter, you’re, it is no joke,” explains Sweeney. “But it just so happened that that day, and the reason we chose that bench to shoot that scene, is because it was a nice and temperate time and there was a storm coming.”

“So we shot that scene in like 30 seconds flat because we had to. Right when we were wrapping and putting everything away, it was hailing. It was crazy, crazy weather.” 

A Carrot Cake Murder Hannah Swensen Mystery

Carrot Cake Murder A Hannah Swensen Mystery premieres at 9 pm/8c Friday on Hallmark Movies and Mysteries and streaming on Peacock. Here are a couple of sneak peeks and a Facebook live with the cast. And check back this weekend for part two of my conversation with Alison Sweeney. 

Photos courtesy of Bettina Strauss/Hallmark Media; videos courtesy of Hallmark Media.

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