Adapting to future needs.


Christmas Mysteries Review, Gingerbread Cookie Murder by Joanne Fluke, Laura Levine, and Leslie Meier

Enhance your holiday celebrations with this new trilogy of short Christmas stories. Bestselling author Joanne Fluke leads this entertaining and heartwarming tribute to seasonal literature. Fifteen delicious recipes complement the plot lines; It is sure to add delight to any holiday party or upcoming Super Bowl party.

Gingerbread Cookie Murder by Joanne Fluke

Christmas is a month away in Lake Eden, Minnesota, and Hannah Swensen is anticipating the holidays. As the owner of The Cookie Jar, a local restaurant and cafe, she has already started her seasonal baking.

Hannah resides in the same condo development as Ernie Kusack, a recently divorced father of two teenagers. Her ex-wife, Lorna, lives in the same complex.

Christmas music plays every day from Ernie’s condo, given all his free time. Ernie, a former Shamrock Limousine Company driver, won $8 million in the Super-Six-Lottery; and he quit his job.

Ernie agreed to Hannah’s request to turn down the volume of the music while visiting her store. Hannah gave Ernie a dozen of her gingerbread cookies to seal the deal.

When the volume of the music becomes unbearable and Hannah’s attempts to contact Ernie fail, she enlists the help of police officer Mike Kingston. Hannah and Mike enter Ernie’s condo with a key provided by his ex-wife Lorna. There, they find Ernie dead on the floor near an open refrigerator door; Hannah’s previous gift of gingerbread cookies is crumbled on the floor.

Who killed Ernie and why? Was it his ex-wife, Lorna, using her condo key? What does a cell phone number that matches Ernie’s winning lottery picks and a framed copy of the lucky ticket hanging in Ernie’s guest bathroom have to do with the crime?

Hannah Swensen is Fluke’s recurring character in her books, which incorporate food into the plot and titles. Fluke weaves thirteen delicious recipes into the story, including “Gingerbread Cookies” and “Magic Chocolate Caramel Cookie Bars,” “Baked Game Day Burgers,” and “Crunchy Crispy Smokin’ Coleslaw.” ‘ Willie” that would complement any Super Bowl party.

The dangers of gingerbread cookies by Laura Levine

Jaine Austen and her cat Prozac visit her parents over the Christmas holidays at their Tampa Vistas retirement community. Hank and Claire Austen are still madly in love after all these years despite their quirks. Claire repeatedly calls for Prozac Zoloft and pampers the feline with table scraps, much to Jaine’s grief.

Jaine writes a commercial in Los Angeles for a living; and her parents insist on presenting her daughter as a famous Hollywood writer: “She wrote” In a Rush to Flush? She Calls the Grooming Masters!”

Edna Lindstrom has written this year’s Tampa Vista Christmas play titled, The gingerbread cookie that saved Christmas; and insists that Jaine criticize the dress rehearsal. It’s as Jaine describes it, “A shameless rip off of both A Christmas Carol and Peter PanThe torturous plot involves a gingerbread man who comes to life and helps a lonely old woman discover her many blessings.”

Preston McCay, a recently retired plastic surgeon from Cleveland, joins the association. A womanizer, he quickly seduces Edna into believing that marriage is in her future and lands the lead in her play. Preston’s dialogue cannot be heard through the gingerbread man’s costumed head, so they wear facial makeup instead; making him look like a “molting bear with a human head”.

After the painstakingly long dress rehearsal, Edna suggests that the lead, Laurette Kendall, director Gloria Di Nardo, Preston, and Jaine grab a bite to eat. Preston refuses, claiming that he is too tired.

There, at the Chinese restaurant, the foursome discover Preston dining with the skinny young aqua aerobics instructor from Tampa Vista.

Jaine watches in amazement, as the ribs fly, and each lady claims that Preston had planned to get married. his.

The play’s opening night proves tragic, as Preston’s suspended pulley breaks during the finale; crashing him onto the stage. He dies of a broken neck.

Who murdered Preston McCay? Was it one of his jilted romantic interests or some other Tampa Vistas resident? Levine keeps you laughing until the end of the mystery.

Laura Levine is a Hollywood comedy writer, promoting major television credits under her name. She is currently writing the next Jane Austen mystery.

gingerbread cookies and shots by Leslie Meier

Lucy Stone is a wife, mother, grandmother, and part-time reporter from Tinker Cove Maine’s. saver newspaper.

While doing some Christmas shopping, she meets Nemo Anderson, a four-year-old red-haired boy, and his mother Ocean at the bakery counter. Nemo wants a gingerbread man cookie and his mother cries poverty. Nemo and Ocean live in the Aquarizoo, an abandoned and dilapidated aquarium that was once a tourist trap. With a shaved head and numerous facial piercings, Ocean is unconventional, to say the least.

Lucy meets Ocean and Nemo in the store parking lot after buying Nemo a cookie. There, Ocean’s boyfriend Rick Juergens picks them up in his Porsche. Rick also sports a shaved head, several rings and studs on his face, a gold tooth, and a barbed wire tattoo around his neck. The townspeople identify the couple as drug dealers.

Lucy wonders, “How can they afford a Porsche, but can’t afford a $49 cookie for their son?” Her journalistic experience reminds her that things are not always what they seem; and she suspends judgment.

The next day, while driving, Lucy hears an AMBER alert on her car radio announcing Nemo’s disappearance. Her abductor is described as “a large African-American woman wearing a maroon puffer coat.” She drives a gray Honda CR-V with a Massachusetts license plate.

What will be the fate of Nemo? He is he, and if he is so, alive or dead? Why is Nemo’s last name Anderson and not Juergens like Rick’s? What explains Lucy discovering Rick’s body in her Porsche at Blueberry Pond, shot in the head, the half-eaten Nemo gingerbread man she had given him nearby, and no sign of Nemo?

Leslie Meier is the author of sixteen Lucy Stone mysteries and has written for Ellery Queen’s Mystery magazine. She is currently working on the next Lucy Stone mystery.

Gingerbread Cookie Murder makes an entertaining seasonal read, whether at home or during your train or bus commute to work. All three stories are filled with festive feel-good fanfare despite being murder mysteries. The authors display their simple and sharp writing skills, including well-hidden plots. Complement your Christmas celebrations by reading this trilogy; and consider it an early gift for anyone on your list who enjoys literature.

To review select Joanne Fluke recipes, visit


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