by Sandra Murphy
& Nancy Coco
Up this week a review of another fun new food mystery, this one by Nancy Coco. We also have a fun food related guest post from Nancy along with a recipe! Details at the end of this post on how to enter to win a copy of Murder Has Nine Lives, and a link to purchase it from Amazon, as well as a link to purchase it from an indie bookstore where a portion goes to help support KRL.
All You Need Is Fudge: Candy-Coated Mystery series by Nancy Coco
Review by Sandra Murphy
Allie McMurphy runs the Historic McMurphy Hotel and Fudge Shop on Mackinac Island. She’d planned to train with her grandfather, but he passed away before that could happen. Now she’s in charge, but thanks to great employees, she’s able to keep going while learning.
Making fudge for the day starts early, so it has time to set. She has regular fudge demos and always sells out of the day’s fudge after passing out samples. After that, she’s free to relax and walk her Bichonpoo, Mal. Unfortunately, Mal insists on looking into the water along the marina where they find the body of a young woman, floating face up. Allie is able to get her ashore, but there’s no hope of saving her.
The woman is Carin Moore, a member of one of the richest families on the island. She was not a nice person. The question is, did she fall overboard and drown or was she thrown? It’s race week, always a busy time on Mackinac, and not a good time to have a murder, but Carin was dead before she went in the water due to a wound on her head.
The list of people who didn’t like Carin could be pretty long but of those, the number who would actually kill her is much shorter. Allie is stunned when her friend Paige is arrested for the murder. Paige and Carin had been rivals in everything since their school years. It seems Paige stole Carin’s boyfriend recently, and after an argument, Paige struck her.
Allie feels, as the person who found the body and a friend, she has to help clear Paige’s name. Allie mostly asks questions but does manage to put herself in danger because of it. Thankfully, she has a good relationship with the police, especially Rex.
This is the fourth book in the Candy-Coated Mystery series. There are fudge recipes scattered throughout the book which may cause drooling on the pages as you read. The side characters are good ones from Sandy who makes chocolate sculptures to Jenn who arranges special events at the hotel. There’s Frances who runs the registration desk and keeps the hotel going. Allie is able to meet new people as she investigates at places as varied as the senior center or another hotel. For a (mostly) relaxing visit to Mackinac Island, designed to make you crave fudge, this is a good place to start.
Baking is in My Soul
By Nancy Coco
I grew up baking. In fact, I made my first cake from scratch when I was five. It was called a Lazy Day Cake and was a simple yellow cake. As I grew older, I got braver and learned to make cookies and candies and breads and pies and all sorts of pastries from scratch. I always wanted to be the person who could create a desert from a recipe in their head.
My parents enrolled me in 4H where I practiced the art of baking and candy making and cake decorating often times winning blue ribbons at the county fair. In high school, I sold decorated cakes I baked in my mother’s kitchen. When I was in college, I used to draw boys to our apartment by baking cinnamon rolls and brownies.
As I became a mom and a writer I let baking fall to the side. It wasn’t until I was diagnosed with Celiac Disease that I had to pull out my baking skills and learn how to cook without wheat flour, rye, barley, etc. I once again began to experiment with baking. It was a joy to start the Mackinac Island Fudge Shop Candy-coated Mystery Series. I was finally able to connect my love of making tasty treats with my love of storytelling. It’s why Allie McMurphy often is story telling as she does a fudge making demonstration. It harkens back to my days of 4H cooking demonstrations.
Below is a simply flourless fudgy brownie recipe. I bet you can make it today!
1 ½ sticks of butter
1 ¾ cups of sugar
1 1/3 cups of baking cocoa
½ teaspoon of salt
1 teaspoon of vanilla
1 ½ teaspoons of cinnamon
Grease an 8×8 in cake pan. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. In a medium sauce pan on medium low heat, slowly melt the butter. Once melted remove from heat and stir in the sugar, cocoa, salt, vanilla, and cinnamon. Stir until well combined. Then gently beat in the eggs one at a time—do not over beat. Pour the dough into the pan and bake for 20 minutes. Take out and put on a rack to cool.
To make a quick chocolate frosting sprinkle chocolate chips on the warm brownies. When the chips melt, spread them with a knife.
Allow to cool—cut into 2 inch squares and enjoy!
I sometimes will top them with peanut butter frosting. What is your favorite type of brownie?
To enter to win a copy of All You Need Is Fudge, simply email KRL at krlcontests@gmail[dot]com by replacing the [dot] with a period, and with the subject line “fudge,” or comment on this article. A winner will be chosen August 6, 2016. U.S. residents only. If entering via email please include your mailing address, and if via comment please include your email address.
Check out other mystery articles, reviews, book giveaways & short stories in our mystery section.
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