Monday, June 9, 2014

A New Belgian Sleuth and Hot Fudge Frame-Up {+ Giveaway}

Hot Fudge Frame Up coverIt’s a delight to welcome author Christine DeSmet here today to talk about her latest cozy murder mystery release, HOT FUDGE FRAME-UP, the second installment in her Fudge Shop Mystery series.

Christine will be talking about a new Belgian sleuth who is not only good at catching criminals, but great at entertaining murder mystery reading fans. Thanks to Christine and the lovely Danielle at Penguin Group, I have one print copy of HOT FUDGE FRAME-UP to giveaway. Please see the end of the post for details.

Please join me in welcoming Christine as she introduces us to this new Belgian sleuth.

It’s been 94 years since Hercule Poirot’s debut, but now we have another Belgian—Ava Oosterling , the star of the Fudge Shop Mystery Series.

Ava and her Grandpa Gil operate Oosterlings’ Live Bait, Bobbers & Belgian Fudge & Beer on the shores of Lake Michigan in Door County, Wisconsin. (In Wisconsin, everything has “beer” connected to it, and Belgians make the best beer.)

Ava makes two lines of fudge: the Fairy Tale flavors including Cinderella Pink Fudge, and the Fisherman’s Catch Tall Tale flavors including beer fudge. Recipes are found in each book.
Door County is known as the Cape Cod of the Midwest because it’s a touristy playground. It’s a thumb of land jutting into Lake Michigan. Its lower half was settled mostly by Belgians who snapped up land selling for $1.25 an acre during the 1850s and 1860s. 

While you’ll learn a lot about the history of fudge and how to make fudge in this new series, you’ll also discover our country’s many connections to Belgium.

Wisconsin is thought to have the largest rural settlement of Belgians in the United States. The total population of the Door County today is 28,000, but 15,000 Belgians immigrated here—a significant influence. Many towns in Door County are named for towns in the homeland: Brussels, Namur, Rosiere. 

Some fun facts about the Belgian impact on us all: 

      1. Belgians love beer, brats (pronounced “broughts”), and booyah. Belgians know how to make great sausages, or tripes. Booyah is a chicken stew made in the fall in large stainless steel drums over an outdoor fire. Hot Fudge Frame-Up includes a recipe that I got when visiting a Wisconsin kermiss (also spelled kermis)—a Belgian fall harvest festival.

      2. Belgians endured the Great Fire of 1871 in Wisconsin—happening the same days as the Great Chicago Fire. It swept through lower Door County and nearby counties, killing about 1,000. The Chicago fire took around 300 lives. Belgians rebuilt using red brick and yellow Cream City brick from Milwaukee that you now see all over Door County today.

      3. Belgians are famous for pies. The old country uses 12.5-inch pie plates versus the norm here of 9 inches. Rice pie is a traditional Belgian thing.

      4. Belgians invented the best chocolate and pralines, and they make great lace. And if you’re wearing a diamond it probably traveled through a port in Belgium because it’s the seat of the world’s diamond trading. 

      5. A Belgian negotiated the deal for Manhattan Island. New York wouldn’t be what it is today without a Belgian. 

      6. Hoboken, New Jersey? Named after a place in Belgium. 

      7. The Green Bay Packers? Created by a Belgian—Earl “Curly” Lambeau. Lambeau Field is named after him. 

      8. The Green Bay Packers’ first season was 1919-1920 and Agatha Christie’s Belgian sleuth Hercule Poirot debuted in the Fall of 1920. What would our man with the egg-shaped head look like wearing a cheese hat?

Christine, thanks for joining us. Such interesting facts pertaining to the Belgian impact. I never knew where the name Hoboken came from, neat.

Now here’s a brief synopsis of HOT FUDGE FRAME-UP:

        Ava is gearing up for the First Annual Fudge Festival—a huge celebration that could draw national attention to her old-fashioned fudge shop in Door County, Wisconsin—known as the “Cape Cod of the Midwest.” She’s invited two celebrity chefs to go head-to-head with her in a fudge contest. Everyone is having a tasty time…until a judge for the festival is found dead.


