My grandpa Gil is always getting me in trouble and this time he’s invited a fudge-loving prince from Belgium to visit us in Door County, Wisconsin.
The prince is excited about a legend of a nun who may have hidden a divinity fudge recipe during the Great Fire of 1871 that swept our region and killed a thousand people or more. It happened on the same dates as the Great Chicago Fire.
Grandpa insists the prized recipe is hidden in a local church. He’s told the prince that I’ll make the fudge from that recipe. Talk about pressure! I bet the real Cinderella didn’t have to worry about this sort of thing before the ball.
Grandpa and I own Oosterlings’ Live Bait, Bobbers & Belgian Fudge & Beer. Everything in Wisconsin ends with “and beer.” Our town of Fishers’ Harbor is on a peninsula in Lake Michigan known as the “Cape Cod of the Midwest” because of its rustic beauty and tourism.
My signature recipe is Cinderella Pink Fudge, which is a vanilla-cherry fudge made with our famous Door County cherries.
The locals are very excited that the Cinderella fudge lady might become a real Cinderella. My boyfriend, Dillon Rivers, is amused, though I sense a bit of jealousy, too.
Grandpa believes the divinity fudge recipe is hidden in a church in Namur, Wisconsin, a few miles south of our shop. Namur is near where I grew up on a farm near Brussels. The early settlers named the local towns for their villages back home.
A true legend here speaks of Sister Adele Brise, a Belgian nun who taught school children when the Belgians first settled our county in the 1850s and beyond. If you look her up on the Internet, you’ll find that even the New York Times wrote about her. Why? Because the Catholic church says she’s the only person in the entire United States who has experienced a credible sighting of Mary, mother of Jesus. And that sighting happened here in the 1800s near where I live.
The five-alarm trouble for me started when Grandpa told the prince about that legend. Grandpa has been doing research on our ancestry and he insists we’re related to the royal family. He’ll do anything to please the prince. Now it seems all of Belgium is excited about me finding that fudge recipe and making “the” divinity fudge. I’m in a divine mess!
My girlfriends, Pauline and Laura, and I have looked high and low in the quaint, little church in Namur where Grandpa is sure we’ll find the recipe. But nothing pops up in all our searches but old coal dust—until we find a dead body.
Then a series of fires in the church and in the places I frequent begin to turn my life to cinders.
Dillon doesn’t like the threats on my life. He doesn’t like how it’s changing me. He sees the stress. He tries to help. He’s a construction guy who knows the secret hiding places inside buildings. He and his hunting dog, Lucky Harbor, find intriguing surprises but not before more of my dreams go up in smoke.
Grandpa believes this fudge recipe is worth millions. But is it worth my life?
You can read more about Ava and her prince in Five-Alarm Fudge, the third book in the “Fudge Shop” mystery series, published by Obsidian. The first two books in the series are First-Degree Fudge and Hot Fudge Frame-Up.
GIVEAWAY: Leave a comment by 12 a.m. eastern on April 22 for the chance to win a print copy of Five-Alarm Fudge. The giveaway is open to U.S. residents only. Winner will be notified within 48 hours after giveaway closes and you will have three days to respond after being contacted or another winner will be selected. Make sure to check your SPAM folder.
About the author
Christine is a writing teacher at University of Wisconsin-Madison Continuing Studies where she mentors writers of novels, screenplays, plays, and short fiction. She directs the “Write-by-the-Lake Writer’s Retreat” every June. Her other publications include Spirit Lake, a romantic suspense novel. Christine is a past winner of the Slamdance Film Festival and optioned that screenplay to New Line Cinema. She’s a member of Mystery Writers of America, Sisters in Crime, Romance Writers of America, Writers Guild of America, and Wisconsin Screenwriters Forum. www.christinedesmet.com.
First-Degree Fudge enjoyed 10 weeks on the Barnes & Noble mystery bestseller list.