Growing up I was lucky enough to spend summers on Mackinaw Island helping my Papa Liam and Grammy Alice run the Historic McMurphy Hotel and Fudge Shoppe. Mackinaw Island is nestled between the upper and lower peninsula of Michigan and is known for its Victorian charm (no automobiles are allowed on island,) and its World Famous Fudge.
My father had chosen not to go into the family business and so it was left to me to fill Papa Liam’s rather large shoes. The plan had always been for me to get my degree in hotel management, my master’s in the culinary art of candy making and spend a year or two under Papa Liam’s tutelage before taking over the business. But just before I graduated, Papa had gone toes up-or in his case, nose down at the senior center while playing his weekly game of pinochle. By the time I had gotten through the funeral and the reading of the will, I had thirty days to get the McMurphy ready for the tourist season that started with the Memorial Day weekend.
I was in the middle of a much needed remodel when I discovered that Papa Liam had more than a skeleton in his closet. He had the completely dressed and slightly bloated body of his rival–Joe Jessop.
A frustrating call to the 9-1-1 dispatch brought me a visit by the handsome, man-of-action, Officer Rex Manning who confirmed that Joe Jessop was indeed in my utility closet, very dead. As I was kicked out of the crime scene which also happened to be my residence, Joe’s handsome wealthy grandson, Trent Jessop was called in to identify the body and make the family arrangements.
Before I knew it I had more than a remodel to worry about before the opening weekend of the season. I had an island taking sides over whether I was innocent or guilty of murdering Papa’s enemy.
To keep my business plan on track and prove my innocence, I set out to figure out who really killed Joe Jessop. Not an easy feat considering I was handling contractors, a nonexistent handyman and an island dividing itself into the Jessop camp and the McMurphy camp. To help keep me safe, Papa’s reservation desk manager and family friend, Frances Wentworth, gave me a bright eyed, fluffy bichonpoo puppy. Marshmallow, Mal for short, had one job -– to keep me safe from bad guys. Apparently keeping a fluffy. shed-free puppy in a hotel and fudgeshop was the best idea ever. While I searched for the killer, supervised the remodel, and created new fudge recipes, Mal was busy sniffing up clues and making friends with the most interesting islanders.
If a cute puppy, the island where the movie “Somewhere in Time” was set, and hunky policemen aren’t enough reason to read my story, I’ve included ten original fudge recipes. The majority are part of my 21 and over fudge series based on classic cocktails.
Here’s a taste:
Easy Pina Colada Fudge
5 cups white chocolate chips
4 tablespoons butter
1 can sweetened condensed milk
1 8oz can crushed pineapple
1 tablespoon coconut milk
1 cup shredded coconut
1 oz spiced rum (to taste)
Butter an 8x8x2 inch pan. Line with wax paper or plastic wrap. Drain pineapple reserving juice. Combine pineapple juice, rum, coconut milk – mixing well.
In a double boiler – melt chocolate, butter, and sweetened condensed milk until smooth. Be careful not to burn. Add liquid 1 tablespoon at a time stirring after each. (more or less to your taste)
Remove from heat. Add crushed pineapple (I added only half the can.) and coconut. Pour into pan. Cool. Tip: let cool outside of the refrigerator for 30 minutes so that no condensation mars the top. Refrigerate overnight. Remove from pan. Cut into pieces. Store in a covered container.
Until next time, enjoy! Allie
You can read more about Allie in All Fudged Up, the first book in the new “Candy-Coated” mystery series, published by Kensington. Books are available at retail and online booksellers.
Nancy is giving away one (1) copy of “ALL FUDGED UP”. Leave a comment to be included in the giveaway. Contest ends November 7; US entries only.
Meet the author
All Fudged Up is the debut of Kensington’s new Candy Coated Mystery series by Nancy Coco also known as Nancy J Parra. Inspired by the gentile Victorian feel of Mackinac Island, Nancy asked the people at The Island Bookstore if anyone had ever written a mystery series set on Mackinac Island. The answer was no. Nancy went to work with a poll of Island visitors and locals. If an amateur sleuth lived on Mackinac Island, what would she do for a living? The overwhelming answer was run a Fudge Shop, of course. Mackinac Island is known for its world famous fudge. The rest is history. Nancy’s alter ego, Nancy J Parra has an MA in Popular Fiction and a day doesn’t go by when she isn’t working on a new story or walking her own bichonpoo known affectionately on line as Little Dog.