by Cleo Coyle
Introducing a delightful new series featuring Clare Cosi, manager of the historic Village Blend coffeehouse…
Clare arrives at work to discover the assistant manager dead in the back of the store, coffee grounds strewn everywhere. Two detectives investigate. But when they find no sign of forced entry or foul play, they deem it an accident. Still, Clare is not convinced. And after the police leave, Clare can’t help wondering…If this was an act of murder, is she in danger?
I have wanted to read On What Grounds for months, and I finally developed a decent excuse to pick it up. I am currently working on my own mystery story, more on that tomorrow, and wanted to research the small details that make characters real. Yep, I read On What Grounds for research 😉
I’m not going to provide my own summary because it would make my review way too long. So lets jump right in! Cleo Coyle is the husband and wife writing team of Marc Cerasini and Alice Alfonsi. On What Grounds is a debut novel and the first in the extensive Coffeehouse Mystery Series. The writing style may feel a little underdeveloped for many readers, but I was pleasantly surprised by their detailed descriptions and scenery building. The writing was so fluid that I was shocked that two people wrote it together! I felt like I was in the Village Blend and I fell in love with the unique coffee shop. I also had no problem connecting with Clare, the intelligent and stubborn Blend manager. The mystery is different, with a few surprising twists, and Coyle had me guessing until the very end. All the characters feel real despite their eccentricities. You can expect to see more Coffeehouse Mystery Series reviews this year.
I was surprised to find that On What Grounds had received a few ‘beat down’ reviews on Goodreads. I checked these out and was just plain irked at the reoccurring list of complaints. Here are the three most common and what I have to say about them:
1. Too much description about the different coffees and how to prepare them: I personally loved these details! I learned so much and was ready to run out and buy everything I needed to make these drinks. It is stupid to read a book centered around a coffee shop and be annoyed to read about coffee.
2. Clare is an idiot for hooking up with her cheating ex-husband: She doesn’t hook up with him; she just makes-out with him for a second. Plus, there are passages dedicated to describing their convoluted relationship and Clare’s continual attraction and love for her ex. She spends the whole book fighting off his advances and her own demons. Come on people; she’s only human!
3. Stuff just happened too easily/Clare’s detective skills are unrealistic: Ok, I agree that Clare’s detective skills are unrealistic at the beginning of the book, but it evens out as the story progresses. Stuff should happen relatively easily in cozy mysteries. That is why they are cozy mysteries and not extensive criminal dramas. They need to be quick and fun to read; any so-called fan of the genre would know this and shouldn’t whine about it.
So, that ends my Goodreads review rant. My negative points of On What Grounds are short and sweet. I did not like the prologue. I understand why it was used but I feel it hurts the flow of the story instead of helping it. And it was very difficult to like Madame. Nothing pisses me off more than family members, such as mothers and mother-in-laws, butting in on matters that do not concern them. Her brazen attempts to get Matt and Clare back together just irked me. There is no way I would have been as sweet and kind as Clare if it was me. But that’s it!
I really enjoyed On What Grounds. It is a fun cozy mystery that places readers in a unique setting, a coffee shop instead of an antique or clothing shop, with an enjoyably stubborn female lead. I cant wait to start the next book in the series, and I have to schedule a writing day at the local coffee shop next week! What do you think of the Coffeehouse Mystery series?