Life is always sweet in Allie McMurphy’s delectable fudge shop. But murder can make things unpleasantly sticky . . .
A DEADLY CONFECTION
After Allie inherited her family’s McMurphy Hotel and Fudge Shop, cousin Tori moved off to California in a bitter huff, and the two haven’t spoken since. So to have her cousin reappear on Mackinac Island without warning is a big surprise—but not as surprising as finding her standing over a dead woman impaled with a garden spade in the Mackinac Butterfly House. Butterflies may be free, but Tori won’t be for much longer—unless the cousins can bury the hatchet and work together to catch a killer who’s taken flight. Because when it comes to family, blood is thicker than fudge . . .
Praise for Nancy Coco and the Candy-Coated Mysteries
“Memorable characters, a charming locale, and a satisfying mystery.” —Barbara Allan
“Beautiful Mackinac Island provides the setting for a puzzling series of crimes . . . plenty of plausible suspects and mouthwatering fudge recipes.” —Kirkus Reviews
“I know I will be counting down the days until the next mystery with Allie McMurphy.” —Cozy Mystery Book Reviews
About the Author
Nancy Coco is the acclaimed author of the Candy Coated Mysteries, the Oregon Honeybee Mystery series, a number of romantic suspense novels, Western historical romances, and four additional mystery series written under the name Nancy J. Parra. An Air Force veteran who rose to the rank of sergeant, Nancy is a member of an online group of female veterans—Military Women Who Have Turned Sword to Pen (RomVets.com). She is also a member of Mystery Writers of America and Sisters in Crime. Nancy lives in Oregon with a Bichonpoo affectionately known as “Little Dog” on Facebook and Twitter. Visit her online at www.NancyJCoco.com.
The author will donate a portion of her earnings from this book to the ASPCA®.
Learn what you can do to help at www.aspca.org/donate.
Read an Excerpt
The Mackinac Island Butterfly House didn't open until ten AM on Monday, but I had a message from Blake Gilmore, the current manager, that she needed to see me about a possible tour group staying at the McMurphy. I walked my puppy, Mal, around the back of the Butterfly House looking for an open door. I saw movement in the greenhouse and figured Blake was watering plants or checking the butterflies.
"Hello? Blake?" I called as I opened the back door and pushed through the plastic flaps that kept the butterflies in the greenhouse. I was hit by the tropical humidity of the glass building. Bright blue butterflies floated about and I was careful where I walked as different sizes and shapes and colors of butterflies alighted on every surface. Mal tugged on her leash, pulling me through the lovely winding, lush trail of the greenhouse that contained the live butterfly collection.
Suddenly I heard a short scream. My heartbeat sped up and Mal and I ran toward the sound. I stopped short at the sight in front of me. "Tori?"
Mal tugged at her leash, but I held her back.
There beside the cascading waterfall fountain was my cousin, Victoria Andrews, kneeling over a woman. Tori held the handle of a gardening trowel in her hands. The rest of the trowel was stuck firmly in the chest of a woman I didn't know. The woman's jeans-clad legs were oddly angled. Her hands spread out, but empty. A pool of blood blossomed from beneath her checkered blouse. Butterflies landed on her and took off as if she were no more than a rock or convenient plant.
"Tori, what's going on?" I couldn't tell if Tori was pushing the trowel in or pulling it out. But when she saw me, she let go of the handle and held up her hands as if I were the police and had just said, "Freeze!" Her blue eyes filled with fear. Her long blond hair was pulled back in a low ponytail, but a streak of blood caressed her cheek. Her bow-shaped mouth trembled and her tanned skin looked ashen. "Tori? What's going on?"
She stood and wiped her bloody hands on the front of her jeans. I could see that she was shaking from head to toe. "It's not what it looks like," Tori said with a wobble in her voice.
