Release Date: Feb 23, 2021
Series: A Hannah Swensen Mystery
It’s almost Easter, and Hannah Swensen is busy getting ready to fulfill the many orders that have been received at her Lake Eden, Minnesota bakery. Hannah loves her business but nothing is more important to her than her close friends and family. Therefore, Hannah drops everything when her sister Andrea calls her in a panic. Andrea has returned to Mayor Bascomb’s office to apologize after a heated argument, but finds his dead body. Andrea becomes one of the top suspects in the case, so it’s up to Hannah to find out who really killed the cantankerous politician and prevent her sister from going to jail for a crime she didn’t commit.
I have mixed feelings about this book. I have such affection for this series. I like the setting and most of the main characters. The plot of this book is very interesting and when Hannah is questioning witnesses and potential suspects in the murder, I really enjoyed it. I also like that there are some scenes of Hannah working at The Cookie Jar instead of just saying she owns a bakery/coffee shop to add to the atmosphere of the book. However, there isn’t a lot of substance to the book. There are so many scenes of Hannah talking about recipes she’s going to try and then the recipes themselves, that there isn’t a lot of the book dedicated to the actual plot. There is so much filler in the book and the dialogue in this book is so stilted and unnatural especially between Hannah and her mom, sisters, and long-time friends. It’s better when she’s gathering evidence or talking about the case. The dialogue between Hannah and her friends and family members is so stilted and unnatural, it takes away from the story. Another unfortunate device used in this book is Hannah’s internal dialogue between the rational and the suspicious parts of her mind. If this were done a couple of times to show that Hannah is starting to recognize what a great guy Norman is but is finding it hard to trust herself after the debacle with Ross. However, this happens over and over throughout the book on a variety of subjects and starts getting silly and distracting.
I don’t want to give up on this series since I’ve been following it for a long time. It is a quick, clean, cozy mystery with some touching moments and interesting amateur sleuthing. However, I would recommend readers new to the series start with the books earlier in the series that had more content with stories that flowed better. I have hopes that the quality of these books goes back to what it used to be with more detailed stories and less filler. I also hope Hannah is able to quickly heal from her past heartache and find happiness in the romance department.