Candy-Coated Mystery, Book #6
By Nancy Coco
Author Website: nancyjcoco(.)com
When a film crew comes to Mackinac Island, the last thing fudge shop owner Allie McMurphy expects to find is a murder victim . . .
SHOT ON LOCATION
It’s Labor Day weekend, the official end of tourist season, and the beginning of a whole batch of trouble. First, the island is invaded by a TV crew filming a murder mystery pilot, and handsome Hollywood heartthrob Dirk Benjamin needs Allie’s help to prep for his role as local cop Rex Manning. Then, Allie’s bichon-poo Mal sniffs out a real murder in the alley behind the Historic McMurphy Hotel and Fudge Shop, a man shot in the head—with a note challenging amateur sleuth Allie to catch the culprit. Like it or not, the fudge maker has to square off against a crazy killer—but this time she may have bitten off more than she can chew . . .(Goodreads)
I love visiting Allie and her friends at the McMurphy Hotel and Fudge Shop! Forever Fudge is full of the author’s trademark humor even in the midst of the mystery. As the sixth novel in the series, this can be read as a standalone or in the order written. The Mackinac Island setting is inviting, and Allie might be spending her first winter on the island. The characters, as always, are a delight, and Mal is a scene stealer.
Labor Day has come and gone, and so have most of the visitors to Mackinac Island. Frances and her new husband, Mr. Devaney, both employees of the McMurphy, recently were married and are on their honeymoon, and the summer college intern has returned to classes. Allie, her fudgemaker/ chocolatier Sandy, and her best friend Jenn are covering all the positions until the Devaneys’ return. With several guests scheduled, Allie spends part of each day cleaning rooms while Jenn watches the registration desk. Jenn worked with Allie through the summer to help with marketing the newly-refurbished Hotel and, on the side do some event planning.
Jenn heard the scoop that Dirk Benjamin, famous movie star, is coming to the island to film a pilot for a TV show. He will play a detective, and is shadowing Rex, the island’s ruggedly handsome police officer. The show will be about a modern Jessica Fletcher who helps the island police nab the bad guy. Since Allie’s visit on a cooking reality show during the summer, she doesn’t have much interest for the movie shoot or actors. It is enough that other ladies of every age are fascinated and want to see some of the filming.
One morning Allie is walking Mal and talking with Mr. Beecher, an older gentleman who always wears a three-piece suit and walks around the island twice a day. Mal stops, sniffing around a dumpster and refusing to respond to Allie’s call to return. She and Mr. Beecher find Mal sniffing around a dead man whose face is covered by a cap. Rex and his shadow, Dirk respond to the emergency call. When Rex lifts the cap with a pencil, they see the bullet hole in the man’s head, and Mr. Beecher recognizes him as Jack Sharp. Sharp has worked for years in the stables owned by the Jessop family, one of the largest on the island.
Soon it becomes clear, as more grisly finds are made, that someone is duplicating the murders Allie has helped solve during her time on Mackinac Island – with one exception. The killer leaves a note addressed to Allie at crime scenes that includes chess moves from one of Bobby Fischer’s famous games. Someone, possibly the murderer, is doing their best to scare the McMurphy’s guests.
Allie and best friend Jenn are perfect sidekicks. They have been besties since college and, along with Mal, are my favorites. The characters are overall an awesome group of small town folks, with a handful of eccentric people and wealthy people, and a lot of down home people. The movie cast and crew move in as most summer visitors leave. The handsome star, Dirk, acts as though he is not the sharpest tool in the shed. Most women overlook that as they drink in his movie star looks. Overall, I am as excited about the characters now as in the first mystery, as each of the regular people have changed and grown through the summer.
It’s hard to believe, with all that has occurred through the series so far, that Allie has only had the McMurphy open for one season since Papa Liam passed away. She has had more … um … adventures during the past handful of months than most people do in a lifetime.. She also has two men very interested in her: the very wealthy, charming Trent Jessop of the Jessop family stables, and Rex, the slightly rough-around-the-edges island police officer. Will this be the novel in which she will decide which guy to spend time with? I know who I would opt for!
Plot twists abound, and I was almost tripped up by red herrings. I was kind of stuck between two people as suspects. Other challenges, including Jenn leaving for a fabulous job offer in Chicago, keep the pot stirred. The end has unexpected surprises, and while I was kind of right about who the bad guy really was, well, there are still surprises! I highly recommend Forever Fudge, and can’t wait for the next novel in the series!
*OBS would like to thank the publisher for supplying a free copy of this title in exchange for an honest review*