Book 14,5 in the Hannah Swensen Mystery series, published October 2011.
When Hannah Swensen finds her neighbour Ernie Kusak with his head bashed in and sprawled on the floor of his condo next to an upended box of Hannah's Gingerbread Cookies, she discovers a flurry of murder suspects that's as long as her holiday shopping list.
This one is just a short novella, and I am not going to read the other two stories in this anthology, as I don’t like those cozy mystery series. I just bought it for the Joanne Fluke story, which is a series I love. If you scroll back a lot, you will find more reviews.
I have to admit, I am not really impressed with this story. Perhaps because it is a short one, and the mystery is solved very easily. Hannah has a new obnoxious neighbour, Ernie Kusak. He just won 8 million in a lottery, and is letting it role. Spoiling his two kids to the bone, and giving he recent ex-wife a lot of grief. And now, almost Christmas, he is going all out. Laser shows on the roof of the apartment building, but the worst thing is, the extremely loudly played Christmas songs. Hannah can’t even hear her oven timer, and has to wear earplugs inside her apartment. They worked fine out on the shooting range, but they can’t muffle the Christmas music!
She tries to go out to Ernie to get him to stop the circus, but he doesn’t answer the door. Likely he just can’t hear her. Hannah gets rescued by her good friend Norman, who takes her cat Moshe to his house, and Hannah out to dinner. Coming back, they run into Mike, another good friend of Hannah, and the local sheriff. He has had so many complaints, he is there to shut down the power to Ernie’s apartment. To the relief of them all. Then Ernie’s ex-wife comes out to meet them, and hands Mike the key to Ernie’s apartment. Which she copied when her daughter left her key at home one day. So she doesn’t want anyone to know she does have a key. When Mike and Hannah head over the Ernie’s apartment, Norman takes Lorna back to her apartment, as she is not properly dressed for the Minnesota freezing cold evening. Hannah has been curious about Ernie’s pleasure dome for some time now, and want to take a peek inside. Discovering Ernie’s dead body in the kitchen, with her own Gingerbread Cookies lying broken all over the floor, was not what she wanted to find. Someone bashed his head in with the water pitcher!
Suspects galore, as all the neighbours were complaining about Ernie, but Hannah is soon convinced Mike and her brother-in-law Bill have arrested the wrong person. So it is up to Hannah and Norman, with a little help from Andrea and their mother, to find the real killer again, as the police are satisfied with what they have done.
A nice little mystery, but as I said, not really suspenseful. Also no real surprises in the private life department. If you hate love-triangles, this is not a series for you. Hannah has been torn between Norman and Mike for years now, unable to choose between them. She just hopes to find someone with both their good trades mixed up. I just hope she chooses Norman, as he really does love her and wants to do everything for her, and appreciates her. Sure, a dentist can be boring, and Mike is incredibly handsome, but he has a roving eye, and does not really appreciate Hannah for who she is.
As Hannah owns a bakery, the book is filled with Hannah baking cookies, and serving them to her customers, her friends and family trying out new ones. And of course, lots and lots of recipes after each chapter, which makes the book read even faster as I skip those. But be warned, you sure will get hungry reading this novella.