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Christmas Cake Murder

(Hannah Swensen #23)

3.59  ·  Rating details ·  3,712 ratings  ·  605 reviews
It’s Christmas many years ago, and topping young Hannah Swensen’s wish list is becoming the go-to baker in Lake Eden, Minnesota. But as Hannah finds out, revisiting holiday memories can be
murder . . .

With her dream of opening The Cookie Jar taking shape, Hannah’s life matches the hectic December hustle and bustle in Lake Eden—especially when she agrees to help recreate
Kindle Edition, 225 pages
Published September 25th 2018 by Kensington
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Alaine I would call it a prequel. I would also call it a veiled attempt to take the story back to before the Ross debacle alienated many fans, myself…moreI would call it a prequel. I would also call it a veiled attempt to take the story back to before the Ross debacle alienated many fans, myself included. As much as I want to go back to the pre-Ross Hannah, I want to hear the continuation of the Raspberry Danish story. I want the non-lovesick, intelligent Hannah back. (less)
Wanda Smith YES! I think Ross was a mistake from the beginning. Although the triangle is cumbersome, at least if Hannah picks one of her other suitors, you can…moreYES! I think Ross was a mistake from the beginning. Although the triangle is cumbersome, at least if Hannah picks one of her other suitors, you can understand and see her with someone who truly cares.(less)

Community Reviews

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Average rating 3.59  · 
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Start your review of Christmas Cake Murder (Hannah Swensen #23)
I am finally caught up on the Hannah Swensen cozy mystery series by Joanne Fluke. I finished reading Christmas Cake Murder, the 23rd of 24 books, published in the last year. The next one is in ARC form and I'm hoping to get my hands on it soon as I'd rather not wait until early 2019 when it's formally published. Overall, I'd give it 4 stars as it had a lot of the traditional elements we normally love in these books, but the mystery was very different.

The book takes place before the first one in
Aug 02, 2018 rated it really liked it
I have been a fan of the Hannah Swensen series for years. Although there are a lot of culinary cozy series now, this series was one of the first. After 23 books, this series is still one of my favorites, despite the last couple of books (not going to say what so I don't spoil things for newer readers but those who have read the entire series know I'm talking about R.) This book is a prequel taking readers back to before Hannah opened her bakery, The Cookie Jar, ...more
Dec 03, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: library-2, christmas
I’m sure anyone looking at my reading list this month must think it contains a lot of Christmas and murder, but really it’s just that I’ve just now discovered cozy mysteries, which are quite fun! This takes us back to the very beginning when Hannah is just leaving college and doesn’t yet run her cookie shop. Her mom needs a project to help keep her busy and so Hannah’s grandmother gets her to organize a Christmas ball with a cake parade in a hotel ballroom. Yum!

There’s also another mystery
Aug 09, 2018 rated it it was ok
Shelves: read-2018
First off, thanks to Kensington and NetGalley for approving me to read this one. That said, I really hate the fact that this book was just BAD! I was a big fan of the Hannah Swensen books for many years. I have several recipes that are used often at my house that came from these books. The last book in the series that I read was Red Velvet Cupcake Murder. It finally got on my last nerve with the dreaded "triangle". When I saw that this one was a "prequel" I had hopes that it would be like the ...more
Oct 19, 2018 rated it it was ok
Do not read this review if you plan to read the book.

This story goes back to the time when Hannah's father has just passed away, and Hannah, her sisters, and their friends are trying to get Delores out of her depression. After all, it has been all of three weeks, so the widow should be back to normal by now!

To occupy Delores' s mind, they decide to keep her busy by organizing a Christmas Ball in honour of Essie, an elderly woman in hospice, who reminisces about a wonderful such event in the
Kristin Bateman
Oct 07, 2018 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
In a word: AWFUL. This is one of the worst ones in the entire series, but yet, I cannot quit. The "murder" happened in the last 20 pages, there was no mystery to solve, and pages upon pages were pointless descriptions. No lie, there was about half a page of Hannah explaining how to flip a switch to turn on the fireplace. HALF A PAGE ABOUT A LIGHT SWITCH! I swear these have to be ghost-written. Will I read book 24? Likely yes because I want to find out more about the Ross-situation, but man, this ...more
 Readaholic Jenn
It's different from a typical Hannah novel but I like it. I only wish I knew the rest of Essie's story and what happened to her.
Aug 24, 2018 rated it did not like it
I'm back again with another review in this series. I know, I can't believe it either. The description of this book had me thinking it would go back to the fun stories at the beginning of the series but I was wrong.

