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Book Review: Through the Grinder, Latte Trouble, and Murder Most Frothy, the CoffeeHouse Mysteries PDF Print E-mail
Written by Shiftless   
Thursday, 23 November 2006

Baristi who are in their prime might appreciate Coyle’s portrayal of Clare, who is not only smart, sensible, brave, and a good mother, but also a magnet for the romantic interests of worthy men, despite being surrounded by women much younger than her 40-something years. A continuing theme throughout the books is the emotional conflict between Clare’s continuing affection for Matteo (her ex) and her romantic opportunities with other men. This can generate quite a bit of stress, as when Matteo is back in New York from his bean-buying trips, bunking upstairs from the espresso shop and down the hall from Clare just when she is entertaining a gentleman caller. Like all good series, the CoffeeShop Mysteries leave this inherent conflict unresolved.

Coyle knows her coffee so well that even I have learned new coffee bits by reading her books. She works in many details about coffee into the books; not part of the plot, but always part of the richly detailed setting. Also evident in the setting is the firmly-in-New-York sense of place. Coyle evidently knows the city very well, and describes in detail things such as how the ethnic neighborhoods change while following a specific subway line, or what exit to take to reach the prison at Rikers Island.


CoffeeHouse Mystery books are the first murder mysteries that I have ever read that include recipes. No, I’m not kidding! They include not only drink recipes but sometimes bakery or cooking recipes too. I can’t claim to have tried any, but some of these ideas (coffee marinade for steaks?) are just too intriguing to pass up.


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