Mal dragged me toward the scene. "No," I said and tugged Mal back as I took out my cell phone. "Tori, sit down." I ordered as I pointed to a nearby raised bed made of bricks. "You're in shock." I dialed 9-1-1 and eased my cousin over to the round flower bed to sit on the edge. Mal jumped up beside her to comfort her and ended up with blood on her white fur.
"Nine-one-one, this is Charlene. What is your emergency?"
"Allie McMurphy, this can't be good. Where are you? I'll send Rex over there right away."
"Thank you," I said. Rex Manning was the lead policeman on Mackinac Island and a good friend. "I'm at the Butterfly House. Tell him to come around to the back. We're in the greenhouse."
"He's on his way," Charlene said. "You said 'we'?"
"Yes, it's me, my cousin Victoria, and —"
"Another dead person?"
"Well, she certainly looks dead," I said. "I haven't touched her."
"Then how do you know she's dead?"
"There's a hand spade sticking out of her chest and she's not moving." I wasn't going to tell Charlene that my cousin might have been the one to put the spade there. Not until I had all the facts. "Let me check for a pulse."
I skirted around the pool of blood and put my fingers on her neck. She felt warm, but there was no pulse. I shook her shoulder. "Are you okay?" But her eyes simply stared lifeless into the skylights. "She doesn't respond to verbal cues and I didn't feel a pulse."
"Enough said," Charlene said. "I swear we've never had this much trouble until your Papa Liam passed. God rest his soul."
It was then that Tori moaned. "I think I'm going to be sick."
"Charlene, I've got to go," I said and hung up the phone. I had a doggie doo bag in my pocket. I carried them with me whenever I walked with Mal. I handed it to Tori. "Breathe into the bag," I said. "I think you're hyperventilating."
"It's not breathing that's a problem," Tori said before she turned her head and emptied her stomach into the bag.
I put my hand on her back as she heaved. "It's going to be okay," I said.
Mal put her paw on Tori as if to comfort my trembling cousin.
"What happened? Did you stab her?" I asked. "Was she attacking you?" The dead woman appeared to be middle-aged. Her feet were ensconced in gray and pink walking shoes. She had black hair pulled back into a neat ponytail. There was a streak of white hair along the left side of her face. She had high cheekbones, thin lips, and wide-open brown eyes that stared at the glass ceiling.
"No, no, she wasn't attacking me," Tori said and lifted her head from the baggie. "I didn't kill her. It's Barbara Smart. I was supposed to meet her here this morning to talk about a fund-raiser. I found her like that."
"But you were holding the handle of the trowel." I had to point out the obvious.
"I wanted to help her. I thought if I pulled it out I might be able to do CPR, but as I tugged, more blood came out and I was afraid I was only making things worse. Then you came in. Did I hear you correctly? She didn't have a pulse?"
"No, she didn't," I said. "Didn't you check for one?"
"I know it's the first thing they tell you to do when you take a CPR class, but I didn't. I panicked and knelt down and shook her shoulder. I thought I heard a moan so I tried to take the blade out. That's when you got here."
"Did you see anyone?"
"No," Tori said and hung her head. Tiny purple butterflies landed on her shoulders. "You and your dog were the first live people I've seen."
"Wow, okay, so what time was your meeting? Was Blake supposed to be here? After all, Blake manages the Butterfly House."
"Barbara and I met with Blake last night. Blake had another meeting this morning, but she told Barbara and me that we could meet here to finish the details."
"Wait. You were here last night?"
"And you didn't call me? It's before the ferries come so you had to have stayed on the island last night. Why didn't you let me know you were coming? We have room at the McMurphy. You could have stayed with me."
She gave me an angry look. "I didn't think I was welcome at the McMurphy. You own it, not me — even though our great-grandfather started it."
"What?" I straightened away from her. "Papa Liam always said your family didn't want anything to do with the McMurphy even after my father moved us to Detroit. It's the only reason I took it over."
"Listen, can we talk about this later?" Tori said. "Barbara's lying there dead."
"Sure," I said. "But we will finish this conversation. Where are you staying?"
