Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Murder Most Frothy by Cleo Coyle

My first review!

Book: Murder Most Frothy by Cleo Coyle

Series: Book 4 in the Coffeehouse Mystery series

Published: 2006

Extras? Yes, recipes including a complex sounding 8-layered drink, plus various drinks and desserts.

Plot (from the back of the book):
Clare Cosi's new friend, millionaire David Mintzer, has an offer no New York barista could turn down: an all-expenses-paid summer away from the sticky city. At his Hamptons mansion, she'll relax, soak up the sun, and, oh yes, train the staff of his new restaurant. So Clare packs up her daughter, her former mother-in-law, and her special recipe for iced coffee-for what she hopes will be one de-latte-ful summer-

Soon, Clare tends the coffee bar at her first Hamptons gala. But the festivities come to a bitter end when an employee turns up dead in David's bathroom-a botched attempt on the millionaire's life. Thanks to the Fourth of July fireworks no one heard any gunshots, and the police are stuck in holiday traffic. Concerned for everyone's safety, Clare begins to investigate. What she finds will keep her up at night-and it's not the java jitters...

Rating: 8

Review: Cozy mysteries almost always have an overriding theme and this series is no different--Clare and her ex-husband Matt are co-owners of a renowned Manhattan coffee shop and experience all the trials and tribulations of running a business with your ex. The first three books in the series are set in New York City while this book moves the action to the Hamptons, which is an interesting change of pace.

Clare is a very likable heroine. She is smart and makes minimal too-stupid-to-live choices. Even though I'm only 29, I like when mysteries have heroines in their 40's who are still considered very desirable with active social lives--I am too used to urban fantasy and romance where anyone over about 35 seems to be considered halfway to the grave.

The plot of Murder Most Frothy isn't particularly deep but it does broaden the characterization of several minor characters (David, Bree, Joy) and introduces a new love interest for Clare. The book had good pacing and I was actually surprised by the ending, which is saying a lot for a cozy mystery. I thought this mystery was more realistic than most--Clare has valid reasons for thinking that her friend and employer David Mintzer is in danger although nobody believes her, she has realistic ongoing problems with her daughter and ex-husband, and she is hired for a job for which she could realistically be hired (not always the case in cozy mysteries).

Like most cozy mysteries, I learned a lot about the coffee industry by reading this book, which was very interesting even though I don't drink coffee. I now know that my espresso, if I ever was to order an espresso, should not pour out of the spout but should ooze.