This book does take place when Hannah has just left college (because of drama over a man!) and is now living with her mother Delores who is recently widowed after the death of Hannah's father. In the beginning of the book Delores is much more interested in what she's going to wear and
Sep 21, 2018 rated it really liked it
Christmas Cake Murder by Joanne Fluke is the twenty-third novel in A Hannah Swensen Mystery series. It has been three weeks since Hannah’s father, Lars passed away. The three Swensen girls (Hannah, Andrea and Michelle) are worried about their mother, Delores who is spending her days in her room. When the girls run out of ideas, Grandma Knudson and Annie Winters stop by with the perfect project for Delores. Essie Granger who owns the Albion Hotel fell down the steps and broke her hip. Essie used ...more
Kate Baxter
This story is not your usual cozy mystery. Oh sure, someone does get killed (as the title would suggest) but not anyone you might have expected. The book's real charm (not that one would consider murder "charming") lies in its story within the story.

This 23rd installment in the Hannah Swensen Holiday Mystery series is actually a flashback to the early days before Hannah opened her bakery café. She's dropped out of school and come home to Lake Eden licking a few wounds of the romantic
Fluff Smut & Murder
Aug 30, 2018 rated it it was ok
Are you freaking kidding me? You need to have a dead body to call it the Christmas Cake Murder. Instead this book was I don't even know how many pages of Essie needing to be hospice not because she was dying but that she lived in two rooms with no electricity or no running water (Where the heck was the building inspector for this?) and basically the origins of The Cookie Jar. I'm glad Delores basically picked out everything for Hannah.

I think the most disappointing part of novella was the
Elle's Book Blog
Release Date: September 25, 2018
Genre: Cozy Mystery
Actual Rating: 5 stars

This is my absolute favorite cozy mystery series! There's just something about Hannah Swensen and the delicious desserts she dishes up that calls to me! Not only that, the murders that she solves are a whole lot of fun and I simply cannot get enough. This is a bit different than the other books in the series though. It's like a story within a story. Plus, it's a prequel to the entire series! This caused me a lot of
Oct 06, 2018 rated it it was ok
This book was a prequel to the series and begins a few weeks after Hannah's father passes away. She has dropped out of graduate school, though her family does not know why, and decides she wants to open a cookie and coffee shop in Lake Eden, Minnesota. An elderly resident, Essie, has had to move into temporary housing due to a fall and Hannah and her family have gathered her belongings to help her move. They decide to read what purports to be a fictional story that Essie wrote long ago, since ...more
Dec 01, 2018 rated it it was ok
Shelves: christmas, cozies, mystery
Reading the last few books in this series is like watching somebody fall down stairs. Every time you think they stopped themselves, they lose their grip and keep tumbling.

This is an origin story of sorts, about how Hannah came to be in her small town, got her condo, and bakery.

There's no real mystery, or a murder committed in the town. The book is mostly about the rest of the cast of of characters fawning over Hannah, and recipes.

Worst book in the series yet. I'm already wondering how the next
Oct 17, 2018 rated it it was ok
Shelves: 2018, 3m, library
Joanne Fluke should consider writing a detailed cookbook with a few stories sprinkled in instead of mysteries. Oh, wait, she’s been doing it for a few years now. While it was a cute story, there’s no real mystery. Just a lot of telling each other how awesome they are and having Hannah’s mom control her life.
Mark Baker
Dec 06, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: mystery, 2018
This book is set at the first Christmas since Hannah's father has died. Hannah has dropped out of her graduate program and is home trying to help her mother, Delores, deal with life after her loss, and Hannah is beginning to worry. Fortunately, Grandma Knudson and Annie come up with the perfect project to get Delores's mind off her loss. It seems Essie, a beloved member of the community, has fallen and broken her hip. In an effort to cheer her up, Delores is asked to organize a Christmas ball, ...more
Oct 17, 2018 rated it did not like it
First problem- we don't have orphanages in the US anymore, at least nothing called that. When I was little we used to drive by a large orphanage on the way to the doctor. By the time I was a teenager the buildings belonged to the VA and it was a hospital and nursing home. This was 50 years ago! However the book cover says "it's Christmas many years ago..." Of course if that was true the newspaper would still be using linotype and hospice wouldn't exist. The first hospice in the US was opened in ...more
Sep 01, 2018 rated it really liked it
Hannah Swensen is at it again! Baking cookies and solving mysteries!
This book takes you back the humble beginnings of The Cookie Jar and gives you a taste of what came before Hannah starts catching killers. Mike and Norman do not make an appearance so the Swensen women really pick up the slack. Lots of recipes (except I think Hannah can do a little better than cool whip frosting in multiple desserts), a story within the story, and secrets from decades ago, you will be entertained until the end.
S Vanorse
Nov 30, 2018 rated it did not like it
5 chapters in and I am done, really who edits this crap, Fluke should slow down and do research on what she is saying and less on testing her recipes, which I used to enjoy reading but all sound like a heart attack waiting to happen, the pork recipe has over 6,000mg, of salt before she tells you to add salt to adjust seasonings! Then you have a run down hotel, no water, no electricity, in Minnesota, old lady living there, every one in town knows this, falls down and breaks hip and goes into ...more
Christmas Cake Murder by Joanne Fluke is the 23rd book in the Hannah Swensen Mystery series. This book takes us back to before Hannah opened her cookie shop and tells us how it came about. This book was a major disappointment. There is no murder despite the title and no real mystery. There were plenty of recipes but they used ingredients only available in America. I kept waiting for something to happen, but the book just seemed to drag.
I am addicted to serial mysteries and have quite a few that I follow. As my friend Chris would say, "We are completists" so if I read a couple of books into a series, I feel compelled to continue reading them as each new one is published. This isn't a bad thing usually since if you like the first few, why would it change so radically as to come to dislike the series?

