flowers are blooming, the bees are buzzing and the festivities are
underway in Lake Eden, Minnesota. Summertime has arrived, and so
has the Beeseman-Herman family reunion. And who better to provide
some tasty treats to the families than Hannah Swensen, owner of The
Cookie Jar bakery?
Since several of Hannah’s close friends and family members
are involved in this reunion, it’s only natural that she is
hard at work in her kitchen providing sustenance for the families
gathered to enjoy the festivities. One of the specialties of the
day is her famous carrot cake. The dessert loses some of its
appeal, however, when Uncle Gus is found dead with two pieces of it
by his side.
As Gus is the uncle of her business partner, Lisa, and the brother
of close friend Marge Beeseman, Hannah feels compelled to solve the
murder of the man who has just returned to the fold after a 30-year
absence. Where had Gus been? Why did he return now? What did he
want? These are questions that only time will answer.
Although Gus returned flashing expensive jewelry and wearing even
more expensive clothes, something doesn’t add up about the
man who fled town in the middle of the night three decades ago.
There is no lack of suspects in this murder, so it would be easier
to figure out who didn’t want him dead than to track down who
Hannah has her hands full as she works hard to come up with one
tidbit after another, soothe the ruffled feathers of her
temperamental cat, Moishe, and solve this mystery on a bare minimum
of sleep. She also continues to be torn between two men of interest
in her personal life: Norman the dentist and Mike the detective,
both of whom want Hannah all to themselves.
Hannah doesn’t have a lot of time to dither about which man
she prefers, however, because it looks like Grandpa Jack may be
blamed for Gus’s murder due to his advancing
Alzheimer’s and a long-lasting grudge against the deceased.
Hannah feels sure that Grandpa Jack isn’t the one who did
this dirty deed, so she must do everything in her power to keep an
innocent man out of jail and a murderer from going free.
CARROT CAKE MURDER is every bit as fun and entertaining as the
previous nine Hannah Swensen mysteries. It’s almost like
having your own family reunion when you get to catch up on
what’s going on in Hannah’s life and visit with her
mother, two sisters and close friends. There is just something so
inviting about the town of Lake Eden and its residents that
you’ll want to pull up a chair and sit a spell!
The plethora of tasty recipes included in each installment
doesn’t hurt either! In this one you’ll find such
treats as Viking Cookies, Hannah’s Special Carrot Cake with
Cream Cheese Frosting, Cocoa Fudge Cake, Rocky Road Bar Cookies and
17 others for a total of 21 concoctions to urge you into your
kitchen. The mere mention of Norman’s special egg salad had
me stirring up a batch of my own before I could even finish the
book. I would warn everyone against reading CARROT CAKE MURDER on
an empty stomach!
Reviewed by Amie Taylor on December 26, 2010