Wednesday, September 14, 2016

All You Need is Fudge (A Candy-Coated Mystery #4)

Author:  Nancy Coco
Genre:  Mystery

Paperback; Ebook
ISBN #:  9781496701626
Kensington Publishing
352 Pages
$7.99; $4.99 Amazon
July 26, 2016

Five Stars



The annual yacht race off the coast of Mackinac Island, Michigan, is a highlight of the summer season, and Allie is pulling out all the stops making chocolate centerpieces for the occasion.  Unfortunately, she and her Bichonpoo, Mal, also pull a dead body from the murky waters of the marina.  When Allie's boyfriend's sister becomes the prime suspect, Allie dives into investigating the murder herself.  Amid bitter feuds and hushed-up scandals, the courageous candymaker quickly gets in over her head.  Someone is trying to fudge the facts to keep a secret worth killing for...

********

Allie McMurphy owns an historic hotel and fudge shop on Mackinac Island, Michigan that she inherited from her grandparents.  While taking her puppy Mal out for a walk on the coast one morning, she sees someone floating in the water, and pulls her to shore.  Realizing the girl is dead she calls 911 and soon discovers the dead girl is Carin Moore, a young woman about the same age as Allie.

It doesn't take long before she discovers that Carin wasn't well-liked by many people.  But did anyone dislike her enough to want her dead?  It seems someone did, and the police think that someone is her boyfriend Trent Jessop's sister, Paige.  It turns out they were seen arguing the day before the murder, and the police have enough evidence to arrest Paige on suspicion of murder.  When the Jessops close ranks against everyone in town, including Allie, she's determined to prove that Paige isn't a killer and find out the truth even if it means putting her own life in danger...

When Paige is arrested and charged with the murder of Carin, Trent withdraws from Allie and stops taking her phone calls or answering her texts.  Allie is naturally hurt and upset, and decides that she's going to show Trent she can be of help to his family by finding the real killer.  But it doesn't help that Trent's withdrawal is causing her to wonder if his feelings for her are as deep as hers for him.  

What she does find out is that everyone she talks to has a different version of the same story.  Ferreting out the truth isn't going to be easy and she needs to find out who's lying and why they want Paige to take the fall for something she didn't do.  It's not until Allie realizes that maybe it's not about Paige but Carin that she begins to put the pieces together.

This book was a delight to read, with (mostly) likable characters, transporting us to Mackinac Island and its inhabitants.  We learn more about those we've come to spend time with and meet some new residents along the way.  I especially liked the backstory of Mr. Devaney and his request of Allie's help in planning a memorable marriage proposal for Frances; it gave a needed cheerfulness to the story and a sweet touch of romance.

The tale flows well, and the characters are believable, keeping you engaged in the story.  There were quite a few twists, a lot of lies to sift through, and an ending that was something you had to really think about to discover the killer.  A thoroughly enjoyable read, and an easy one to get through in a day or two.  Highly recommended.



More on Nancy Coco's books:  https://www.fantasticfiction.com/c/nancy-coco/

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