"Dad still owns a cabin on the far north side. I'm staying there."
"What's going on?" Officer Rex Manning walked in through the vinyl flaps from the back door. His black police boots clomped on the brick pavers that were laid down to form the winding trail between the raised beds. "Charlene says you found another body?"
"Hi, Rex," I said, and stood. Mal jumped off the edge of the flower bed and raced over to beg Rex to pet her. He reached down to pat her and noticed the blood on her paws. "Sorry, kid, can't touch you when you have evidence on you." He looked up at me with his flat blue gaze. "What happened?"
Rex wore a perfectly pressed police uniform. He took his hat off the minute he entered a building, showing off his shaved head and square jaw. The man had the build of an action movie hero and the attitude that went with his good looks. An orange and black monarch butterfly landed on his arm.
"I had an early appointment with Blake," I said. "The front door is closed until ten AM so I came around back. I saw movement in the greenhouse and I thought it was Blake so I came in. I heard a scream and rushed toward the sound to find my cousin Victoria, here, kneeling over the woman with the garden trowel in her chest." I pointed at the body.
"I see." Rex walked over and checked the pulse point at the dead woman's throat. He glanced over at Tori who had put the doggie doo bag down by her feet and had her head between her knees. "This woman is dead," Rex announced and picked up her wrist. "She's still warm. I don't think she's been dead long, but we'll have to wait for the coroner's report to know for sure." He stood and went over to Tori. "Tori Andrews?"
Tori looked up at him. "Hi, Rex."
I frowned. How did they know each other?
"It's been a while," Rex said as he squatted down to look Tori in the eye as she hung her head. "I thought you were in California."
"I am," she said and took a deep breath then blew it out slowly. "Up until yesterday."
"You have blood on you. Can you tell me what happened?"
Mal tried to nudge herself between Rex and Tori. Rex gently pushed Mal back and sent me a look that silently told me to take care of my pet. I scooped up my evidence-covered pup and took a step back, knowing that the EMTs were most likely on their way along with the county CSI guy, Shane Carpenter.
"I was supposed to meet Barbara here this morning, but when I arrived she wasn't in the office. So I came out here looking for her," Tori said and put her head between her knees. "I heard a noise and came this way. That's when I saw her lying there by the fountain. I called her name and knelt down to shake her. You know, like you are supposed to do for CPR."
"Is that how you got blood on you?" he asked. Rex was calm and there was kindness in his tone I hadn't heard in a while.
"Yes," Tori said. "I thought I heard her moan and was going to pull out the trowel. I grabbed the handle and then thought, What if that will make things worse? So I stopped. Then Ally came in. She got me to sit down."
Rex looked at me. "Why did you come here?"
"I had a meeting with Blake."
"I see." Rex stood. "Did you see anyone else?"
"No," I said and shook my head.
Just then Blake came around the corner. "What's going on? I saw Rex's bicycle parked out front. Wait!" She froze in place and put her hands over her mouth. "Barbara?" It came out as a shocked whisper. Then her knees buckled. Rex and I got to her at the same time and each took one of Blake's elbows and helped her slowly to a bench. "Barbara? Oh, Barbara! What happened?" She glanced from me to Rex to Tori. "Tori?"
"I found her like this," Tori said.
Mal put her front paws on the bench seat and looked from one distressed woman to the other as if unsure how to comfort them both.
"Is that a trowel? Who would do such a thing?"
"We'll find out," I said, and patted Blake on the shoulder. Blake was an older woman in her mid-fifties. She had light brown hair highlighted with blond streaks that shimmered in the daylight. Her face was round and pretty. She was of average build and could pass for younger. Today she wore a pair of jeans, sneakers, and a white polo shirt with the Butterfly House logo monogrammed on the left breast.
George Marron and Walt Henderson came in through the vinyl strips that covered the front entrance to the greenhouse with a stretcher between them and their EMT bags in their hands.
