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Christmas Cake Murder

Book 23, A Hannah Swensen Mystery

This book can be downloaded and read in Apple Books on your Mac or iOS device.

Description

It’s Christmas many years ago, and topping young Hannah Swensen’s wish list is becoming the go-to baker in Lake Eden, Minnesota. But as Hannah finds out, revisiting holiday memories can be murder . . .
 
With her dream of opening The Cookie Jar taking shape, Hannah’s life matches the hectic December hustle and bustle in Lake Eden—especially when she agrees to help recreate a spectacular Christmas Ball from the past in honor of Essie Granger, an elderly local in hospice care. But instead of poring over decadent dessert recipes for the merry festivities, she instantly becomes enthralled by Essie’s old notebooks and the tale of a woman escaping danger on the streets of New York. Hannah’s surprised by Essie’s secret talent for penning crime fiction. She’s even more surprised when the story turns real. As Hannah prepares to run a bakery and move out of her mother’s house, it’ll be a true miracle if she can prevent another Yuletide disaster by solving a mystery as dense as a Christmas fruitcake . . .

From Publishers Weekly

Aug 27, 2018 – Bestseller Fluke's diverting 23rd Hannah Swensen mystery (after Raspberry Danish Murder), an origin story, finds college student Hannah home in Lake Eden, Minn., with her grief-stricken mother, Delores, three weeks after the funeral of Hannah's father and Delores's husband, Lars. When several of Delores's women friends come up with a project that will cheer her up, Hannah is all for it. Lonely widow Essie Granger is in the hospital recovering from a fall, and the women decide to recreate the annual Christmas Ball that Essie always loved. In the course of their preparations, Hannah and Delores discover a set of notebooks in which Essie began a mystery novel, and they read a few pages from it each night, unaware that Essie's thrilling tale is based on real events and that everything is poised to come to a head the night of the ball. Series fans will enjoy learning how the Cookie Jar bakery came to be, but others should be aware that the mystery element is slight in an entry with a heavy focus on food descriptions and Hannah's recipes.

Customer Reviews

Fantastic

I loved the double story line of her latest book! You were able to take a step back in time and find out why and how Hannah started The Cookie Jar, meanwhile have a story within a story of the town’s legendary Essie. Without giving anything away, it’s a great read for the avid Hannah Swenson series fan!

23rd A Hannah Swensen Mystery

Christmas Cake Murder by Joanne Fluke is the twenty-third novel in A Hannah Swensen Mystery series. It has been three weeks since Hannah’s father, Lars passed away. The three Swensen girls (Hannah, Andrea and Michelle) are worried about their mother, Delores who is spending her days in her room. When the girls run out of ideas, Grandma Knudson and Annie Winters stop by with the perfect project for Delores. Essie Granger who owns the Albion Hotel fell down the steps and broke her hip. Essie used to entertain the children of Lake Eden on Saturday’s at the hotel with her stories. Essie wishes she could go back and revisit the splendor of the first Christmas Ball she attended at the Albion Hotel where she met her deceased husband, Alton. There was also a Christmas Cake Parade at the event. Grandma Knudson and Annie want Delores to recreate the ball for Essie. Delores has the organizational skills plus the needed charm (to coerce donations from local business owners) to pull off the project in two weeks. Delores agrees if Hannah will bake the cakes and desserts. In Essie’s rooms at the hotel, Hannah finds a stack of notebooks that contain an intriguing story. With Essie’s permission, Hannah reads the stories to Delores, Michelle and Lisa about a woman, who is pregnant and on the run, who finds a safe haven in Minnesota. They discover that the story is unfinished. Hannah is on a break from college, but she does not wish to return in January. When the family asks what she would like to do for a living, she tells them about her idea for a cookie and coffee shop. Soon, with the help of her family, Hannah’s dreams are coming true. Come along for a Christmas adventure in Lake Eden with the Swensen family in Christmas Cake Murder.

I found it delightful to go back and see how The Cookie Jar came to fruition. I found the Christmas Cake Murder to be well-written and engaging. It has a steady pace and a conversational writing style that makes for an easy to read story. All our favorite characters are in the book (Delores, Hannah, Michelle, Andrea, and Lisa). It was nice to get to know our main characters a little better. Delores has suffered a devastating loss and must find a way to move forward with her life with her husband, Lars. Hannah is at a crossroads in her life. She is given an opportunity to make her dream come true. We also get to know more about Lisa, Michelle’s friend. There is plenty of cooking and baking (as usual). The recipes for the delectable desserts and meals that Hannah creates for her family are included. I wish the publisher would put them at the end of the book instead of between chapters (it messes with the flow of the story). I liked the story from Essie’s journals. It captured my attention and intrigued me. We get a story inside of a story. It is easy to keep track of the two storylines. The mystery is one that plays out instead of one that readers can solve (just go with the flow). The dialogue is off. I find it awkward at times, but I was enjoying the story and just let it go (it was the middle of the night and I was wide awake). I am giving Christmas Cake Murder 4 out of 5 stars. Christmas Cake Murder is a charming book that reminds me of the earlier novels in A Hannah Swensen Mystery series.

Christmas Cake Murder
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  • $11.99
  • Available on iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, and Mac.
  • Category: Fiction & Literature
  • Published: Sep 25, 2018
  • Publisher: Kensington
  • Seller: Penguin Random House LLC
  • Print Length: 224 Pages
  • Language: English
  • Series: Book 23, A Hannah Swensen Mystery
  • Requirements: This book can only be viewed on an iOS device with Apple Books on iOS 12 or later, iBooks 1.5 or later and iOS 4.3.3 or later, or a Mac with iBooks 1.0 or later and OS X 10.9 or later.

Customer Ratings