Hannah has decided which of the three marriage proposals to accept and it's Ross Barton, her old college friend. Hannah at first wants to have a quiet ceremony with just her mother and sisters with no reception because she doesn't want to put Mike and Norman in a painful situation. She is soon set straight by her family who insist that the men can handle it and everyone in the town wants to be a part of her wedding and she'd be letting them all down, so she readily agrees, once that's fixed. The only problem is that she is going to be competing in the Food Channel's dessert chef contest and her and Ross want to get married before the contest which is being held in New York. But her family comes through again by taking care of the minor pesky details of the wedding that Hannah would have hated to have to have dealt with anyway.
Then she hears from the Food Network that they are moving the competition up a week and that the winner of the first round of the competition in New York will have the home court advantage, so-to-speak, as the show will move to their hometown for the rest of the contest. The Food Network is ecstatic to find out that Hannah is getting married and wants to film it as part of the show if she wins the first round. Hannah and her youngest sister, Michelle, who is acting as her assistant, do research on the judges, especially the head judge, Alain Duquesne, whom their friend that they all call Aunt Nancy, happens to have known when she was growing up and has inside info on what he likes and doesn't like. Hannah is worried about doing this at first until everyone assures her that all the other contestants will be doing their own research too.
When Hannah talks to Norman about being a groomsman for Ross, he tells Hannah to call him if anything ever goes wrong and that he will always be there for her. Which is strange. Then Mike tells her to call him if Ross ever tries to hurt her. Both men are friends with Ross, so this behavior is odd. Do they sense something off in Ross that Hannah can't see yet, or are they just upset that she isn't marrying them? When they go flying to New York, Ross takes them up to the exclusive Sky Lounge he still belongs to from his old days as a big-time show producer. Then when they are expecting to be shown to their coach seats they instead find themselves in first class because Ross used his sky miles to bump Hannah, her sister, him and his cameraman, as he is going there to do a shoot of the show for the local TV station. At the hotel, their room has also been bumped up to a suite. Hannah is wondering how he can blow through his savings this way.
Hannah and her sister, of course, win the first round and they all end up back at Lake Eden, Minnesota. But the contest is cut-throat, as at the first round one of the contestants purposefully offered bad advice to another and then stole her recipe from her station. But at the Lake Eden Inn, where the contest is being held, the security is heightened and everyone is on their guard. That does not, however, stop someone from being murdered. And this is one of the rare books where Hannah does not find the body. No, it's finally Michelle's turn. She finds Chef Alain Duquesne stabbed in the freezer with the cake knife they used on their wedding cake that they had baked the day before. Two wineglasses are found at the scene but otherwise nothing else is out of the ordinary and the security cameras going in did not seem to catch anything.
No one seriously thinks Hannah or her sister had anything to do with this murder, but the suspect list is long as no one liked Alain. Not the contestants or the other judges. Will Hannah solve this murder in time to finish the contest and get married? Will she marry Ross at all? Or will she marry someone else? There are a lot of really good recipes in this book. I have already tried the Rainbow Cake one to rave reviews at my book club meeting. I can't wait to try out the rest.
Link to Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Wedding-Murder-Hannah-Swensen-Mystery/dp/1617732168/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1473257899&sr=1-1&keywords=wedding+cake+murder+joanne+fluke