"What do we have?" George asked. George was the lead EMT on Mackinac Island. He had long black hair that was pulled back in a single braid, copper skin, and the high cheekbones of his Iroquois ancestry.
"Dead body," Rex said in a low tone. "She's probably been gone about forty-five minutes to an hour, but we'll have to wait for the coroner to find out for sure."
"Cause of death seems pretty clear," Walt said. Walt was a tall, thin man with gray hair and a hawk-like nose. He had sharp features and dark brown eyes. His skin had the weathered look of a fisherman or at the least someone who knew their way around the water.
"Tori Andrews," George said. "When did you get back on the island?"
"Hi, George," Tori said and tried to sit up straight. "Sorry, I can't." She grabbed the doggie bag and heaved again.
George let go of the stretcher and went over to her. I watched as he checked her pulse and eyes. "You're in shock." He waved for Walt to bring a blanket over, then slung the blanket around Tori's shoulders. "Are you hurt?"
"No," Tori said, and shook her head.
"There's blood. I should check," he said.
"It's Barbara's." Tori closed her eyes. "I tried to take the spade out of her chest, but I couldn't. It was making things worse. Oh my, there's blood everywhere."
"Okay, well, let's take you back to the clinic and get you checked out just in case. Okay?" George looked at Rex who nodded.
"I'm fine, really," Tori said.
"You should go," I said. "They can give you something to settle your stomach and, besides, the crime scene guy will want your clothes. You're covered in evidence."
"Come on," George said and helped her to her feet. "Allie and I will take you to the clinic."
"What about Barbara?" Tori asked as she glanced at her friend one more time.
"Walt and Rex will take good care of her," George said.
"Come on, Blake," I said and tugged Blake to her feet. "Come with us. You look a little shocky yourself."
"I can't leave Barbara," Blake said with tears in her brown eyes.
"It's okay. Rex is with her," I said and locked my arm with hers. "Tori can really use our comfort right now. Right?"
"It is better if you ladies stick together," George said as he walked Tori out the door.
Shane passed us on the way out. He wore his navy blue CSI jacket and ball cap. His horn-rimmed glasses emphasized his concerned eyes. "I hear you've found another crime scene."
"Not me this time," I said. "My cousin Tori did." I pointed toward George and Tori.
"Tori Andrews?" Shane said, and his face burst into a wide smile. "When did you get back on the island?"
"Yesterday," I muttered. "She just didn't tell anyone."
"I had meetings," Tori said.
I frowned as Shane made his way into the building. "Gee, Tori, everyone seems to know you."
"They should. I went to school with all of them up until senior year when Dad moved us out to California. Unlike you, Allie," Tori said, "I'm not a fudgie."
I bit back a retort. After all, Tori had just found a woman lying dead in a pool of her own blood. That kind of shock did things to people. I looked at George who simply shrugged at me.
"Poor Barbara," Blake said, bringing my attention back to the older woman who clung to me. "Poor Barbara. She didn't deserve to die."
"No," I said and patted Blake's arm. "She didn't."
"Who could have done such a thing?" Blake asked. "Barbara wouldn't hurt a flea."
"I didn't know Barbara," I said, "but no one deserves to die like that."
"I've got to put up a sign," Blake said and pulled away as if to go back into the crime scene. "I've got to let everyone know that the Butterfly House is closed. I've got to let Barbara's family know."
"The police will take care of her family," I said and gently guided Blake back toward the ambulance. "You need to take care of yourself. Trust me, you've had a shock. You should go to the clinic and get checked out."
George helped Tori into the ambulance — one of the few motorized vehicles allowed on the island for safety purposes.
"Let George help you," I said. Mal nudged Blake as if to let her know that she was not alone in her sorrow.
"Thank you, it's so upsetting," Blake said as I helped her up in the ambulance. Mal jumped up with them.
"Is it okay if Mal goes with you?" I asked George.
"She should be quarantined until any evidence she's carrying is collected," he said and slipped bags on her paws. "Are you staying?"