Christine DeSmet’s first book in her series, First-Degree Fudge, was on the Barnes and Noble mystery bestseller list for 10 weeks in Fall 2013. Her second book, Hot Fudge Frame-Up, debuted this month.

Christine teaches writing at University of Wisconsin-Madison, and is the director of the national Write-by-the-Lake Writers’ Workshop & Retreat, June 16-20. 

For more on Christine and her writing, visit her online at the university or at her website. You can also write to her at UW-Madison,


This giveaway is for one print copy of HOT FUDGE FRAME-UP. The giveaway is open to U.S. residents only and will end Tuesday, June 17. To enter, just click on the Rafflecopter widget below and following the instructions. The widget may take a few seconds to load, so please be patient.

The winner from this giveaway will have 72 hours to respond after being contacted or another winner will be selected. The email will have ‘Thoughts in Progress Christine DeSmet’s Tour’ in the subject line, just so you know what to watch for (in case it goes into your spam folder).

Thanks so much for stopping by today. Did you know any of the Belgian facts Christine shared? Do you know any other tidbits about Belgian?

*This post contains affiliate links. a Rafflecopter giveaway


  1. Looks like a fun book! And I love the Belgian connection...I was always fascinated by the snippets of the culture I got when I was reading Christie. Lovely cover, too!

  2. I think he'd look as dorky as the rest of the cheese-hat wearing fans.
    We always hear about the Chicago fire, but not the one in Wisconsin - shame.
    And I wonder when booyah became an expression of triumph?
    Congratulations, Christine!

  3. Belgium Fact: The world's biggest chocolate selling point is Brussels National Airport.

  4. I didn't realize Belgians had influenced the US so much. Of course, we are the melting pot of the world.

  5. Christine, thanks again for visiting with us. It's fun learning these facts about Belgians and their influence on us. Wishing you much success.

    Hi, all. Thanks for stopping by.

  6. it's the cosiest cover ever and I want some of that fudge....

  7. Great post. But I knew already that the Belgians brew the world's best beer - I have family in Brussels :)

  8. Thanks for this giveaway. The Waffles and the French Fries are the best in the world.saubleb(at)gmail(dot)com

  9. Sounds like a fun read. Great to meet you, Christine. Best wishes with your book.

    Hi, Mason!

  10. Love all the information. I didn't know any of it. I love cozies with recipes. This sounds like a great series to add to my list.

  11. Mason - Thanks for hosting Christine.

    Christine - Thanks for sharing your new series with us. Hercule Poirot was certainly a successful detective - no reason Ava can't be! I wish you success.

  12. Belgians make great waffles.

  13. Hi Mason and Chrstine - what an interesting set of facts about your Wisconsin Belgian influences .. fudge - sounds good, but they do make excellent chocolate and then their lace is quite delightful ..

    Good luck with the series .. sounds as though it should do well .. cheers Hilary

  14. I learned something new, I never have heard about the fire in Wisconsin at the same time as the one in Chicago, at that more people were killed, wow. Thanks for the interesting facts.

  15. I had to look up something about Belgium, I didn't know anything off the top of my head. There are over 800 kinds of beers made in Belgium...why is the first thing I find about alcohol? LOL

  16. That fudge looks heavenly. Fudge and a mystery...fantastic.

  17. A new Belgium detective. Awesome! Now I have to go find me some fudge.

  18. Sounds like a cute book. I'd get it just to have the fudge recipe! ;0)

  19. Sounds a fascinating read. All the best.

  20. Belgian horses are beautiful

  21. Count me in! Sounds like a great read.
    Thanks, for a great blog!
    patucker54 at aol dot com

    1. Oops, forgot to say the best thing I know about anything Belgian is CHOCOLATE!

  22. Let's not forget Belgian waffles!

    skkorman AT bellsouth DOT net

  23. I thought they were know for their pommes frites too!

  24. oh eeks!! I can honestly say that I know don't much about Belgian...........

    thank you for the giveaway!!


I'd love to hear your thoughts on today's post. Thanks for dropping by.