A Cup of Jo

( 6 )

Overview

Maggy Thorsen, cynic extraordinaire, has a few things to feel optimistic about lately. After her original coffeehouse, Uncommon Grounds, was destroyed in a freak May blizzard, Maggy and her best friend, Sarah Kingston, have found the perfect spot to relocate – right next to the new commuter train in Milwaukee.

After successfully securing the spot, Maggy and Sarah plan to piggyback the city’s celebrations for the train and re-open Uncommon ...
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A Cup of Jo

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Overview

Maggy Thorsen, cynic extraordinaire, has a few things to feel optimistic about lately. After her original coffeehouse, Uncommon Grounds, was destroyed in a freak May blizzard, Maggy and her best friend, Sarah Kingston, have found the perfect spot to relocate – right next to the new commuter train in Milwaukee.

After successfully securing the spot, Maggy and Sarah plan to piggyback the city’s celebrations for the train and re-open Uncommon Grounds on the same day. In fact, Maggy’s feeling so positive, she even digs deep in her budget and hires a giant inflatable coffee cup to attract more notice to her grand reopening.

All seems to be running right according to plan…until Maggy’s event manager is found dead – and now Maggy must find the killer before the killer finds her!!
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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
In Balzo’s delightful sixth Maggy Thorsen mystery (after March 2010’s From the Grounds Up), Maggy, the co-owner of Uncommon Grounds, a gourmet coffeehouse, which was destroyed during a freak snowstorm, is planning to celebrate the opening of her rebuilt shop at the same time that the town of Brook-hills, Wis., dedicates the new Milwaukee commuter-train line. Maggie is pleased with the giant inflatable coffee cup she hired for the occasion, until it accidentally deflates and reveals the body of missing Brookhills event manager JoLynne Penn-Williams sprawled at the bottom. When amateur sleuth Maggy begins to investigate, she’s dismayed that clues point to her boyfriend, county sheriff Jake Pavlik, as the killer. Devastating innuendos that Jake has been unfaithful shatter Maggy, but don’t prevent her from seeking the truth. As ever, Maggy’s wit and wisdom help keep the pages turning through this lighthearted cozy. (Oct.)
Booklist
Poor Maggy Thorsen (From the Grounds Up, 2010) just can’t seem to get her coffee business going. Her original Wisconsin café, Uncommon Grounds, was destroyed in a blizzard. Now, with a new business partner, Sarah Kingston, and a site in a renovated railway depot that serves a commuter line, things should be going well. They hope to have the grand opening when the new rail line is dedicated. Maggy even commissions a giant inflatable coffee cup and saucer for the roof, but unfortunately, Jo, the event manager, turns up dead inside it. The ensuing investigation turns up some surprising information about some of the community’s most upstanding members. The fast-moving plot makes the most of the author’s quirky characters and will have readers wondering if Maggy will ever be able to make a go of it in the coffee business, but they will be happy to read another installment in hopes of finding out. Solid cozy fare.(September 2010)
Kirkus Reviews

Greater Milwaukee's preeminent coffee-shop owner faces heartbreak when an event planner steals her thunder and her boyfriend.

Everything is ready for the grand reopening of Uncommon Grounds. Forced out of its Benson Plaza location when a snowstorm caved in the roof (Brewed, Crude and Tattooed, 2009), co-owners Maggy Thorsen and Sarah Kingston have been rebuilding at the Brookhills commuter train station, despite a series of construction mishaps. Now barista Amy Caprese has ordered biodegradable takeout cups, and Maggy's asked prop man Kevin Williams to loft a five-foot inflatable coffee cup above her new digs. But the celebration, timed to coincide with the inauguration of a rail line connecting suburban Brookhills to Milwaukee, falls flatter than an oversteamed latte when party planner JoLynne Penn-Williams is found curled up in the giant mug, dead as vaudeville. Brookhills County Executive Brewster Hampton, on hand for the celebration, is shocked. So are his Milwaukee counterpart Wynona Counsel and his wife, rising entrepreneur Anita. But Jo's sister Rebecca, glad the bitch is dead, accuses her of sleeping with both Rebecca's boyfriend, Michael Inkel, and Maggy's main squeeze, Sheriff Jake Pavlik. Looks like those cozy nights on the sofa sipping Shiraz and feeding indigestible pizza toppings to Maggy's sheepdog Frank may be over—especially if Jake gets arrested for murder.