"I should give my statement and see if there is anything that Rex or Shane needs," I said.
George nodded and closed the doors on the ambulance. "We'll take good care of these girls. You can pick Mal up after Shane gets his evidence."
"Thanks." I waved them off as he slowly drove away. I turned and looked at the trail to the Butterfly House entrance. What a terrible thing to happen in such a fun and beautiful place. First thing I should do was to put a note on the door. The next was to go back inside and see what I could do to help figure out who would do such a terrible thing. Last was to figure out why my cousin Tori didn't feel that she could stay with me. Was she hiding something? Was it something that had to do with the dead woman on the floor of the Butterfly House?
Excerpted from "Oh, Fudge!"
Copyright © 2017 Nancy J. Parra.
Excerpted by permission of KENSINGTON PUBLISHING CORP..
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
I really love reading this series. That cute Lil Mal is just so darling. Someday I hope to do some traveling and go be a fudge on Mackinac. The predicaments that Allie gets herself into are just so funny. I do catch on to who I think is the killer early and am usually right. But the storyline this time was so different I didn't try to guess. I just enjoyed the ride. I also love the recipes. I am planning on trying one of the recipes for New Years Eve.
Really enjoy all the adventures Mal gets into and how the people in her life are getting into her line as well. Great character development over the series. Liking forward to many more.
Love this series.
This is my favorite cozy series! I love Nancy Coco's writing. Love the characters and the fur babies! Nancy does a great job describing Mackinac Island and the feel of it.
In this fifth trip to Mackinac Island we find Allie McMurphy still running the McMurphy Hotel, making fudge and finding dead bodies. When Allie heads over to the Butterfly Conservatory for a meeting with Blake, the woman who runs it, she finds more than she bargained for. She finds Barbara with a hand spade in her chest and her cousin Tori, with her hands on the spade. Allie has no idea her cousin in on the island but she is sure that she didn't kill anyone. Once again, she decides to investigate to clear her cousin who is the number one suspect. As she investigates, we meet more of the permanent residents of the island, particularly the older generation. It is funny how the news of the investigation and Allie's life travel so fast that when she goes to talk to people they already know what is going on. Of course, the whole book is not about the murder. Douglas Devaney (the McMurphy’s handyman) and Frances Wentworth (the McMurphy’s reception manager) finally plan their wedding. Allie and her cousin Tori have issues about the ownership of the McMurphy, there are smuggled diamonds and Tori and Brent are having problems. Will she finally give Rex a chance? The storyline is well plotted with a cast of relatable characters. The story has enough twists, turns, and suspects to keep the reader involved. I thought I knew who the murderer was part way through but with the final twist, turned out I was wrong. I highly recommend this book to readers of cozy mysteries, those who want a nice clean mystery and of course those who love books that incorporate food into the story and provide great and easy recipes. The pubisher generously provided me with a copy of this book via Netgalley.
Another sweet confection of mystery and murder from author Nancy Coco. When I first heard about the Candy-Coated Mystery series, I was excited for two reasons. 1) I have had a long love affair with Mackinac Island since the first time I saw the movie Somewhere In Time. I’m going to get there one day. 2) Fudge. I mean, come on . . . FUDGE! In book six of this tasty series, author Coco has outdone herself. Books one through five were all wonderful, but I simply couldn’t stop reading OH, FUDGE! for even a second. She had me locked in with the first five words . . . The Mackinac Island Butterfly House. Coco brought it so to life, I honestly felt the butterflies flitting past me. I loved being back at the McMurphy Hotel and Fudge Shop with Allie, and the entire cast of characters. It’s always like getting together with old friends. You know, if one of your old friends is always involved in murder. ;-) Other than that, it’s like paradise! Of course, I can’t forget to mention the mystery. Or should I say mysteries? Hmmm . . . What I can say is, from the first chapter on, OH, FUDGE! had nothing but excitement, mayhem, laughter, confusion, and repeat, do it again, and more! The author really had me running in circles trying to figure this one out. I was quite breathless by the end of the story. Take all of the above, and add in the fudge recipes sprinkled throughout the book, and you have a perfect cozy mystery. Seriously, you will need to set aside a day to read OH, FUDGE!, because you’re going to have as hard a time as I did putting it down!
