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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.
Posted February 4, 2013
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.
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Posted February 26, 2012
Posted July 23, 2012
Posted August 17, 2010
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.
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Posted March 5, 2013
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Posted April 14, 2013
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