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"A Toot-Hansell Christmas Cracker: 12 Short Tales and 12 Festive Recipes. A Beaufort Scales Collection"
For fans of Kim Watt and her Toot-Hansell Women's Institute and the Cloverly Dragons (and all of the tea and cakes, pies, tarts, and scones they eat in each edition), this collection is a sweet treat that stands apart from the others.
There are several differences between this novel and the other Beaufort Scales Mysteries, the most notable being the recipes that are included between chapters rather than downloadable at the end of the book (though they are downloadable as a separate document as in the past as well). On the one hand, I enjoyed reading through each recipe "in real time" as each one is an item that's been shared with among the ladies (and/or dragons) in the previous chapter. On the other hand, the recipes did interrupt the flow of the mystery and there were times that I thought to skip over the recipe and keep reading the story - but couldn't help myself and read the recipe anyway.
The clever, fun part of this book is that the mystery grows throughout the book, and each chapter somehow involves a representation of one of the twelve days of Christmas. A cheeky example - the crisis of chapter two involves snapping turtles (not turtle doves). It's another great mystery by Kim Watt, involving more of the WI, DI Adams and Collins, and of course the dragons and other Folk one has to be sensitive enough to see.
I'm certain that by the time I've read all seven of the books in this series, I'll have gained ten pounds. It's my own fault, though. Ms. Watt does include a "Cake Advisory" at the beginning of each of her novels. Cheers!