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First-Degree Fudge

First-Degree Fudge - Christine DeSmet

Dollycas’s Thoughts

Oosterling’s Live Bait, Bobbers, & Belgian Fudge is where Ava Oosterling sells her fudge right across the store where her grandfather sells bait, bobbers, beer and other things a fisherman may need. Located on the pier in Fisher’s Harbor, Wisconsin, in the heart of Door County.

Door County is a place we have vacationed at several times over the years and Fisher’s Harbor depicts clearly the life of the towns along the peninsula protruding into Lake Michigan. I enjoyed all the local references included those outside of Door County. Heck the town we are living in now even gets a mention. Door County is known for its lighthouses, fish boils and cherry orchards. Wisconsin is also home to the Green Bay Packers and fans just love their beer and brats. The author gives us a great overview of the entire area.

She introduces us to Ava who has returned to the area after short stints in Las Vegas and Los Angeles. One bad decision pulled her life off course and she has come back home to start over. Her parents own a farm that can supply some of the fudge ingredients and her grandfather (Gilpa) has some room in his store. Together they decided to add a few special things and make half of the shop a place for Eva to make and sell her fudge. She has a chance to really get her product off to a good start at an event ex–film star Rainetta Johnson will be attending but things go awry when the actress is found dead with a piece of Ava’s fudge in her mouth.

An author faces an uphill battle when debuting a new cozy series. They not only need to introduce to the characters and the setting but they also have to wrap it all in a mystery that keeps readers engaged while at the same time leaving room for the characters to grow in future installments. I think Christine DeSmet did this very well. The premise of the mystery was a little bit out there but I could see the possibilities. One major clue helped me to figure out who the killer was a bit before Ava but I did enjoy her following the breadcrumbs and catch the culprit.

The story has just the right amount of humor and romantic tension you could cut with a knife. The characters are charming and I want to know more about them. DeSmet has laid a good foundation for the series. I hope to read Hot Fudge Frame-Up soon. Five-Alarm Fudge. the 3rd book in the story will be out April 7, 2015.