By Joanne Fluke
Series: Hannah Swenson #6
Published by Kensington Publishing Corporation
on October 1, 2005
Cover image and synopsis from Goodreads:
When it comes to holidays, Minnesotans rise to the occasion—and the little town of Lake Eden is baking up a storm with Hannah Swensen leading the way. The annual Christmas Buffet is the final test of the recipes Hannah has collected for the Lake Eden Holiday Buffet Cookbook.
The recently divorced Martin Dubinski arrives at the buffet with his new Vegas showgirl wife—all wrapped up in glitter and fur. His ex-wife, however, seems as cool as chilled eggnog. And when Hannah’s mother’s antique Christmas cake knife disappears, its discovery in the décolletage of the new—and now late—Mrs. Dubinski puts the festivities on ice.
With everyone stranded at the community center by a blizzard, Hannah puts her investigative skills to the test, using the ingredients at hand: half the town of Lake Eden—and a killer. Now, as the snowdrifts get higher, it’s up to Hannah to dig out all the clues—and make sure that this white Christmas doesn’t bring any more deadly tidings…
It’s another Hannah Swenson mystery!
This book combines the fun of a Hannah Swenson mystery with a ton of yummy recipes and Christmas, my favourite holiday! Of course I liked it!
The fun thing about this book is that the whole thing takes place in one night, and in (mostly) one location: the community centre. I thought that was an interesting plot device, although it may explain why the book was a few chapters shorter than the Hannah books usually are!
There were more recipes in this book than there have been in the other books in the series, and I spent a long time after I finished the story reading the recipes! There were definitely a few in there that I want to try out!
I did not figure out who the killer was in this story before all was revealed, but I was trying! There were so many suspects in this one, given that the whole town was at the community centre when the victim died, and as usual in Lake Eden, everyone had their secrets that seemed to implicate them at one point.
The mystery was well-done, and as I mentioned before, I really liked that the whole thing takes place in one night, and in the same place. While Mike, Hannah’s police officer boyfriend, is officially investigating, Hannah recruits her pregnant sister Andrea and youngest sister Michelle to help solve things on their own.
Hannah is still dating Norman, the town dentist, and I am beginning to lose patience with this love triangle. While it does provide some fun plot devices, I really don’t know how much longer it can go on! Not that I know who she should pick: Norman is sweet but a little boring, and Mike gets Hannah’s pulse racing but seems to have a roving eye. I guess I’ll have to wait and see what happens.
Hannah meets Winthrop, her mother’s new boyfriend, and while he seems perfectly charming, I’m sure something will be revealed in the next book or so that will change her mother’s mind about him. He is, as someone in this book mentioned, a bit too slick.
Overall, I enjoyed this book. It seemed a bit short, but the identity of the killer was a surprise, and I really liked the plot device that kept everyone in the same place and that the story was resolved in one night.
If you’ve been reading the other Hannah books, you should pick this one up if you haven’t already!