Tag Archives: Nancy Coco

A Day in the Life of Allie McMurphy by Nancy Coco

Hi all, most of you know me by now. I’m happy to be sharing my newest adventure in “Oh, Fudge!” out the end of August.

This morning I had a meeting with Blake Gilmore, the manager of the Original Mackinac Island Butterfly House and Insect World. But Blake was not the first person I ran into.

I get up pretty early every morning to make fudge. This means nothing much gets by me, except my cousin Victoria. Unfortunately, today I found Victoria kneeling over a dead woman. Butterflies and rumors swirl as I spend most of my day trying to figure out why Tori is on the island, why everyone knows except me, and how Tori is connected to my boyfriend Trent.

I am shocked to learn she’s on Mackinac Island to plan an event. It turns out that Tori has hurt feelings over my inheriting the McMurphy-something that never occurred to me as my Papa Liam had groomed me to take over the family business from childhood. Those hurt feelings mean she didn’t contact me to let me know she was coming. In fact, she wouldn’t have talked to me at all if I hadn’t found her with her hand on the murder weapon.

To top it off, it seems I’m the only one in the dark about Tori. I soon discover the locals know Tori better than I do and it makes me feel like an outsider again. You see, Victoria grew up on the island and moved away to California. I grew up in Detroit and moved to the island. Islanders are a tight knit group. They don’t warm up easy to transplants- even ones with long family ties. This being my first season, I had yet to prove my staying power.

An even tougher truth to swallow is that Tori and Trent dated in high school. My complicated love life, gets even more troubled when Tori turns to Trent-not me- for help.

This is not my best day. It was an even worse day for the dead woman, Barbara Smart. But there’s no time for a bad day with a full hotel and busy fudge shop. Plus, Jenn and I have Frances’s wedding to plan.

At the end of the day, I’m left wondering what new surprises tomorrow will bring. Will I be able to help Victoria solve Barbara’s murder? Or will my cousin, my boyfriend and the rest of the island shut me out of this investigation? Only time will tell.


You can read more about Allie in Oh Fudge!, the sixth book in the “Candy-Coated” mystery series.

Life is always sweet in Allie McMurphy’s delectable fudge shop. But murder can make things unpleasantly sticky . . .

A DEADLY CONFECTION

After Allie inherited her family’s McMurphy Hotel and Fudge Shop, cousin Tori moved off to California in a bitter huff, and the two haven’t spoken since. So to have her cousin reappear on Mackinac Island without warning is a big surprise—but not as surprising as finding her standing over a dead woman impaled with a garden spade in the Mackinac Butterfly House. Butterflies may be free, but Tori won’t be for much longer—unless the cousins can bury the hatchet and work together to catch a killer who’s taken flight. Because when it comes to family, blood is thicker than fudge . . .

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About the author
Nancy J Parra AKA Nancy Coco AKA Nell Hampton is the author of over 25 published novels which include five mystery series: The Candy-Coated Mysteries (Kensington), The Kensington Palace Mystery Series (Crooked Lane), The Wine Country Tours Mystery Series (Crooked Lane) The Gluten-free Baker’s Treat Mysteries (Berkley Prime Crime), and The Perfect Proposal Mysteries (Berkley Prime Crime). Her writing has been called witty and her protagonists plucky by reviewers around the world. Nancy is a member of Sisters in Crime, Mystery Writers of America and writes for the Killer Character Blog on the 8th of every month. Nancy loves to hear from readers. Connect with Nancy at nancyjparra.com

All comments are welcomed.

A Day in the Life of Marshmallow McMurphy by Nancy Coco

All You Need Is FudgeHi, I’m Marshmallow, Mal for short, and I’m a bichon poodle mix. My day starts by waking my human, Allie McMurphy. I wake her with kisses and happy jumps. I get down and wait patiently while she gets dressed. Then it’s breakfast for me and coffee for her. She likes to get up very early to make fudge. I’m not all together sure what fudge is, because Allie tells me that chocolate isn’t good for me. But I do know Frances, the receptionist at the Historic McMurphy Hotel and Fudge Shop, sometimes will let me taste the peanut butter fudge. It is yummy. Not as yummy as bacon, but yummy. Wait-is there such a thing as bacon fudge? If not, I think there should be.

After Allie makes fudge we go for our morning walk. I love walks. Mackinac Island is full of great smells in the morning. It is quiet and the big horses are not out yet. This morning we walk to the marina. Allie said something about seeing yachts. I don’t know what a yacht is, but I smell something in the water. It smells different. So I go over to the side of the dock to see. There is a girl in the water. She smells like dead things. I want Allie to get her so I can roll on her. I love to roll on dead things. So I bark.