Allie inherited her family’s Hotel and Fudge Shop, the McMurphy. When her cousin Tori shows up on Mackinac Island after living in California, she is angry and rude. Allie learns of her cousins visit on the island when she walks in on her standing over a dead woman impaled with a garden spade. Allie hasn’t spoken to her cousin in years and doesn’t understand why she is treating her like a mean stepsister. She soon learns that Tori is resentful because she did not inherit the hotel and fudge shop and blames Allie for it. When all is said and done, family comes first. Allie doesn’t believe her cousin is a killer, no matter what the investigator thinks. Butterflies may be free, but Tori won’t if the cousins can’t bury the hatchet, preferably not in each other's backs, and work together to catch a killer. -- Series: A Candy-Coated Mystery Author: Nancy Coco Genre: Cozy Mystery Publisher: Kensington Oh Fudge is a great romp through Mackinac Island with delicious fudge and murder. Nancy Coco, has crafted an intelligent and entertaining mystery. The story tests the family dynamic and throws in fudge recipes that will make the reader's mouth water. The setting is ideal for a murder mystery. The residents use a bicycle or walk to get around the island. The only way off the island is by air or boat. This guarantees the reader that the killer is not only still on the island, but is most likely one of its citizens. It is an investigator's dream scenario and his worst nightmare at the same time. The characters are well rounded with traits that endear them to the audience and allows the reader to understand the relationship interactions with little to no explanation. Although this is the 6th book in the series, it can easily stand on its own. Readers won’t get lost trying to figure out what happened previously or who the players are. The only thing missing from the story would be a better look at what Mackinac Island life is truly like. The action throughout the book is consistent. At times the plot will make the reader anxious to turn the page and keep reading to find out what happens. The words flow nicely, and the story is fast-paced. The reader can easily relate to the main characters. The killer is revealed, and all questions about the murder are answered with a satisfying ending. This book and “A Candy-Coated Mystery” series is highly recommended. If you enjoy out-of-the-way vacation destinations, fudge, and personal glimpses into a character's life, you will enjoy Oh Fudge and the writing of Ms. Coco.
Oh, Fudge by Nancy Coco is the fifth story in A Candy-Coated Mystery series. Allie McMurphy arrives at The Mackinac Island Butterfly House when she hears a scream. She rushes in to find her cousin, Tori kneeling over a woman with a trowel in her chest. The victim is Barbara Smart with whom Tori was meeting with to discuss an upcoming fundraiser for the butterfly house. Tori, who lives in California, resents that Allie inherited The Historic McMurphy Hotel and Fudge Shop from Papa Liam. When it is discovered that Tori argued with the victim, she ends up the prime suspect. Allie knows Tori did not commit the crime and sets out to find the real killer. She soon discovers that Tori is conducting her own investigation. Can Tori and Allie team up to discover who murdered Barbara and why? They will need to work quickly, because Allie has a wedding to attend (Frances is getting married). Oh, Fudge is easy to read and has a nice pace. I thought the murder and secondary mystery were intriguing. However, the killer can be identified early in the book and the secondary crime is equally easy to solve (insert disappointed sigh here). I kept hoping there would be a twist that would catch me by surprise. I was not a fan of Tori and her attitude. She quickly grated on my nerves. My rating for Oh, Fudge is 3 out of 5 stars. There was a definite repetition of details regarding the crimes and some inconsistencies (could have used another going over by the editor). While Oh, Fudge is the fifth book in in A Candy-Coated Mystery series, it can easily be a stand-alone. The author provided all the necessary background details on Allie, how she inherited the hotel, and some of the crimes she has solved. I wish the author had not devoted so much time to Allie and her romantic entanglements. There is a love triangle (of course), and I tired of the jealousy (it was ridiculous and unrealistic). I like the cute animals included in the story, the beautiful setting, and the delicious fudge descriptions. There are fudge recipes included in the novel. The next story in A Candy-Coated Mystery series is a Christmas novella titled Deck the Halls with Fudge.
