by Nancy Coco is a sweet cozy mystery. Readers will salivate
with the fudge recipes, be charmed on the Mackinac Island,
and attempt to crack the murder mystery along with the main
character Allie McMurphy
Coco is a great pseudonym for the Fudge series. “I really
enjoy writing these cozy mysteries with the humor and solving
the puzzle. While writing my first series, I would put recipes
on my blog. Then a friend of mine suggested I should write
in this genre with a gluten free bakery. My last name was
specifically chosen for this series. I love fudge, actually
anything chocolate. The person in the apartment next to us
said it always smells like chocolate in my house. Not only
does it smell good but tastes good as well.”
Allie is an amateur sleuth. She and her dog Mal have an uncanny
ability to find dead bodies. In the past, she has helped the
police solve cases. As the owner of a delightful hotel and
fudge shop on Mackinac Island, Allie’s excitement has
grown after a television crew arrives on the island to film
a television pilot for a mystery series. Throwing a wrench
into the enthusiasm is the dead body found by Allie’sadorable
Bichon-Poo puppy, Mal. Shot in the head, the body discovered
has a letter with clues from chess moves. As the killings
mount up, the murderer continues to taunt Allie, trying to
get her to play his game.
The island plays a role in the story. “I have a huge
family living in Michigan, which is where the island is located.
If you ever saw the movie, “Somewhere in Time”
starring Christopher Reeve, you can picture the setting. The
island does not allow cars, so people travel by foot, horse
and carriage, or bicycle. It is a cool touristy place.”
There is also a love triangle. Two courters are wooing Allie.
She broke up with Trent Jessup because a long-distance relationship
is not working, with him spending a lot of time in Chicago.
The other beau is police chief Rex Manning who is being persistent
in pursuing her, yet, willing to give her time and space.
“I thought it is interesting to compare ‘in love
versus loving someone.’ I love my male friends but being
‘in love’ has excitement, a commitment, and intimacy.
Allie is starting to build connections, but some old timers
see her as an outsider. One of those who accept her as part
of the community is Rex who sees it as his responsibility
to protect her and the community.”
Actual recipes are dispersed throughout the story. “I
purposely did it this way to show what Allie is working on.
I sprinkle it throughout to give the feel and flavor to what
she is actually making. I try to relate it to the story when
possible. I remember my first contract with Kensington Books
required me to write ten recipes per book. Luckily, they downsized
that amount. Since they had to be originals, it was a relief.”
This story has an intriguing mystery, some romance, and humor.
It is a fun who done it plot that has no shortage of suspects.
Readers will be looking forward to the next installment, Fudge
Bits, out next fall, a Halloween plot. It will highlight her
cat instead of her dog that finds a Zombie body.