Christmas Cupcake Murder   

Hannah Swensen, Book #26

By Joanne Fluke

ISBN: 9781496729125

Brought to you by OBS reviewer Andra                   


As December turns Lake Eden into the North Pole, the heat is on in Hannah Swensen’s kitchen to honor two Christmas promises: baking irresistible holiday cupcakes and preventing murder!

While Hannah speeds through a lengthy holiday checklist, drama in town grows like Santa’s waistline on Christmas Eve. Her sister Andrea wants to stave off the blues by helping out at The Cookie Jar, Michele’s love life is becoming complicated, Lisa needs Hannah’s advice, and Delores has a Christmas secret she’s not willing to share. But nothing dampens the holiday mood more than the chilling mystery surrounding the man found near death in an abandoned storefront two doors down from Hannah’s bakery . . .

The befuddled John Doe can’t recall a thing about himself—except for his unusual knowledge of restoring antique furniture. With a smattering of clues and barely enough time to frost Christmas cookies, Hannah must solve a deadly puzzle that could leave her dashing through the snow for her life!  (Goodreads)


Christmas Cupcake Murder is the 26th addition to the Hannah Swensen series by Joanne Fluke. In trying to get in the holiday mood this year, I of course thought of grabbing this Joanne Fluke cozy mystery as I had not read it yet. 

This book is a bit different as Hannah does not have a murder to solve but she does have a mystery to solve. In the course of looking at commercial property for her mother’s antique shop endeavors they run across the John Doe that earlier in the day performed some extra tasks around The Cookie Jar for food and coffee. But now – he was not conscious and in need of some serious medical intervention.  One would hope that once John Doe felt better he would remember who he is, where he is from, etc. It is a slow process though so Hannah takes it upon herself to dig up what she can on John Doe, to help fill in the gaps in his life 

It was refreshing that this book was a mystery to solve and not a murder. I found the pace of the book good and it kept my interest. There were many facets for Hannah to discover. This title also included (naturally) some very interesting recipes.  What I must say about that is that now that I am reading this book in .mobi format – I am definitely not a fan of recipes sprinkled throughout the book. It tends to interfere in my reading. Interesting as it did not bother me when I read physical paperbacks. Just one of those things.

One thing that did irritate me, about Hannah’s mom, was her attitude towards Hannah’s hair color:

“Your sister Andrea’s blond hair is so perfect, and Michelle’s hair is a lovely shade of golden brown. My dark hair would have been wonderful for your, too. Sometimes I blame myself, Hannah, but unruly red hair like yours doesn’t run in my family at all.” “It’s all right, Mother,” Hannah told her. “I really don’t mind having hair like dad’s. It was just luck of the draw, I guess.”

We also got a flavor of Andrea – my unease is about her lack of maternal instinct for her young child. I do suppose some people like older children as opposed to infants – but to leave the child without either parent providing that all important bonding so early on did bother me just a tad.

However, the unraveling of Joe Doe’s true identity and what happened to him provided me with a number of hours of reading pleasure – and for that I am thankful.

While not the strongest story in the series, if you have enjoyed Joanne Fluke’s Hannah Swensen series, then you should enjoy Christmas Cupcake Murder as well. A lighter tale to get you in the holiday spirit.