Tag Archives: Coffeehouse Mystery

Latte Trouble – Review

This is the third book in the Coffehouse Mystery series by Cleo Coyle. Her first two books, On What Grounds and Through The Grinder, laid out the basic framework and introduced the reader to the consistent characters in the serie. There is Clare: the shop manager, Matteo: co-shop manager, Clare’s ex-husband, Madame: The owner of The Village Blend, and Matteo’s Mother, Joy: Clare and Matteo’s 20 year old daughter going to Culinary School in Manhattan, Tucker: the overly gay barista, Esther: the moody, typical angsty college student, Detective Quinn: well, he’s the cop most frequently sent to the Village Blend to investigate murders.

Unlike book two, Latte Trouble starts out with a murder in the first 50 pages. Its Fashion Week in New York, and the Blend is hosting parties for Latte Trouble (Coffeehouse Mysteries, No. 3)
some of the fashion industries elite members. During one of these parties for accessory design Lottie Harmon, someone poisons a latte meant for Lottie. The drink never makes it to Lottie, instead the drink goes to Tucker’s ex-boyfriend, who ends up dying from the poison. Tucker is arrested on charges of murder, and Clare takes it upon herself to prove Tucker innocent and find out who is meddling with her store’s drinks and killing clients.

Reading these books in quick succession really lets me see Coyle’s growth as an author. While the first book was rated, PG-13, this recent one could almost be rated R. The stories and the characters are becoming more complex, and acting more like adults in New York City (ie, cussing, and being abrasive) than they were in the first two books. I actually figured out who the murderer was this time round, but the main clues didn’t confirm my suspisions until the last two chapters of the book. There are lots of twists and turns, and not all of them are that predictable. I like where the series is going, and I’m curious to see what the rest progress.

FINAL GRADE: A

Latte Trouble
by Cleo Coyle
Berkeley Prime Crime, 2005
ISBN 425204456
243 pages

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Through the Grinder – Review

Through the Grinder is the second installment in the Cleo Coyle Coffeehouse Mystery series. The series follows Clare Cosi, co-manager of The Village Blend, a beloved and historic coffeehouse in a prime spot of New York’s busy social scene.

Through the Grinder (Coffeehouse Mysteries, No. 2) Having recently moved back to New York from New Jersey, Clare is duped into co-managing the coffeehouse with her ex-husband by her ex-mother-in-law. In the first book, Clare helped solve the muder mystery of one of her employees. In this book, the mystery is not as much Clare’s focus. Only recently has a series of “suicides” of young, attractive and intelligent women been taking place. The common tie? All these women are regulars at the Village Blend. These suicides do not register on Clare’s radar until the man that she begins dating is suspected of perhaps killing these women.

Coyle’s writing is fun and filled with interesting facts about coffee and New York. I have noticed a formula though in the way these mysteries are presented. There are key characters introduced that the reader would immediately suspect as the murderer. But usually, the murderer at the end has receieved little to no mention throughout the entire novel, making it the most unlikely, but also the most obvious killer at the same time. Its frustrating, because I feel that it puts me at a disadvantage when trying to figure out who the killer is, if there is not mention of them until the last 15 pages of the novel.

Coyle did take a different approach with this book though. There are alternating chapters told through the eyes of the killer, showing the premeditation and thought-process behind each murder. That added an extra twist to the storyline, and made the guessing game that much more fun.

FINAL GRADE: A

Through the Grinder
by Cleo Coyle
Berkeley Prime Crime Mysteries, 2004
ISBN 42519714x
275 pages
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