Cookie-monger Hannah Swenson (Lemon Meringue Pie Murder, 2003, etc.) continues to juggle one career, two suitors, and assorted corpses in Fluke’s latest confection.
When the owner of The Cookie Jar is tapped to edit the Lake Eden potluck cookbook, one recipe she definitely wants to exclude is Shawna Lee Quinn’s brownie recipe—cute detective Mike Kingston just likes those brownies too much. So on her way to the community Christmas party, she delivers a pan of jalapeno-laced brownies to the Winnetka County sheriff’s office to see if she can jolt Mike to his senses. At the party, though, it’s Hannah who gets jolted. After judging the appetizers and entrees, she loses track of her mother’s prized Regency cake cutter, only to find it plunged into the ample bosom of Brandi, Martin Dubinski’s brand-new Vegas showgirl wife. Once again, Mike warns her to leave investigating to the professionals. But with the help of alternate boyfriend Norman Rhoades, Hannah quickly discovers that the murder isn’t what it appears to be. Now if she can only get out of the snowbound community center before her sister Andrea delivers her baby on the dessert table—and, more important, before Mike tastes those doctored brownies.
The 81 appended recipes (a record for the genre?) run the gamut from radish soup to candied pecans. The mystery is plainer fare, though Hannah still proves she’s smarter than Mike gives her credit for.