Just in time for Halloween, I’ve been binge-reading the coffee house mystery series, written by Cleo Coyle. Focusing on Claire Cosi, amateur detective and coffeehouse manager, each book in the series focuses on a new murder mystery. This isn’t just any coffee house either, it’s the Village Blend, located in a family-owned building that’s over a hundred years old in Greenich Village. What I love about the series is the coffee shop – they roast and brew only the most premium beans, imported from all over the world. Included in the mysteries are facts about coffee – how it is grown and where, brewing tips, and coffee and food pairings. In the back of each book are a set of recipes (some of which were featured in the book), with coffee as a main ingredient. Although I haven’t tried any of the recipes, but I’ve really wanted to, especially the cherry-cordial fudge that’s featured in Holiday Grind (my current read).
The first book in the series is On What Grounds, here Claire is introduced. After years of living in New Jersey raising her daughter, she’s back in the city working at the Blend. The Blend (and building) is owned by Madame Dreyfus Allegro Dubois, who asks her to manage the blend, and offers a place to stay in the building. Madame happens to be her ex mother-in-law, who has also jointly given the building to her ex-husband. In the first few weeks of working at the Blend, one of the coffeehouse’s young employees has been pushed down a set of stairs. It could have been an accident, but Claire’s not buying it. In attempting to solve this mystery, she meets an NYPD detective named Mike Quinn.
Through the Grinder is book two in the series, and she continues her amateur sluething. Here she is getting used to life in the city, and as a single woman. In every book in the series, her romantic life is complicated by her ex-husband, and this book is no exception. As she starts dating in the city, her ex-husband attempts to rekindle their relationship. She also develops a serious crush on Quinn – who is the perfect hottie in uniform. In Latte Trouble, book 3 in the series, the Blend starts to expand. As Claire’s business partner, this is one of Matteo’s (her ex-husband) priorities. After setting up a coffee kiosk at an NYC fashion show, Claire discovers that someone has been served a poisoned latte. One her baristas is arrested and charged with murder – but Claire knows that he’s not the guilty party. It becomes her mission to set Tucker free – and find the real murderer.
Claire has discovered a real knack for solving mysteries. It’s something quite unexpected for her – and in the first book she’s quite surprised but as the series continues she gains a reputation as an intuitive PI. In book 4, Murder Most Frothy, the Blend is experimenting with another business venture – this time in the Hamptons. While serving up iced coffees, one of her host’s employees turns up dead. Although out of town, and slightly out of her element, Detective Claire goes to work.
I haven’t read all of the books in the series, I’m actually on book 8. Like other mystery series I’ve read – this one too was introduced to me by my Mom. Now I can’t put the books down! Since discovering the series, I’ve noticed many other similar mystery series. Not sure if I’ll venture out – especially while I’m finishing up the books in this series. I love this series because it combines two things I absolutely love – books and coffee! Any fans out there – of this series, or any other mystery series??