Uncommon Grounds

When I was little, I hated coffee.  I thought it smelled bad, looked gross, and on the rarest of occasions when I tasted it my main reaction was "ewww - yuck!" followed by immediate expectoration.   And then, I went to college and met a bunch of people that liked to hang out in coffee shops.   I stared at the menu of Espresso Royale (exotic sounding cafe, right?) and tried to decide on a choice of tea when one of my friends prompted me, "Get the Caramel Royale, even if you're not a coffee person, you'll love it!"  I followed that sage piece of advice and it remains a turning point of my college education: the day I liked coffee.  Granted the drink I chose was hardly "coffee" in that it contained a shot of espresso, a lot of steamed milk, and a more than generous helping of caramel, caramel, and caramel; but it still gave me a taste for the beautiful brewed beverage.  And recently, I came across an author that combined my love of coffee with my love of a good mystery in a cute book that starts off a whole series of coffee-house based detective work.

Maggy Thorsen is eager to open her new coffee shop Uncommon Grounds with her two friends, but none of them predicted murder to be on the menu for their opening day. The small town of Brookhills, Wisconsin produces a surprisingly long list of suspects and when Maggy and her business partner Caron are both on it, Maggy decides to take on the task of investigating the murder herself.

Sandra Balzo constructs a clever and intricate mystery in this novel. There were multiple suspects with motive and opportunity and new clues were revealed slowly throughout the story to keep the reader guessing to the very end. Maggy was a smart and witty heroine, likable and believable, and I look forward to reading more of Balzo's mysteries centered around Thorsen's coffee shop adventures.

I tend to lay off coffee a bit in the summer, but especially in the winter, I love to start my morning train ride with a cup of joe to go with my book du jour.  How about you?  Coffee-fiend?  Soda-holic? Tea-meister?   Any special beverage that you like to pair with your current read?

2 Response to "Uncommon Grounds"

  1. Ellen aka Ellie says:
    July 31, 2010 at 3:17 PM

    Your introduction describing your childhood coffee aversion matches my feelings for it, sans spitting, at almost 50.

    Not a fan! Though I wouldn't mind a book about it, I guess...


  2. Catherine says:
    August 2, 2010 at 3:50 PM

    I've never felt an aversion to coffee or tea, though I prefer tea because my body just can't take that much caffeine. When the Tea Shop mysteries came out I was ecstatic: I get to read about tea and follow a mystery! Sometimes they get repetitive and I've more than once figured out who the guilty party was too early, but I still like the series and the recipes at the back of the book don't hurt either.

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