I have come to dislike this series because it began to get irritating, silly, and nonsensical with the main character, Hannah,
Dawn Michelle
There are a few things I need to say about this book and not all of them are positive.

1. CLEARLY the author has never dealt with grief or the death of someone close to her. Or if she has. she has a very...ummm...structured? way of looking at life. The fact that everyone was stressed out that Delores [Hannah's mom] was not "back to normal" a mere 3 weeks after her husband passed [and while we are at it, let's talk about the lack of grief or sadness amongst the three sisters - my Dad died THREE
Oct 16, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: cozy, christmas, mystery
This cozy is a flashback to an early time in Hannah’s life. If you’ve wondered how she acquired her cookie shop, the answer is here. This delightful Christmas tale is a light and happy mystery, and has a story within the story. It also contains several mouth-watering recipes. Both stories have their own mystery, but eventually converge. It was interesting to see this young Hannah before she is caught in the throes of undecided romances, in this heart-warming and entertaining novel, perfect for ...more
Linda Hartlaub
Dec 06, 2018 rated it did not like it
Shelves: cozy, mystery
Who is writing these books? Who is (not) proofreading these books? Is the author relying on AI to complete the books? Why do I do this to myself? I keep hoping that Joanne Fluke will take the reins back instead of leaving things up to some mysterious 8 year old. Why do I do this to myself?

I can't believe that a grown person is creating the recent Hannah Swensen books. The conversations are so strained and lack any sophistication. They all go something like this:
"Something something," said
Mar 01, 2019 rated it did not like it
Shelves: library
There is no actual murder that takes place in the book. The characters in this book were reading a book which is where the murder takes place. There is a little bit more but that's a spoiler.
Inside the book the characters are reading there is a woman named "Rose", Lisa says "Hey! What if this character Rose is based off of our own friend Rose!" The others respond by saying "NO THIS BOOK TAKES PLACE IN NEW YORK IT CAN'T BE ROSE." Then the book reads something along the lines of, "*gasp* i'm SO
Sep 27, 2018 rated it did not like it
The worst in the series
Jan 01, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Such a sweet story! I loved it! Even though it was a bit of a "cold case" story :) Fast paced, and, well I just love Hannah and her sisters :D
Sep 17, 2018 rated it liked it
This book actually tells of an event which took place early in Hannah Swensen's cookie-baking career. Hannah and her sisters charge their mom with recreating a Christmas Cake Parade like the one an older lady named Essie discusses. They discover a manuscript written by Essie. Hannah purchases the building which will become the Cookie Jar. We finally reached an "attempted murder" near the end of the book, but most of this is simply back-story. While the descriptions of eating the baked goods is ...more
Dec 12, 2018 rated it did not like it
Shelves: flora-book-club
This was, by far, one of the worst books I have ever had the misfortune to read.

Why you might ask, did you decide to read this book?

The answer, as is the answer for many other books I read, is that I read it for my family's bookclub. Our bookclub consists of my mom, sister, grandma, aunts, and a few others. The demographic is largely women of middle age or older, with my sister and I being the youngest of the bunch.
We usually take turns to choose books, and normally we do a serviceable job
Dec 16, 2018 rated it liked it
This is a flashback to the origins of the Cookie Jar, when Michelle is still in high school, etc. I took it out looking for what happens after the last book in the series (a series that fit with a reading challenge, and the main reason I read it :) ). One of the things that is going on is a recreation of a Christmas ball. The Christmas cake in mind is not the typical one that "nobody" seems to like (I have relatives who like Christmas fruitcake, but I have never cared for it).

It's a fun read--I
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Like Hannah Swensen, Joanne Fluke grew up in a small town in rural Minnesota where her neighbors were friendly, the winters were fierce, and the biggest scandal was the spotting of unidentified male undergarments on a young widow's clothesline. She insists that there really are 10,000 lakes and the mosquito is NOT the state bird.

While pursuing her writing career, Joanne has worked as: a public

Other books in the series

Hannah Swensen (1 - 10 of 25 books)
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  • Sugar Cookie Murder (Hannah Swensen, #6)
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