I always enjoy my visits with Allie McMurphy and her friends even if she does take chances that don't always make sense. In Oh, Fudge! she was able to convince me that, while not necessarily wise, her choices were the only option she had. That alone takes this book a step above many popular cozy mysteries. The puzzles are interesting and do not fall quite the way I expect which adds to my enjoyment of the book. Her cousin arrives on the island just in time to be suspected of murder, so naturally Allie has to investigate even though her cousin is not exactly sending off the buddy vibes of their youth. Old friends who help and support her add a warm element to the series. Frances and Devaney are ready to get married with the help of Jenn and Allie. Rex continues to frown over Allie's constant involvement in his investigations, even as he lets her know that he very much approves of her on a personal level. Trent declares his love as strongly as ever but Allie hasn't completely forgiven him for closing her out during a recent murder investigation and now a new incident puts another road block in their relationship. Oh, Fudge! is an all round winner and I can't wait for the next book in the series, and the next, and the next.
Dollycas’s Thoughts I have never been to Mackinac Island, it is a place on my travel bucket list. As soon as I finished this book I Googled Mackinac Island Butterfly House. It sounds like a delightful place to visit and a perfect place for a fictional murder. That’s were Allie finds her cousin Tori with her hand on a garden spade stuck into the chest of a woman. Allie has not seen Tori in years and was not expecting her to come to the island. Tori was not happy when Allie inherited the McMurphy but Allie knows she isn’t a killer. It will take more than fudge to bring these girls together but they are going to have to put their feud aside and work together to find the real killer or Tori will be saying more than “Oh Fudge!” Each and every character in this story just shines. From the staff at McMurphy Hotel and Fudge Shop to those at Gossip Central, I mean the Senior Center, they all have a part to play in clearing Tori’s name and catching the real killer. At the same time plans are underway for Frances and Mr. Devaney’s wedding. Allie’s romance has hit a rough patch but it may be time to shake things up a bit. There is always something happening and the main plots and subplots are blended so nicely. The author’s descriptive writing style takes us right into the action. Over the course of this series I have the island so clearly pictured in my mind, if I do ever get there for a visit it will be strange for these characters not to be there. The other thing the author describes well is how the fudge is made and she has included recipes in the book too. My problem is that I want fudge and lots of it while reading the story so I need to plan ahead much better by sneaking a peek at the recipes first or stock up on fudge from a closer outlet. Nancy Coco has created wonderful characters encased in a puzzling mystery all set in a perfect place to escape. A yummy story all the way around.
