Sunday, April 25, 2021

Heavenly Fudge from Cleo Coyle + Haunted Bookshop Tote and #BookGiveaway


As most of you know, my husband and I have been writing our Coffeehouse Mystery series for nearly 20 years. What many of you may not know is that we have been writing our 2nd series, The Haunted Bookshop Mysteries, for nearly as long. 

The first entry in our "Ghost" series was published back in 2004. We titled it The Ghost and Mrs. McClure. Does that title sound familiar? Well, that was by design because my inspiration for our series was one of my favorite ghost stories of all time, and I was happy to share with readers where my inspiration came from: The Ghost and Mrs. Muir, a novel originally published in 1945. 

BTW, I once wrote an essay on my inspiration for our Coffeehouse Mystery series, and you can see it now by clicking here. (My story will take you all the way back to 1985 New York.) And for fans of our Coffeehouse world, we have a brand-new 19th entry coming in December, titled Honey Roasted. More to come soon on that. Now back to our ghost story...


If you are familiar with the original Ghost and Mrs. Muir novel, then you know it is not a murder mystery, not even close. But in that tale, I saw the seeds for another. I believed a prim, young widow haunted by a gruff male ghost might just work as a dynamic sleuthing pair. And so…

With my husband as co-writer, we set out to develop that basic concept into an entertaining series of cozy murder mysteries. We were grateful to the readers who ended up loving them; and the bookstores, librarians, and reviewers who helped make every title a national bestseller. And then, after five years of writing our series, Marc and I chose to put it on hiatus. 

Our decision to "pause" our Haunted Bookshop series back in 2009 may seem like an odd one from today's perspective, but a decade ago the book business was reeling. A digital revolution had shaken the trade, and nearly everyone in it began openly speculating whether bookshops (like the one run by our amateur sleuth) would survive much longer. Some even believed that print books would disappear in a mere ten years! 

We had no crystal ball, and we could not predict whether our bookshop stories would make sense in a world that had no physical books or bookshops. So, we took a step back and focused instead on writing our bestselling Coffeehouse Mysteries. 

Fast-forward to today, and we know three things are true:

(1) Print books have not been "ghosted" and are still very much alive! 
(2) Bookstores likewise are far from dead, and...
(3) Our readers sorely missed our series! Emails, messages, and comments on posts made that clear enough. 

And since we missed our Haunted Bookshop world as much as our readers, we asked our publisher if they would support our decision to make our ghost re-appear. As you can see (in 2018), they gave us a big, fat YES, and we are grateful for it. We are even more grateful to our loyal readers, who waited so long for our Jack to come back.


He is the wisecracking spirit of a hard-boiled private investigator who met his end in 1949 when he was gunned down in a quaint Rhode Island bookshop, the very one now owned by our amateur sleuth, Penelope Thornton-McClure, a young widow who is trying her best to raise a little boy on her own. (Jack occasionally helps with that, too.)

Gradually, the gumshoe ghost became Penelope’s invisible best friend and a handy advisor when big-city crimes come to Pen’s small town. And what a charming town it is. Quindicott is far less posh than nearby Newport, but its residents have created a neighborly community, making it a remarkably pleasant place to live, even if you happen to be dead.

We now invite you to join our earnest bookseller and her hardboiled ghost as they solve their newest mystery in The Ghost and the Haunted Portrait. This is the seventh book in our series, but you can jump right in. We write every book as a stand-alone so that new readers will not be lost. And if you enjoy our latest, you have six more titles to explore. Here they are in order. May they lift your own spirits!


The Ghost and Mrs. McClure (published in 2004)

The Ghost and the Dead Deb (2005)

The Ghost and the Dead Man’s Library (2006)

The Ghost and the Femme Fatale (2008)

The Ghost and the Haunted Mansion (2009)

The Ghost and the Bogus Bestseller (2018)

And our newest, releasing next week...

Cleo Coyle writes two
bestselling mystery
 series with her husband.
To learn more, click here.


In honor of our Ghost re-appearing next week, Marc and I agreed a "heavenly" recipe was in order, and this fabulous fudge qualifies, for more than one reason.

While my husband was growing up, he and his brother were big fans of their mom's Christmas fudge. Marc's mom is now in heaven, but a few years ago, I wanted him to be able to enjoy her fudge again, so I took up her "add-in" holiday tradition. You see, the fudge my mother-in-law made for her son began with the basic recipe found on jars of Marshmallow Fluff, with a few exceptions. Every year she would vary what was added. Some years were walnuts or cashews, other years salted peanuts, pecans, raisins, or M&M candies.

My choice was one of my favorite nuts (the kind you eat :)). The result? Marc said my macadamia nut fudge tasted better than any of the varieties he'd eaten in past years. High praise indeed. Now you can see why this "heavenly" fudge recipe is so special to us, and why we're happy to re-share it with you. We hope you'll join us in our "spirit" of celebration, and...

