Cleo Coyle

Cleo Coyle is my new recommendation for the “cozy mystery” category.    Her Coffeehouse mysteries feature Clare Cosi who manages the historic Greenwich Village coffeehouse belonging to her ex-mother-in-law “Madame”.     As part of the deal Clare lives without rent  in the upstairs duplex which is furnished with antiques and decorated with original works by famous artists, and she shares in the ownership and profits.   What she doesn’t know is that Madame has also made the same bargain with Matteo Allegro, her son and Clare’s ex-husband, in the hope that they will get back together.    Madame doesn’t want or need to be at the coffeehouse anymore because her second husband Pierre left her in a beautiful uptown townhouse with the bills paid until her death.     Matteo and Clare have a lovely 20 year old daughter who is attending culinary school in the city.    Matteo is the coffee buyer for the business – traveling all over the world, sometimes in great danger, to search out the best beans for their many types of coffee and coffee blends.    Clare is adamant that she cares nothing for Matteo because of his philandering ways.    In the first mystery, On What Grounds, Clare finds one of her best young employees dead at the foot of the basement steps.   Enter the very exhausted and very truculent Police Detective Mike McNeill.    She manages to soften him up with a special latte, and a new friendship is formed.     Subsequent titles are Through the Grinder, Latte Trouble, Murder Most Frothy, and Holiday Grind. Neither Mike nor Matteo can persuade Clare to give up her penchant for trying to solve the murders herself.    Clare in turn cannot persuade Madame not to be her helper in sleuthing.  I enjoyed reading them one after another in less than a week.    The characters become more realistic to the reader as you get to know them throughout their trials and triumphs.    Some of the coffee puns are quite a stretch, and Clare reminds everyone never to trust tea drinkers or decaffeinated drinkers.   I’m looking forward to the next book order when I hope we receive French Pressed, Espresso Shot, and Decaffeinated Corpse.


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