Like the Styrofoam cups banned by Amy, the murder in Balzo's sixth is strictly disposable, its flimsiness in no way strengthened by her sexual innuendos and quips about canine flatulence.

Magazine - Publishers Weekly
"As ever, Maggy's wit and wisdom help keep the pages turning through this lighthearted cozy. "
Bibel - Ms. Barbara
"The fast-moving plot makes the most of the author’s quirky characters and will have readers wondering if Maggy will ever be able to make a go of it in the coffee business, but they will be happy to read another installment in hopes of finding out. Solid cozy fare."
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781847512567
  • Publisher: Severn House Publishers
  • Publication date: 7/1/2011
  • Series: Maggy Thorsen Mysteries Series
  • Pages: 192
  • Sales rank: 373,572
  • Product dimensions: 5.84 (w) x 8.66 (h) x 0.86 (d)

Meet the Author

Sandra Balzo turned to mystery writing after twenty years in corporate public relations, event management and publicity. Triple Shot, her seventh Maggy Thorsen coffeehouse mystery, was just released, and Sandy's second series, Main Street Mysteries, debuted in April with Running on Empty. The books, set in the popular vacation destination of North Carolina's High Country, will alternate with the Maggy Thorsen mysteries. Heaven's Fire, about a fireworks show gone badly wrong, was released directly to Kindle with excellent reviews.

Balzo's novels have been nominated for both the Anthony and Macavity awards and received starred reviews from Kirkus and Booklist. In addition to her books about coffee-maven Maggy Thorsen and displaced journalist AnnaLise Griggs, Balzo writes short stories, two of which have been published in Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine, winning the Macavity, Derringer and Robert L. Fish awards. Those psychological thrillers, along with a third original story, are available on Kindle in The Grass is Always Greener and Other Stories.

Balzo has handled publicity for three Bouchercons (World Mystery Conventions), as well as the International Association of Crime Writers, and has served a national board member of Mystery Writers of America. A native of southeastern Wisconsin, she currently splits her time between Florida and the High Country of North Carolina.

And roots for the Green Bay Packers.

www.sandybalzo.com
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 5
( 6 )
Rating Distribution

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Sort by: Showing all of 6 Customer Reviews
  • Posted February 4, 2013

    Best in the series

    This was the best in the Maggy Thornsen series. In the past I have found that Balzo seemed to slighlty miss the mark. I other words, good but not great. This book finally hit the mark. The characters were better developed (helps if you read the previous in the series too)and some old favorites come back. I also felt like questions about the beginning of the relationship with Pavlick were answered (I mean seriously they took long enough to get things off th ground). I would recommend this series if you are a Lisa Unger fan (a little fluffier) or a Shelly Fredman fan or just want a fun series.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 26, 2012

    Cute

    This is a cute series of books. Light and enjoyable.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 23, 2012

    Great addition to this series

    I'm enjoying following Balzo's characters in this series. I highly recommend it.

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  • Posted August 17, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    Anyone who enjoys a fun caffeine crime cozy will want to read the Maggy Thorsen mysteries

    Thanks to the new train stop connecting Milwaukee to the Brookhills Junction Depot, Uncommon Grounds gourmet coffeehouse is ready to open for business on the first day of the new route. To celebrate their grand opening, owners Maggy Thorsen and Sarah Kingston commission a giant balloon in the shape of a coffee cup and saucer by professional artist Kevin Williams.

    Imagine their shock when the two proprietors find the body of Kevin's wife JoLynne Penn-Williams in the bottom of the cup; the cause of death asphyxiation by someone who cut off her breathing. Brookhills County Sheriff Jake Pavlilk eventually arrests Kevin for murdering his wife. Rumors explode that the sheriff and the deceased were lovers and other evidence leads to Pavlik's's arrest. Maggie rejects the notion her lover is a killer, but her insecurities make her wonder if he might be a cheater. She investigates and almost loses her life in the process.

    Anyone who enjoys a fun caffeine crime cozy will want to read the Maggy Thorsen mysteries (see From the Grounds Up) as the series contains some of the best amateur sleuths on the market. The obstinate lead protagonist is an interesting person with doubts about her abilities yet also strong convictions that make her need to prove her lover innocent even while she debates his fidelity. With a well constructed whodunit, fans will enjoy A Cup of Jo (or two) as Sandra Balzo provides her readers with a gourmet mystery topped off with a wonderful shocker as to who is behind the victim's death.

    Harriet Klausner

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 5, 2013

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    Posted April 14, 2013

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