May you eat with heavenly joy! 

~ Cleo

To download this heavenly recipe
in a free PDF that you can print,
save, or share, click here or
on the image below.

Click here for Cleo's free recipe PDF.

Cleo Coyle's "Heavenly!"
Chocolate Macadamia Nut Fudge*

*Recipe slightly adapted from a jar of Marshmallow Fluff and inspired by Marc's mom, Evelyn Cerasini, who now resides in Heaven.

Makes enough fudge to fill a 9x9 pan (for thicker fudge use 8x8)


4 tablespoons butter
2 ½ cups white, granulated sugar
1 (5-ounce) can evaporated milk
7.5-ounce jar of Marshmallow Fluff
½ teaspoon table salt
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 (12-ounce) package semi-sweet chocolate chips
1/2 to 3/4 cup chopped macadamia nuts
(measure after chopping)


(1) First line a 9x9 or 8x8 pan with parchment or wax paper, allowing a little extra to hang over the sides for handles. (You will use the handles to lift the fudge block out of the pan for easy cutting.) Lightly butter the paper to prevent sticking.

(2) In a medium-sized saucepan (non-stick, if possible), over low heat, melt the butter. Then add the sugar, evaporated milk, Fluff, and salt. Stir over low heat until ingredients are well blended.

(3) Increase the heat until the mixture is boiling. (Not simmering or burping but truly boiling.) Continue to boil while slowly stirring constantly, for 6 to 7 minutes (do not cut this time short). Remove from heat and let cool for about about 2 minutes. (Why? If the mixture is still boiling when you add the vanilla, the intense heat will destroy the extract's full flavor.) Now add the vanilla and chocolate chips and stir until chips are melted and everything is blended. Fold in the nuts.

(4) Pour the mixture into your prepared pan and let cool at room temperature, uncovered, for at least two hours before cutting. Store the fudge in an airtight container at room temperature for up to ten days. (That's in theory. Ours is always eaten long before then!)

Eat (and read) with joy!

New York Times bestselling author
of The Coffeehouse Mysteries and
Haunted Bookshop Mysteries

This is us -- Alice and Marc.
Together we write as Cleo Coyle. 

Visit our online coffeehouse here.
And follow us at these links...


Coming May 4, 2021...

Our new mystery!

Learn more or pre-order at:

Amazon * B&N 

Indiebound * BAM 

More Buy Links

“Jack and Pen are a terrific
duo who prove that love
can transcend anything.”

—The Mystery Reader

To learn more, visit our
Haunted Bookshop
clicking here.


Cleo is now working on her 
next book and 

Don't miss her book news, 
bonus recipes, and fun 

prize package giveaways!



Cleo's Free UPDATED!
Checklist of Haunted Bookshop 

Mysteries in Order

The Haunted Bookshop Mysteries are
works of amateur sleuth fiction 
featuring an earnest young widow who runs a
quaint Rhode Island bookshop and the ghost
of a hardboiled PI who haunts her.
Click the image above for Cleo's
free Checklist of Books in Order.

Cleo's Haunted Bookshop

Book & Tote Giveaway!

To celebrate next week's release of our new 
Haunted Bookshop Mystery, we are 
giving away 
an autographed copy of...

The Ghost and
the Haunted Portrait

A sturdy, canvas
"Jack is Back!" tote bag.

To enter, leave a comment on
this post with your email address or
a way to contact you via Facebook.

BTW - You can follow me on
Facebook by clicking here.

And follow or friend our
ghost Jack on Facebook here.



Congrats to our winner,



  1. This fudge looks so yummy; it reminds me of the one my cousin makes.

  2. Congratulations on the very soon release of "The Ghost and the Haunted Portrait"! Thrilled that Jack is back!

    This fudge recipe is the one my Mom made for special occasions and always at Christmas. She also added special ingredients that set her fudge on a different level of yumminess.

    Thank you for the fabulous chance to win a copy of the book and the great tote. Shared and hoping to be the fortunate one selected.
    2clowns at arkansas dot net

  3. Thanks for the background on the series. I enjoyed The Ghost and Mrs. Muir TV series. I discovered the Haunted Bookshop books a year or two ago and read them all. Because of that I found the original Ghost and Mrs Muir novel and read that also. It is a short, excellent read. LRJ

  4. Love this series and the fudge.

  5. I love Jack and Pen and can't wait to read the next installment of their story. 3labsmom(at)gmail(dot)com

  6. I'm so glad that Jack (and bookstores) are still with us! And I can't wait to try the fudge.

  7. I just started reading your books recently and I love them.amazing and good cozy mysteries

  8. Can't wait to read the latest!

  9. Congrats! This sounds so fun and I can’t wait to try that fudge recipe! booksnpugs (at) gmail (dot) com

  10. That fudge looks and sounds delicious. Macadamia and walnuts are my favorite. Thanks for sharing.