Thursday, August 05, 2010

Roast Mortem by Cleo Coyle

No one combines a cozy atmosphere with a realistic crime novel any better than Cleo Coyle does.  If you pick up one of the Coffeehouse Mysteries, you might expect a cozy little off-scene murder, and a cheerful amateur sleuth.  And, everyone knows I'm a big fan of cozy mysteries.  But, Coyle gives us the atmosphere, the recipes and coffee-making tips, along with murder and arson, violent crimes, in the latest book in the series, Roast Mortem.

Clare Cosi is the head barista and manager of Village Blend coffehouse, a landmark in Greenwich Village.  When she accompanies her beloved former mother-in-law, Madame Dreyfus Allegro Dubois, owner of Village Blend, to see an old friend in his coffeehouse, she expects an enjoyable evening of conversation and espresso.  She doesn't expect an explosion that buries her friends in the basement, and calls out Ladder Company 189.  Despite her uneasiness around the Fire Captain Michael Quinn, cousin of her police detective boyfriend, Mike Quinn, Clare shows her appreciation to the firefighters by giving them lessons on the use of their new espresso machine.  But Clare's uneasiness also comes from another source.

Two coffeehouses caught fire on the same evening.  Clare is convinced it was arson, and expressed her suspicions to Michael Quinn.  However, he shot down her theories, which only frustrated her, and made her look a second time at the fire crew itself.  Is it possible there's an arsonist connected to the fire company?  A follow-up box delivered to Village Blend doesn't discourage her, although someone knows she's looking into the suspicious fires.  But, her boyfriend doesn't discourage her, knowing sometimes a sleuth gathering evidence and information can learn more than the cops or the arson investigators.  And, Clare is determined to find the person responsible for threatening and destroying lives and coffeehouses.

Once again, Coyle has given us attractive, interesting characters with problematic, complicated lives.  Clare has a complex relationship with her ex-husband.  And, to say the relationship between the two Quinn cousins is complicated is an understatement.  There's a history there that takes time to unravel.  But, don't worry.  Even if you haven't read any of the previous books, you can pick up Roast Mortem without missing a beat.   The interesting relationships, the mystery, and the arson make Cleo Coyle's Roast Mortem as satisfying as that first cup of coffee in the morning. 

Check out the virtual Village Blend coffeehouse at

Roast Mortem by Cleo Coyle. Berkley Prime Crime, ©2010. ISBN 9780425234594 (hardcover), 368p.

FTC Full Disclosure - The author sent my ARC, in hopes I would review the book.


Elizabeth Spann Craig/Riley Adams said...

I'm loving my copy of Cleo's book. She's a friend from Mystery Lovers' Kitchen, but I'm also a fan--Clare is a gutsy, talented sleuth. And those recipes!

Lesa said...

I didn't really comment about the recipes, Elizabeth, because my ARC makes it clear the recipes aren't final. So, I"m glad you mentioned them!

I do like Clare as a sleuth. I really only discovered her with the last book, the Christmas one, but I'm so glad I did.

bermudaonion said...

Ooh, a book with recipes is always welcome in my home. I have to admit that I'd read this one simply because I love the title.

Lesa said...

Very good, Kathy! Authors always like to know what attracts readers, so it's nice to know you like the title and the idea of the recipes even before reading the book.

holdenj said...

Thanks for the great review about the new Cleo Coyle. It looks like another super read.

Lesa said...


It is another super book. I hope you enjoy it!

Nanc said...

Happy Sunday, Lesa,
I a ma big fan of this entire series and really look forward to reading this next book. I must also recommend Cleo's other series "The Ghost and Mrs. McClure"...I'm not a big fan of the paranormal genre (perhaps because I am the mother of 2 Twilight obsessed teens??!?) but this series grabbed me immediately due to the incredibly realistic dialogue of the character Jack. If you haven't met Pen and Jack yet I do encourage you to pull up a chair, grab a cuppa and suspend your sense of reality!! Just for the record though...Jack is my ghost!!

Lesa said...


You can have Jack, but I'll surrender him reluctantly. Actually, I read that series before I read the Coffeehouse Mysteries. Good books, aren't they? And, you're right. I like Jack's dialogue and character.

Thanks, Nanc!