I can always count on Allie to pay attention when I bark. What I didn’t expect was for the silly human to jump in the water with her clothes on and drag the girl to the shore. It seems like a lot of fun. There’s splashing and muttering and spitting. I wag my stub tail. I love to play! I bark and run up and down the dock then around to the Marina shore, which has a short wall. I give Allie instructions on how to get the girl up over the wall so I can rub against her and roll on her. Allie doesn’t look happy, but she finally gets the girl up on the grass.

I go to sniff, but Ally pulls me away. She is talking on the tiny box she calls a phone. I wiggle in her arms hoping she will let me loose so that I can get to the dead girl. Suddenly I hear sirens. I like sirens. That means my favorite people are coming. Yes! There’s Officer Rex. Right on time. I escape my bonds and run to him. He pats me on the head and goes to see the prize I found.

They still don’t let me near it. But that’s okay, I found it and they seem concerned. I helped. Next comes EMT George. I like George and the other officers. They all have serious expression so I jump up on them to get them to pat me and see that it’s okay. I found a prize for them. They get to play investigation now.

My work here is done. I’m pooped. Glad when I get taken back home and given a dog treat. I curl up in my bed and take a nap. I’ll help more later. Being a pup is hard work. Thank goodness for naps and treats.

Napping is my favorite thing to do besides walks. What is your favorite thing to do?


All You Need is Fudge is the fourth book in the Candy-Coated mystery series, published by Kensington, July 2016.

Fudge shop owner Allie McMurphy is making fudgie treats for the annual yacht race–but a killer’s stirring up a batch of trouble. . .

Sailing Into Murder

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. . .

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About the author
Nancy Coco is the author of over 20 published novels which include three mystery series: The Gluten-free Baker’s Treat Mysteries (Berkley Prime Crime), The Candy Coated Mysteries (Kensington), and The Perfect Proposal Mysteries (Berkley Prime Crime). Her writing has been called witty and her protagonists plucky by reviewers around the world. Nancy is a member of Sisters in Crime, Mystery Writers of America and writes for the Killer Character Blog on the 8th of every month. Nancy loves to hear from readers. You can reach out to Nancy at www.nancyjparra.com, on Twitter and on Facebook.

Giveaway: Leave a comment below for your chance to win a print copy of All You Need is Fudge. US entries only, please. The giveaway will end August 2, 2016 at 12 AM (midnight) EST. Good luck everyone!

All comments are welcomed.

A Day in the Life of Allie McMurphy by Nancy Coco

Oh Say Can You FudgeHi, my name is Allie McMurphy. I’m the owner operator of the Historic McMurphy Inn and Fudge Shop on Mackinac Island Michigan. The McMurphy has been in my family for over one hundred years and I’m the next generation to run it. I love my job as fudge maker and inn keeper, but recently I’ve sort of branched out into amateur sleuthing. It all started with finding Joe Jessop toes up in the McMurphy’s second floor utility room. With his murder under my roof, I discovered I’m pretty good at following clues and figuring out who is behind the crimes.

Of course I have help from my trusty bichon-poodle mix, Marshmallow—Mal for short. My puppy gets me into and out of all kinds of trouble. Today is no different. We were out for a walk when Mal ran off. I chased after her only to discover a shed was on fire. I got Mal out of harm’s way and called 9-1-1 just before the shed exploded. It seems that the owners were storing lawnmowers and edge clippers and cans of gasoline to fuel them. I managed to turn and tuck Mal under me to shield her with my body from the flying debris. We are safe for the moment.

This explosion is just one in a string of arsons that have been occurring on the island this year. Mal and I have managed to be at the scene of the last few and that means the police are looking at us and the arsonist/killer has to know we are steps behind him. It’s not looking good for our safety.

Arsons aren’t the only troubles on my plate. It’s July on Mackinac and I’m on the Star Spangled Fourth committee. More specifically I’m in charge of the fireworks, which were lost in the most dramatic of the arsonists events. For the first time in over one hundred and fifty years Mackinac Island’s Star Spangled Fourth fireworks celebration might not happen. It seems it will take all my wits, Mal’s ability to find clues and my friends and family’s help to catch the killer and see that the Fourth of July celebration goes off without a hitch.


You can read more about Allie in Oh Say Can You Fudge, the third book in the “Candy-Coated” mystery series, published by Kensington. The first two books in the series are All Fudged Up and To Fudge or Not to Fudge.

GIVEAWAY: Leave a comment by 12 a.m. eastern on May 4 for the chance to win a copy of Oh Say Can You 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
OH SAY CAN YOU FUDGE is the third book in Kensington’s 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. Visit Nancy at www.nancyjparra.com.

A Day in the Life With Allie McMurphy by Nancy Coco

To Fudge or not to fudgeHi, Allie McMurphy here. I’ve visited before with a typical day in my life, but things change so quickly. One minute you’re on your way to place a classified advertisement in the paper for a part-time maid and the next minute you’re pressing yourself against a closed door dialing 9-1-1 worried there might be a ferocious animal outside.

