Thursday, December 22, 2011

Holiday Grind

Holiday Grind
Author: Cleo Coyle
Berkley, 2009
384 pages

Ah, the holiday season! This eighth installment in the amazing Coffeehouse Mystery series finds Village Blend manager Clare Cosi trying to create the perfect holiday coffee drink. When Santa (Village Blend customer Alf Glockner) fails to show up at the tasting party, Clare goes out to look for him. Unfortunately, he's in a back alley . . . dead.

By now Clare's family (ex-husband Matt Allegro, the globetrotting coffee broker and reformed [?] playboy now married to publishing magnate Breanne Summour; Clare & Matt's daughter Joy, a young chef currently living in Paris; and Matt's mother Madame, who owns the Village Blend) and her boyfriend Mike Quinn (of the NYPD) are getting used to her propensity for crime-solving. And that's a good thing, because despite what anyone else may think, it's obvious to Clare that Alf was murdered.

Who could have murdered such a nice guy? -- In a Santa outfit, no less. Perhaps the shady businessman who lent Alf $200k. Or the businessman's son, who seems to have his own shady side business. Or perhaps Alf's bitter, plastic-surgeried ex-wife. Perhaps it was a professional hit? Just before Alf died, he was hanging out in a fire escape and looking through the window of the residence of a television producer . . . why?

Holiday Grind is a nice cozy mystery, and the Coffeehouse Mystery series just keeps getting better. As usual, Clare gets herself into some interesting . . . shall we say get-ups? There's still a sort of sexual tension between Clare and Matt, and in this book, the former Mrs. Quinn shows up, and it ain't pretty.

But the thing I appreciate most about Holiday Grind is the section in the back. There's a substantial section on coffee basics and terminology; detailed instructions on using a Moka Express Stovetop Espresso maker; and plenty of recipes for different types of holiday-themed coffee beverages, syrups for lattes, and other goodies. I'm keeping my copy of Holiday Grind, so I can refer to it whenever I want to make something really special for future holiday seasons.

Previously read books in this series:

On What Grounds (December 2009)
Through The Grinder (January 2010)
Latté Trouble (June 2010)
Murder Most Frothy (January 2011)
Decaffeinated Corpse (April 2011)
French Pressed (August 2011)
Espresso Shot (November 2011)


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Special NoteHoliday Grind is the 51st book I've read and blogged about in 2011. This ties the 51 books I read/blogged about in 2010. With eight days remaining in 2011, it's possible for me to break the 2010 record. Will I do it? Come back again soon to find out! :)