Friday, May 30, 2008
Is that Jack Frost?
For an inexplicable reason, I picked up The Candy Cane Murders about the same time I picked up Sugar and Spice (review here, both holiday collections featuring Hannah Swensen novellas by Joanne Fluke, despite the fact that both are Christmas-themed. I've been on a Hannah Swensen kick, reading the whole series (except for Carrot Cake Murder, which I'm waiting to come out in hardback), and I have a bit of a compulsive streak when it comes to series, and I really want to read the whole series, and in order. So publishers love me because they can trick me into buying collections featuring my favorite series characters, which exposes me to other authors with the same publisher. In the case of Sugar and Spice, it didn't work because it was more romance, while I'm more of a mystery gal, so I just read the Hannah Swensen and skipped the rest. But Candy Cane Murders was a big hit with me. Not only was the Hannah Swensen novella a fun diversion with great-sounding recipes, I read on and really enjoyed the Laura Levine entry. I think I read This Pen For Hire, the first in the Jaine Austen mysteries, but it didn't make much of an impression. The novella here, The Dangers of Candy Canes, was really funny and well-plotted, making me interested in trying Levine again. I also kept going and read the Leslie Meier novella, a Lucy Stone story told in flashback. I read several of the Lucy Stones at one point, and I think they're perfectly serviceable cozies, but not my favorites. This novella was surprisingly sweet and if it hadn't been 85 degrees, might have put me in the Christmas spirit. If you've enjoyed books in any of the three series, or are a mystery fan looking for some holiday cheer in your stocking, this book is probably worth picking up.