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A Coffeehouse Mystery

By Cleo Coyle

Berkley Prime Crime, 2008 ($23.95)
ISBN-10: 0425221776
ISBN-13: 978-0-425-22177-8

Reviewed by Shirley Wetzel

Clare Cosi and her ex-husband Matteo Allegro are on friendly terms, which is a good thing since Matteo’s mother, owner of the Village Blend coffee shop, has made them partners in the business. Mom adores Clare and still has hopes that the two will get back together. Clare has been hired to cater a gourmet coffee and dessert bar at a society wedding taking place in the Metropolitan Museum of Art. The bride-to-be is a high-maintenance blonde magazine editor, Breanne Summour. Clare and her staff aren’t worried about the gig, they’ve done this kind of thing before. What’s different in this case is that the groom is Matteo.

Fond as she is of him, Clare has given up her claim on Matt, but she senses something wrong about the marriage. She’s not the only one with objections to the upcoming nuptials. Matteo’s mother, for obvious reasons, is one of the objectors. Someone else has much more sinister reasons to want to stop the wedding. Breanne is being stalked, and a number of near-fatal "accidents" suggest that someone wants her dead. Are the culprits one and the same? Is Breanne the intended victim, or is it someone close to her, or even Clare herself? Cosi keeps the reader guessing as bodies pile up.

This is a well-plotted mystery with engaging characters. I enjoyed following Clare through the streets of the Village, with all its charm and eccentricities. Serious coffee drinkers will appreciate the details of the coffee house brews and brewers. Even as a non-coffee drinker, I was fascinated with what I learned about that exotic culture. Who knew the makings of a breakfast beverage could be so expensive, or that little black beans could be converted into so many different concoctions? This is the seventh in the Coffeehouse mystery series, and old fans and new will find much to like about this latest addition.

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