Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Murder by Mocha by Cleo Coyle

Clare's Village Blend coffee beans are being used to create a new java love potion: a "Mocha Magic Coffee," billed as an aphrodisiac. The product, expected to rake in millions, will be sold exclusively on Aphrodite's Village, one of the most popular online communities for women.
But at its launch, one of the website's editors is murdered. Clare is convinced a bitter killer wants the secret formula. Can she catch who's gone loco for mocha? ( synopsis from B&

Penguin Group, Hardcover , 384pp

Clare Cosi finds herself embroiled in yet another murder in this, the 10th book in the Coffeehouse Mysteries.  Clare gets a call from her ex mother in law to come to a hotel and help with a sticky situation.  The situation turns out to be a dead body, which subsequently disappears when the police arrive.  The supposed murderer is Alicia, a woman that Clare is working with on an aphrodisiac coffee using beans from the Village Blend.  The Magic Mocha coffee has an interesting effect on several characters in the book and the company distributing it, Aphrodite’s Village, is central to the murder and mayhem in this book.  Aphrodite’s Village is quite the little hotbed of
intrigue and backstabbing as Clare learns to her dismay.

Like the earlier books in the series, this is a solid mystery with interesting characters and more than one subplot winding through the book.  Clare is finally in a stable romantic relationship but her history makes her unable to commit to the other person.  In this book, she works through many of her issues and the relationship grows in a realistic way. Madame Dubois, Clare’s former mother in law, plays a big part in this book and we learn more about her earlier life. In previous books, she spoke about events in her past and we get a look at the history behind the events in this book.  Madame is the driving force behind the contact with Aphrodite’s Village to sell the Magic Mocha coffee, as she is friends with Alicia. Clare has doubts about the whole deal but has to go along, as Madame is the boss. 
A twist in this book is that the murderer has a point of view in the book and we get to see the motivation for the crimes beforehand.  Ms. Coyle skillfully blends all of the twists, turns, and keeps the reader guessing right up until the end. One of the best things about this series is all of the information about coffee and the recipes that are included in the book.  I myself am not a coffee drinker but I still enjoy all of the information so I can play coffee snob with my friends and have the facts to back it up.
RPL Notes: This book is available in the Adult New Book section. Earlier books in the series are shelved in the Adult Mystery Section.

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