Before I started reviewing, this series was one of the first cozies I had picked up, and I read as many as I could lay my hands on: it was my gateway into other older cozies with elements that intrigued, and while I don’t review them as often as romance, I do enjoy the variation.
Once Upon a Grind
Cleo Coyle continues on with Clare Cosi and her Village Blend coffeehouse in New York. Clare is hard not to like, and I enjoyed the development of her relationship with Matteo (her ex-husband) for when I last saw them, it was an uneasy friendship, not quite solid.
Clare has agreed to participate in a Faerie-Tale themed festival in Central Park, she’ll bring her coffee truck, decked out in a Jack and the Beanstalk theme, and try to enjoy herself. But, someone decided there was one princess too many, and a body is found. Thus brings in the mystery – finding who killed the princess and why, and Clare’s logical thought processes work nicely to unravel the very twisty tale. She’s got a stellar cast of secondary characters: both regular customers and employees are dedicated, determined, loyal and quite intelligent. And the red-herrings in this story are dropping in equal measure with the viable clues, and lead readers on a merry chase.
Then you can’t ignore the elements of the surprisingly cut-throat coffee business, from plantations to brokers, not to mention coffee houses themselves. Matteo is one of those characters that gets into messes crossing the street, and while his instncts are not always great, he always adds a unique spin to the background of that simple cup of coffee I happen to be drinking right now. This story has Matteo bringing in beans that have magical properties, and that little twist, along with tea leaf reading was unique and well integrated without losing the overriding focus on coffee and the solution of the murder.
From the Village Blend to Central Park, Wall Street to the East Side and a moment of dipping toes into the past, the story unfolds with flair, integrating all of the pieces into the story and keeping readers engaged and wondering right along with the characters. Interactions and relationships are beautifully developed and are a solid hallmark of this series, and this book is no different. Even after not reading a few of the books in the middle of the series, the story felt familiar, and was just as enjoyable as I remembered.
Narration in this story is provided by Rebecca Gibel, a new narrator for me. I really enjoyed her voice, she has a clarity of enunciation and solid tone that suited the read perfectly while managing to make slight variations in pitch and tone that delineated the characters nicely. There was no great over-reach in her inflections for emotion, and the slight volume changes to delineate the moments (interior dialogue, tension) are well-placed and appropriate.
I’ve missed this series, and it was a nice change to get back to the series and catch up.
Stars: Overall: 4 Narration: 4 Story: 4
Title: Once Upon a Grind
Author: Cleo Coyle
Series: Coffeehouse Mystery #14
Genre: Cozy Mystery
Narrator: Rebecca Gibel
Published by: Berkley, Penguin Audio
Published on: 2 December, 2014
Source: AudioBook Jukebox
Audio Length: 11 Hours: 32 minutes
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When coffeehouse manager turned amateur sleuth Clare Cosi roasts "magic” beans for Fairy Tale Week, she brews up a vision that leads to a sleeping beauty in Central Park; a big, bad wolf of Wall Street; and an East Side enclave with storybook secrets...
Fairy tale fever has descended on New York City. Broadway fans are flocking to Red Riding Hood: The Musical; museums are exhibiting art inspired by the Brothers Grimm; and Clare Cosi gives her coffee truck a "Jack and the Beanstalk” makeover for a Central Park festival.
Clare’s coffee hunter ex-husband contributes a bag of African beans with alleged magical properties. His octogenarian mother entertains customers with readings of the grinds, but Clare remains skeptical—until she receives a vision that helps her find a young model’s body in the park’s woods.
The police dismiss "sleeping beauty” as the victim of a drug overdose. Then Clare uncovers evidence that points to a roster of suspects, from a wolf of Wall Street to a New York Giant and a wicked witch of the West Side.
Now Clare is really in the woods—with a dangerous predator on her heels and an investigation that leads from a secret Prince Charming club right back to her own NYPD detective boyfriend. If she doesn’t solve this mystery, those magic beans predict an unhappy ending.
Includes wicked good recipes!
See the Series on Goodreads
A copy of this title was provided via AudioBook Jukebox for purpose of honest review. I was not compensated for this review: all conclusions are my own responsibility.