Book 13 in the Hannah Swensen series, published in 2009, but I wait for the paperback version to be published. Strange though, my cover is green, not yellow like this one. Of course, there are lots of recipes in this book too. As I always skip those, the book is actually a lot thinner than it looks …
The Cookie Jar's busiest time of the year also happens to be the most wonderful time...for Christmas cookies, Hannah's own special plum pudding - and romance! She also gets a kick out of 'Lunatic Larry Jaeger's Crazy Elf Christmas Tree Lot', a kitschy carnival taking place smack-dab in the middle of the village green. But then Hannah discovers the man himself dead as a doornail in his own office... Now, with so many suspects to investigate and the twelve days of Christmas ticking away, Hannah's running out of time to nab a murderous Scrooge who doesn't want her to see the New Year.
There really are a lot of storylines running through this book. Norman’s mother is acting strange lately, cancelling appointments with both Hannah’s mother Dolores as Norman, making excuses, and just not telling anything. So Dolores asks Hannah to find out what she can. A bit later Norman is also worried about his mother, and Mike is even suspecting her of shoplifting as he sees her leave the mall at closing time almost every day, laden with shoppingbags.
Dolores asks Hannah to join her in business class, as Carry can’t come with her, again. There they learn about bad business, paying in cash instead of checks so you can keep your books better. The teacher even gives out homework assignments, the books from a bankrupt corporation to study why they went bankrupt.
Norman wants to give Hannah a Christmas tree, even though she suspects her cat Moishe will just demolish it. And of course, she is right. So Norman and Mike have to make the tree catproof, after he demolished her great-grandmothers handmade ornaments.
In college, Hannah almost runs into the one man she hoped never to meet again …
Her cookies are best sellers at the Crazy Elf Christmas Tree lot, so Hannah and Lisa are very busy baking batches of cookies and cakes, and Hannah invents a new Plum Pudding, not the original English one, which doesn’t taste all that good, but a version with actual plums in them.
And then, the murder investigation. Her mother finds out the deceased was married to one of her friends, who has no alibi, so Hannah finds herself promising to find the real killer, as Mike will of course think the wife did it for the money.
But there are the investors to think of, the fiancé and other ladyfriends, so suspects a plenty. Luckily Andrea and Dolores help Hannah with the investigation by asking their friends and acquaintances what Hannah needs to know.
This time, I knew who the murderer was even before the murder took place. But that didn’t make the reading any less fun. Hannah still cannot decide between Norman and Mike, though she knows she will never be certain if Mike will be faithful to her, and Norman really loves her and wants to make her life easier. She feels comfortable and secure whenever she is with Norman, but still she cannot choose. Norman really is a saint to wait this long and so patiently!
Hannah and Lisa bake loads of new cookies in the Cookie Jar, and they sure sound delicious! But I am very sure I could not live in the cold of Minnesota winter, where you have to plug your car in a heatersystem to keep it alive, and dress in many layers to keep from getting frostbitten.
I love all the characters in this series, they are well written and funny and just normal people. I can just see them when I close my eyes.
What I am not so happy with is the fact the book ended with a real cliffhanger. The one man Hannah never wants to see again, is in her house, at Christmas Eve dinner, invited by her baby sister. And then the story just stops. I need to know what happened back then, and what will happen next! And it will take ages for the next book to be published in paperback. I am so very tempted to read the ebook now.
Off to bed now, and there I will think on which book to start reading tomorrow in the train to visiting my friend. After all, there is plenty to choose from!