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A baker helps solve her sister’s boyfriend’s classmate’s murder.

Hannah Swensen is suffering from stress due to a trauma incurred in her last adventure (Chocolate Cream Pie Murder, 2019) but alluded to only in the most elliptical terms in her current entry. Hannah’s stepfather, Doc Knight, is adamant: She must leave at once for vacation. He sends Hannah and her mom off to California for a stress-free holiday helping Hannah’s college friend Lynne Larchmont pack up her palatial home and move back to Lake Eden, Minnesota, where Hannah’s shop, The Cookie Jar, provides sweet treats for all. A New York minute after she arrives in Los Angeles, Hannah receives a hysterical call from her sister, Michelle. Michelle’s boyfriend, Lonnie, is the main suspect in the murder of Darcy Hicks, an old friend from high school. Since Lonnie is one of Lake Eden’s handful of police detectives, everyone else on the force is deemed ineligible to conduct the investigation, leaving only amateur sleuth Hannah to crack the case. Hannah moves back in, platonically of course, with her old flame Norman Rhodes, since her Lake Eden condo was the scene of that unspecified trauma and her husband, Ross Barton, has disappeared, or died, or maybe killed somebody—it’s not quite clear which. Hannah begins her investigation by checking out Brian and Cassie Polinski, who were with Darcy and Lonnie at the Double Eagle, a dive bar, the night of her death. But it’s hard for her inquiry to build up any steam because almost every chapter ends with copious directions for making another nifty treat, complete with tips on which brands to use, advice about where to buy the ingredients, and little anecdotes about the people who feast on the finished products.

Nearly as many recipes as Joy of Cooking, and about as much narrative.

Pub Date: Feb. 25th, 2020
ISBN: 978-1-4967-1889-1
Page count: 304pp
Publisher: Kensington
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15th, 2019


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