What a delight to be back at the McMurphy Hotel and Fudge Shop on Mackinac Island! Allie has new fudge recipes to share, and her pup, Mal, has new tricks to show friends and visitors. We also get a glimpse into the island’s butterfly house, based on a real and fascinating attraction. Fifth in its series, Oh, Fudge! can be read as a standalone. Allie was going to see the manager of the Mackinac Island Butterfly House and Insect World to plan a package tour. Allie hears a scream, and rushes in to find … her cousin, Tori, holding the handle of a gardening trowel plunged into the body of Barbara, a wealthy widow? With Tori holding the bloody hand spade, she is the only suspect. Tori had come back from California to plan a fund-raiser at the Butterfly House with Barbara, but was clearly too late. Tori doesn’t like Allie, yet Allie wants to find the real culprit(s) as she believes Tori is innocent. Tori lived on the island most of her life while Allie, a summer visitor, inherited the McMurphy. Allie learned to make fudge with secret family recipes, and went to college to help her learn culinary skills. Allie had renovated the McMurphy. Now Tori wants part of the Hotel and profits as her portion of the inheritance. As if Allie doesn’t have enough going on, she finds out her boyfriend Trent is back on the island from a business trip the hard way. While walking Mal, she passes the stables owned by Trent’s family and finds Tori kissing Trent – and him kissing her back. No. Way. Rex, the island’s lead policeman, keeps a close eye on Allie as he knows how she likes to ‘investigate’. Even if her love life is as messy as heated and spilled fudge, Allie can focus on the murder. Nancy Coco has mixed together an eclectic group of people that, perhaps because of their eccentricities, works! Take Barbara, for instance. She seems at first like an innocent lady in her late sixties, possibly in the wrong place at the wrong time. When Allie begins to find out more about her, what skeletons are dancing in her closets! Tori, who seems to hate Allie, is loved by most on the island because she is from there, while Allie is still considered a “fudgie”, a tourist who comes to taste the world-famous fudge. Yet Allie is more devoted to the neighbors on Mackinac Island than most people. This riveting read has several mysteries going on, making it increasingly suspenseful and interesting. There is no shortage of suspects in Barbara’s murder; she was known to bribe people when necessary and change men frequently, including husbands of her friends. Allie goes the distance trying to find the bad guy(s), even talking with the seniors at the center who hear all the gossip. I love the setting, Mackinac Island, the McMurphy, and the Butterfly House! There are plot twists that rival the LA freeway system, and I wouldn’t have it any other way! Even though I figured out part of the resolution, there was part that I didn’t. I absolutely enjoyed watching Allie and Tori try to find solution and learn the motives, and found the solutions satisfying. I highly recommend Oh, Fudge! It is at times LOL funny, at other times purely suspenseful or heart-pounding. It is not, however, ever dull! From a grateful heart: I received this eBook from the publisher and NetGalley, and this is my honest review.
Oh, Fudge is the fifth book in the A Candy Coated Mystery series. Monday morning begins with two shocks for Allie McMurphy. Allie was to meet with Blake Gilmore at the Butterfly House to discuss arrangements for a tour of Butterfly House, but what she sees instead is he estranged cousin, Tori, holding the handle of a garden trowel still firmly embedded in the lifeless body of Barbara Smart. Tori’s story is that she was to meet Smart to go over plans for a fundraiser and when she arrived she found Smart and was about to remove the trowel and perform CPR, she claims. The story behind the estrangement, which Allie didn’t know, was that Tori felt their grandfather should have left the hotel and fudge shop to both of them, Even with Tori’s major attitude about this, Allie still feels that blood is thicker than water and wants to work with Tori to prove her innocence. Allie soon learns that Smart had a propensity for having affairs with men whether they were single or not and begins to think that maybe an affair had gone wrong. Then when Blake’s home is robbed and a workshop area at the butterfly house is ransacked, that puts a new angle on the investigation. Then when Tori goes missing, and evidence shows she probably didn’t leave on her own accord, Allie needs to put all her efforts into finding the true killer. Another fun visit to the McMurphy Hotel and Fudge Shop and the residents of Mackinac Island. Allie’s manager, Francis, and Mr. Devaney agree to put off the wedding until the killer can be found. As always, Jenn, Allie’s friend and event planner at the hotel is there to also help Allie. Also, there is Trent, who has been dating Allie and Rex, the police chief, who is also starting to show some interest in Allie and not only for her sleuthing skills. I love this series and will definitely be watching for the next book. Delicious fudge recipes are also included in the book.
I received an ARC of Oh, Fudge! I love this series. This particular book had a murder to be solved, of course. It also had family conflict when Allie's cousin Tori arrived back on Mackinac Island. Tori is upset because she didn't inherit a share of the McMurphy Hotel and she also happens to be the primary suspect in the murder. It had a wedding -- not Allie's. It has romance and romantic conflict -- Trent and Allie and Trent and Tori and Allie and Trent and Allie and Rex. As an added attraction, there are more fudge recipes!
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