The worst kind of welcome back gift? A murder. That is exactly what Clare Cosi gets in this Berkley Mystery, On What Grounds by Cleo Coyle. Clare is returning to her career as manager of the Village Blend historic coffeehouse in New York's Greenwhich Village. Clare is now in her forties, and her daughter is grown and in culinary school. Coming back to her previous job is kind of nostalgic and exciting, until, DUN-DUN-DUN . . . her ex arrives. Yup, the old ex husband, who is charming, good-looking and oh, so Italian! Yummy, :). Of course, he's still a macho, self-involved kinda guy, which Clare can't stand, neither can she keep away from him! There is your romantic background, just a little, and it does not take over the storyline.
The real kicker is the "accident" that takes place the night before Clare's arrival. Of course, she refuses to believe it was an accident, she is determined to find the murderer. I love the flow of the story, the feel of the "typical" mystery setting, the clues given, the familiarity of the characters. The snip-it I give to you today, is an example of one of my favorite features of the book, the coffee talk! Or, talk about coffee: where to buy it, how to store it and the best way to brew it! The author throws in these nice bits throughout the story, but it is not forced, it is a natural extension of the main character. Her life is coffee! So here it is, a scene portraying how busy the Village Blend can be and the expertise of it's manager and coffee connoisseur, Clare:
A quality espresso should consist entirely of rich, reddish-brown crema as it flows easily out of the portafilter spout. Crema, or coffee foam, is the single most important thing to look for in a well-made espresso. It tells you the oils in ground coffee have been extracted and suspended in the liquid - the thing that makes espresso, espresso.
"Got that mocha?"
"Skinny hazelnut cap with wings!"
Cappuccino with skim mild, hazelnut syrup, and extra foam.
Latte with caramel syrup, topped with sweetened whipped cream and a drizzle of warm caramel topping.
Otherwise known on our menu as Rasberry-Mocha Bocci. One of my favorite dessert drinks. "Got it!"
And on it goes, the orders, the lightning speed of the well-trained barrista -- now sleuth! A nice treat are the recipes included in the back of the book. AND, if you really love A Village Blend there is even a virtual world to visit! I was just browsing over there and found some pretty tasty sounding recipes. Plus, there are giveaways! What blog-loving lady can ignore a good giveaway?? LOL! Buy the book, borrow the book, just read the book! Enjoy! :)
On What Ground by Cleo Coyle
c2003 by The Berkley Publishing Group