Thursday, December 19, 2019

Review: Christmas Cake Murder

Christmas Cake Murder (Hannah Swensen #23)

Christmas Cake Murder
Joanne Fluke

Hannah Swensen and her sisters Michelle and Andrea are worried about their mother Delores. Since their father's recent death, Delores has found it hard to function, preferring to spend most of her time alone in bed. But two ladies from the community have a plan that might get Delores back on her feet again. An elderly member of the community Essie Granger has broken her hip and as a result, is convalescing at a local hospital. To cheer her up, they intend to recreate a Christmas Ball that was once held in Lake Eden, and Delores' organizational skills will be needed. Hannah agrees to bake the cakes needed for the ball. While organizing the event, they discover some notebooks of Essie's that contain a tantalizing story that may turn out to be a mystery.

Fans of Hannah Swensen may be interested to know that this book is a look back at Hannah's younger days. It focuses on how she got her start at The Cookie Jar, her bakery in the middle of town. And while it doesn't follow the outline of some of Fluke's other Swensen murder cases, since the mystery doesn't unfold until the end of the book, it is a pleasant read, albeit at times with dialogue that seemed a bit stilted. Christmas Cake Murder is essentially a story within a story, and that may be what saves this one.

This review was originally written by me for City Book Review.

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