cover image Christmas Cupcake Murder

Christmas Cupcake Murder

Joanne Fluke. Kensington, $22.95 (288p) ISBN 978-1-4967-2912-5

Recipes dominate bestseller Fluke’s amiable 26th Hannah Swenson mystery (after Coconut Layer Cake Murder). Early one December morning, Hannah Swensen, owner of the Cookie Jar bakery in Lake Eden, Minn., is baking German chocolate cupcakes when she hears a knock at the door. Outside is a stranger asking for work. Hannah invites the man in, and over coffee the two discover a mutual love of German chocolate cake. The stranger reminisces about how his mother always used to give him an orange when she made him one for his birthday. Recipes follow for German chocolate cake and frosting. The man leaves after doing a few odd chores for Hannah, who later that day finds him lying unconscious in her mother’s storage shed. The doctor who treats the man diagnoses that he has amnesia brought about by a blow to the head. After many more recipes and discussions of food, the stranger’s fondness for oranges provides Hannah with a clue to his fate. Fluke’s easygoing style compensates for the minimal sleuthing. Cozy fans with a sweet tooth will be more than satisfied. Agent: Meg Ruley, Jane Rotrosen Agency. (Oct.)