A Clare Cosi Coffeehouse Mystery by Cleo Coyle
Review: Manhattan coffeehouse owner Clare Cosi is drawn into an investigation of area cafés that have been targeted by an arsonist in Roast Mortem, the ninth mystery in this series by Cleo Coyle.
The first fire bomb goes off while Clare and her ex-mother-in-law Madame are visiting Enzo Testa's Caffè Lucia in Queens. Enzo had found an old photo album with pictures of Madame, the original owner of the Village Blend, together with an antique roaster he had purchased from her when he opened his shop. Arriving after hours, Madame and Enzo go downstairs to retrieve the items while Clare waits near the door. When the bomb goes off, it throws her clear, but traps the other two in the basement. Though they're eventually freed, Enzo is in critical condition. The situation turns deadly, however, when a firefighter is killed while on the scene of another coffeehouse bombing. And it becomes personal for Clare when it's clear that her own Village Blend may be the next target.
Roast Mortem is a solidly plotted entry in this cozy series, and puts an interesting — and most credible — spin on the arsonist-as-killer whodunit-style murder mystery. Despite an exciting and rapidly paced opening sequence at the Caffè Lucia, it subsequently takes a very long time for the mystery plot to get going again. The meantime is spent in Clare's world — her family, her friends, the Village Blend, and the like — which, while entertaining and rarely dull, does little to advance the plot in any meaningful manner. Still, it is this cleverly devised plot that is the drawing point here, which will keep readers wondering the who and why … and most will likely be surprised at what Clare uncovers in the end.
Recipes for many (maybe all) of the foods mentioned in Roast Mortem are included as an appendix together with a very informative reference guide to roasting coffee.
Acknowledgment: Cleo Coyle provided an ARC of Roast Mortem for this review.
Review Copyright © 2010 — Hidden Staircase Mystery Books — All Rights Reserved
Selected reviews of other mysteries by this author …
Berkley Prime Crime (Hardcover), November 2009
ISBN-13: 9780425230053; ISBN-10: 0425230058
Murder by Mocha
Berkley Prime Crime (Hardcover), August 2011
ISBN-13: 9780425241431; ISBN-10: 0425241432
Location(s) referenced in Roast Mortem: New York City
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Roast Mortem by Cleo Coyle — A Clare Cosi Coffeehouse Mystery
Publisher: Berkley Prime Crime
Publication Date: August 2010
List Price: $24.95