Tuesday, December 04, 2018


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 . . .

Release Date: September 23, 2018
Hannah Swensen #23
Review copy provided by publisher

Liza's Review:

The Hannah Swensen series of mysteries is one of my favorites series ever. I've always wonder how Hannah ended up opening her store The Cookie Jar and am happy to say with Christmas Cake Murder, we finally get all the answers.

I love the entire Swensen clan and loved going back to the beginning to see where it all started. We saw so many of my favorite characters in this flashback story of Hannah's life. As it takes place right after her father's death, it could have been a very emotional read, yet Joanne Fluke's voice brought so much humor along the way to the story. It was still very emotional to see Mrs. Swensen begin to step back into the land of the living, as she had been mired in grief for so very long. I loved seeing her daughters come together to help find ways to get her moving and out of the house and give her a purpose to live again. Of course not to be outdone by her daughters, she not only starts living again, but wants to help make each of her daughter's lives better along the way.

I loved seeing Mrs. Swensen step up to help make Lake Eden resident Essie's dreams come true by recreating the Christmas Ball. Of course she need each of her daughters help to make it a reality, as well as Michelle's best friend Lisa. I loved when Hannah found the story Essie had written; she shared it with her family in bits and pieces. I quickly realized there was way more to the story than it being just a work of fiction, but was happy to be surprised about some of the facts in the story. Once again we were given a wonderful mystery that pulled in Hannah and her family to solve. 

Christmas Cake Murder was a wonderful addition to the Hannah Swensen mystery series. Readers were given the complete background to how Hannah was able to start her business. I loved getting so see a younger Hannah to see how much she has grown as a person over the course of the series. I highly recommend the entire series of books to fans of cozy mysteries and while I generally don't believe in reading books out of order, if you wanted to read Christmas Cake Murder first, it would be a great way to get a feel for some of the characters in the series.

Rating: 4 Stars (B+)

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