I have reviewed other murder mysteries featuring coffee and/or coffee bars here -- most crucially, Cleo Coyle's mysteries. (Click here for a review of Cleo's books on Cooking With Ideas, including that she acknowledges this blog in a recent book!?!?!?!?) But, today, when I say coffee mystery it is all about a new author -- and, thus, a new mystery. Yep, another version of the "I left a high powered job to pursue my dream" and, in this case, opened a coffee bar." (In this case, like the author, who left PR to write mysteries, the series character, Maggy Thorsen, did so to open her coffee bar.) These are, of course, hard to run and even harder to make profitable. Not surprisingly, there is an "evil" chain coffee guy who is opposed to the good guy eco-friendly type. There is a cop (in this case a sheriff) love interest (heterosexual); and an amateur mystery solver who fears she is in the running as a suspect in a murder. There is a pierced barrista with real skill (with a kind heart) and a barrista contest. (The contest itself is pretty interesting, but does not get quite the level of detail I'd have liked. Here's a link to the world barrista championship. And here to a site on the USA version, focusing on the southeast.) There are loads of characters in Grounds for Murder with interesting features, including friends who are fairly caustic and more. And, yes, there is a body.
In this case, the mystery is more or less obvious, though the punch line is a bit nastier than I expected. And, the reasons are pretty ordinary, hidden behind loads of more extraordinary potential rationales for murder. I liked this book. It was not high literature (are there any real high lit versions of murder mysteries?) but it was readable and reasonable and . . .
Title? Grounds for Murder. It is actually the second in a series, which has seven out already. Who knew? Author? Sandra Balzo. She also writes something called the North Carolina High Country series. Hmmm. Here's an interview with her.