Let me elaborate. I was walking with my bichonpoo puppy, Mal, to the Town Crier when Mal went digging in the fresh mulch under the lilac brush outside of the newspaper office. Mal popped out with a bone-a rather large bone. Let’s say lower leg size bone and attached to the bone was a sock remnant. Now I was thinking maybe the bone belonged to a dog that liked socks and hiding its bones. That’s reasonable, right?

But then Mal dug back into the mulch and came out with a piece of shoe. She shook the shoe and little bones flew out–bones with neon orange painted toenails.

That’s when I grabbed my doggie and raced inside the newspaper office ensuring there was a door between me and whatever mauled that poor person’s leg off.

It’s also the first time I met Angus MacElroy. That old man didn’t help. As soon as he found out who I was, he pulled a rabbit’s foot out of his desk and placed it carefully between him and me. Why you might ask? I mean, I asked.

“Because I don’t know how to make an evil eye,” he said.

“An evil eye? I don’t get it.”

“It wards off bad omens and such.”

“What?”

“The way I see it,” he said. “You’re the bad luck.”

“Why?”

“You’re the one who finds old men dead and since I’m an old man…” He let the rest of the sentence fall off and pointed at the rabbit’s foot.

But then I wasn’t the problem. The possibility of a vicious animal mauling people outside his door was the problem. That’s how I saw it anyway. I dialed Officer Manning who was not only a friend, but who also didn’t jump to conclusions about me and old men.

It only took a few minutes for Officer Manning to show up and ensure that Mal did, indeed, discover a partial body under the lilacs. None of this boded well for the upcoming Lilac festival.

On Mackinac Island the Lilac festival is one of the first festivals of the summer season. The lilacs bloom in time for the festival and we have the only motor prohibited parade in the USA. That’s right. Mackinac Island is the island time forgot where all transportation on the island is strictly horse drawn carriage, bicycles and walking. The only exception is the thoroughly modern ambulance and fire truck. Sometimes there needs to be exceptions to the rules.

As for me and Mal, we are safe for now, but it would be some time before I actually got back to placing that classified advertisement. Before we can do that there is fudge to be made and a killer to be found.

Angus MacElroy has his rabbit’s foot. What’s your lucky talisman?


You can read more about Allie in To Fudge or Not To Fudge, the second book in the “Candy-Coated” mystery series, published by Kensington. The first book in the series is All Fudged Up. Books are available at retail and online booksellers.

GIVEAWAY: Leave a comment by 6 p.m. eastern on September 12 for the chance to win a copy of TO FUDGE OR NOT TO FUDGE. The giveaway is open to U.S. residents only.

Meet the author
Nancy J Parra AKA Nancy Coco is the author of 19 published novels which include three mystery series: The Gluten-free Baker’s Treat Mysteries (Berkley Prime Crime), The Candy Coated Mysteries (Kensington), and The Perfect Proposal Mysteries (Berkley Prime Crime). Her writing has been called witty and her protagonists plucky by reviewers around the world. All Fudged Up, the first in the Candy Coated Mystery series was a National Best Seller when it debuted in November 2013. Nancy is a member of the Killer Character Blog and loves to hear from readers. Find her www.nancyjparra.com, on Twitter or on Facebook.

All Fudged Up by Nancy Coco

All Fudged UpAll Fudged Up by Nancy Coco is the first book in the new “Candy-Coated” mystery series. Publisher: Kensington, November 2013

Welcome to the Historic McMurphy Hotel and Fudge Shop–where life is sweet, revenge is sweeter, and murder is here to to stay.

You Can’t Fudge An Alibi

Allie McMurphy is up to her neck in renovations at the grand old hotel that’s been in her family for generations. With its quaint Victorian charm–and world-famous fudge shop–the place is one of Mackinac Island’s most beloved landmarks.

Sure, every family has a skeleton or two in the closet. But Allie didn’t expect to find an actual corpse inside hers, especially one Joe Jessup, who had a long-running feud with her dear departed grandfather. Which makes Allie the number-one suspect.

Can she sniff out the culprit before another victim checks in?

This is a good read. Allie returns to continue running the family business which is marred when she discovered the body in her utility closet. Becoming the prime suspect, Allie begins to look for a killer while trying to save her family’s name and reputation. This was very enjoyable with a comfortable tone and an easy flowing storyline. Allie is a lovable protagonist surrounded by an eclectic cast of characters that support her in this delightfully charming whodunit that includes delectable fudge recipes. The author did a great job in keeping the mystery fresh and fulfilling with plenty of suspects and it was fun to watch it all play out in a great location. I love Allie’s interactions with the various people on the island and the dialogue was both witty and entertaining. This is a great debut series and I can’t wait for more sweet adventures with Allie and her friends.

previously posted on the Cozy Chicks blog

Meet Allie McMurphy by Nancy Coco

All Fudged UpGrowing 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.

You can visit Nancy at her website or on Facebook.