I have gotten way behind on this series.
I always try to read at least one at the end of the year when I have fewer reviewing commitments.
Hopefully, I will catch up soon.
Wedding Cake Murder (Hannah Swensen Mysteries)
19th in Series
Setting – Minneapolis
Publisher: Kensington (February 23, 2016)
Hardcover: 304 pages
Mass Market Paperback: 304 pages
Kindle ASIN: B00Y6RB46W
Everyone in Lake Eden, Minnesota, may have had their doubts, but at long last, Hannah Swensen is getting married!
Hannah is thrilled to be marrying Ross Barton, her college crush. And her excitement only grows when she learns he’ll be able to join her on her trip to New York City for the Food Channel’s dessert chef contest. They get a taste of the Big Apple before Hannah wins the Hometown Challenge and the producers bring all the contestants to Lake Eden to tape the remainder of the show. It’s nerve-wracking enough being judged by Alain Duquesne, a celebrity chef with a nasty reputation. But it’s even more chilling to find him stabbed to death in the Lake Eden Inn’s walk-in cooler—before he’s even had a chance to taste Hannah’s Butterscotch Sugar Cookies! Now Hannah has not only lost her advantage, she’ll have to solve a mystery with more layers than a five-tiered wedding cake…
The last book in this series, Double Fudge Brownie Murder, was a little off for me, so I was a little nervous about reading this one, but I love these characters so I dove right in. Sadly, Hannah has cast both Mike and Norman aside and it really going to marry Ross. Shockingly, both her past loves vow to remain friends and even become part of the wedding party. I have always been Team Mike so I was heartbroken. Truthfully, Ross seems shady, I was hoping he was the victim or the killer.
Aside from the wedding, Hannah and Michelle are participating in the Food Channel’s Dessert Chef Contest and Ross is going along to New York to film interviews and background for the hometown station. He uses his clout to upgrade the group’s flights and hotel rooms. When Hannah wins the first round, the contest moves back to Lake Eden, a big event for the entire town. That is until one of the judges is found dead in the walk-in cooler at the Lake Eden Inn. With the other judges and contestants on the suspect list, Hannah is sleuthing out a killer, while trying to win the biggest cooking contest of her life and still be standing to take her vows.
The first half of the book is introducing the chefs and the judges, prep through the first round of the contest, and Hannah’s mother and grandmother taking over the wedding planning. All Hannah had to do was pick out her dress and show up for the wedding. Of course, she did have her hands full with other things. I did enjoy several of the new characters. The judges were not as realistic as on the actual cooking shows we see on television but they fit in well with the plot as did the other contestants. The cast regulars continue to gather to go over evidence and theories, but there still seems to be a strong connection between Hannah and her former loves.
The mystery portion is well-plotted with several twists have and after this many cases, everyone knows Hannah is investigating. She does continue to leap into situations without a clear plan, which brings some tense moments. I did not sleuth out the killer myself until Hannah did, and it was kinds a surprise for both of us. 🙂
About a third of the book is yummy recipes for cookies and desserts that are featured in the story. The author includes them at the end of chapters and I sometimes feel they should all be at the end to not mess with the flow of the story but I have become accustomed after this many books to skipping them over and reviewing them when I complete the book when I can scan the ones I want to try into my recipe folder on my computer.
This series continues to be one of my faves. I am anxious to get caught up and see what Hannah gets herself mixed up in next.