Book Review

Murder At The Christmas Cookie Bake-Off

Murder at the Christmas Cookie Bake-Off

  • Author: Darci Hannah
  • Genre: Cozy Mystery
  • Publication Date: October 5, 2021
  • Publisher: Kensington Publishing Corporation
  • Series: Beacon Bakeshop #2

Thank you to NetGalley for providing me with an ARC of this book. I am offering my honest opinion voluntarily.

CONTENT WARNING: murder, blood, infidelity

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Tucked away inside an old lighthouse in Beacon Harbor, Michigan, bakeshop café owner Lindsey Bakewell is ready to make her first Christmas in town shine bright. But her merry plans crumble fast when murder appears under the mistletoe…

With the spirit of the holidays wafting through the Beacon Bakeshop, Lindsey thinks she has the recipe for the sweetest Christmas ever–winning the town-wide cookie bake-off. Unfortunately, striving for a picture-perfect December in Beacon Harbor is a lot like biting into stale shortbread. Low on staff and bombarded by visits from family, Lindsey can barely meet demands at work, let alone summon the confidence to face fierce competition…

Self-appointed Christmas know-it-all Felicity Stewart is determined to take the top spot in the bake-off, and she’s not afraid to dump a little coal in everyone’s stocking to do it. Just as the competition heats up, everything falls apart when the judge is found dead–and covered in crumbs from Lindsey’s signature cookie!

Solving a murder was never on Lindsey’s wish list. But with her reputation on the line during the happiest time of the year, she’ll need to bring her best talents to the table in order to sift out the true Christmas Cookie culprit.

I love this series — enough that I’ll read a Christmas themed story. I never read Christmas stories because I have no connection to that holiday, and it’s usually overkill to have Christmas shoved down my Jewish throat for several months. The songs, ads, sales, and overwhelming amount of books is just … a lot. But this book made me willing to set my natural avoidance aside. And it was worth it.

I missed Lindsey, Wellie, Rory, and Kennedy, so seeing them was like visiting with old friends. I’ve worked in restaurants for many years, so I think it accurately portrayed the immense amount of work that goes into preparing for a regular day of work in food service, let alone around the holidays when you’re short-handed. I was so stressed for Lindsey! Even if I was drooling while reading about all of her yummy baked goods. But don’t worry — there are recipes included at the end of the book so you can make some of these amazing sounding goodies.

So, I have to be honest. My favorite character is Wellie, hands down. Lindsey’s Newfoundland dog is front and center in a lot of the story and he’s a total scene stealer. But the other characters are pretty awesome too. I think that Hannah’s strength with these books is her way of making so many characters seem shady and have a good motive, but sneaking a bunch of completely innocuous characters in and then BAM! The villain is the character you’d never have expected. Although there were a few characters that I suspected, the real baddie was someone I didn’t see coming at all. 

There’s humor, romance, and plenty of Christmas stress. Oops, did I say stress? I mean CHEER. I liked how the spirit of the story wasn’t about what you have or do, but who you are with. There was a good message along with the great plot and great characters. I enjoyed the wintery setting, especially as the weather has *finally* started to cool off around here. This is a series that I knew I was hooked on immediately, and this has absolutely convinced me. I’m absolutely stuck on the Beacon Bakeshop, and look forward to more of them. 

People who have sat around with me while I’m reading, especially when there’s a surprising reveal, a shocking plot twist, or an unexpected event often look up in alarm when I gasp audibly. The gasp factor is directly related to the number of times I audibly gasp during a reading, and there isn’t an upper limit.

Gasp Factor: 10

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