Murder on the Orient Espresso

Murder on the Orient Espresso

4.5 6
by Sandra Balzo
     
 

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It’s November and Maggy Thorsen, co-owner of the Wisconsin gourmet coffeehouse, Uncommon Grounds, is in South Florida at an annual crime-writers’ conference with her beau, local sheriff Jake Pavlik, who is due to speak as a ‘forensics expert’.

Maggy’s pledge to behave solely as a tourist becomes trickier than she anticipated when… See more details below

Overview

It’s November and Maggy Thorsen, co-owner of the Wisconsin gourmet coffeehouse, Uncommon Grounds, is in South Florida at an annual crime-writers’ conference with her beau, local sheriff Jake Pavlik, who is due to speak as a ‘forensics expert’.

Maggy’s pledge to behave solely as a tourist becomes trickier than she anticipated when the conference’s opening night event turns out to be a re-enactment of Agatha Christie’s classic, Murder on the Orient Express. As Maggy and Jake reluctantly set off on the night train to the Everglades to solve the ‘crime’, it’s clear that, as in the original novel, nothing is quite what it seems. And amidst rumours of careers taken, manuscripts stolen and vows broken, it seems that in the Everglades – as in life – the predator all too often becomes the prey.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
10/14/2013
Balzo’s exciting eighth mystery featuring Brookhills, Wis., coffeehouse maven Maggy Thorsen (after 2011’s Triple Shot) takes Maggy and her beau, Sheriff Jake Pavlik, to South Florida, where they join a group of mystery writers on a train outing billed as “Murder on the Orient Espresso.” Maggy looks forward to an easy ride, since her only job is to prepare and serve special coffee to the writers and their guests while Jake lectures about forensics. Unfortunately, a series of career crises, stolen manuscripts, and personal antagonisms builds to a real murder. When the train becomes stranded in the python-infested depths of the Everglades, with communication cut off and deadly predators both inside and out, Maggy must keep the passengers calm and the killer from striking again while Jake sets off to try to find help. It will take more than hot espresso to save this trip, but readers will be happy to jump on board. Agent: Nancy Yost, Nancy Yost Literary Agency. (Dec.)
From the Publisher
“Balzo’s exciting eighth mystery”
Publishers Weekly
Booklist
"An appealing, gentle mystery, a cozy with a shot of Christie".
Library Journal
12/01/2013
The simulated murder mystery train event is a popular staple for many gatherings, and this Florida-set mystery writers' conference is no exception. Accompanying her boyfriend sheriff Jake Pavlik, a featured conference speaker, for a vacation getaway in the Everglades, Maggy realizes she's in for more of a busman's holiday, as one of the guests is discovered dead, stabbed with a cake knife. Meanwhile, after a downpour, the tracks have flooded, and the train has stalled in the middle of nowhere with no cell phone access. Pythons, cake icing, and fierce jealousies all jumble together in an imaginative fashion as Jake and Maggy try to achieve some order out of chaos. VERDICT A nicely hewn homage to Agatha Christie's iconic mystery gives Balzo's seventh caffeinated series entry (after Triple Shot) a light and breezy boost. The Florida setting jazzes up the plot, and attentive readers will delight in Balzo's plentiful book and movie references.
Kirkus Reviews
2013-11-12
An audience participation stunt at a mystery writers' convention leads unsurprisingly to murder. Although she didn't know it at the time, it turns out that coffeehouse owner Maggy Thorsen had excellent reason to badger her boyfriend, Brookhills County Sheriff Jake Pavlik, into bringing her along to Fort Lauderdale for Mystery 101. Conference organizer Zoe Scarlett, obviously an old friend of Jake's, looks about ready to eat her keynote speaker alive--which is more dinner than Maggy gets. Playing her own version of "I Shagged the Sheriff" leaves her with no time to dine before boarding the train for the convention's signature "Murder on the Orient Espresso" event: a three-hour slog through the Everglades during which conference attendees re-enact the Christie classic. Since funds are limited, the organizers offer no meal but copious booze, along with the obligatory corpse-shaped cake. When the cake knife goes missing, Maggy worries. When Larry Potter, author of scathing reviews on his website PotShots, also goes missing, even Pavlik and Zoe start to worry. It isn't until eccentric engineer Theodore B. Hertel Jr. points out that a torrential downpour has washed out the tracks beneath the train that the rest of the guests, happily sozzled on the excursion's only culinary offering, begin to worry. But Potter's estranged wife, Audra Edmonds, his reputed lover, Rosemary Darlington, his germaphobic agent, Carson, and even assistant conference organizer Missy Hudson can do little to help, leaving Maggy and her sweetie to solve the crime. Maggy's eighth (Triple Shot, 2011, etc.) moves slower than Hertel's locomotive, proving that not even a South Florida setting guarantees sunny days.

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781780104560
Publisher:
Severn House Publishers
Publication date:
12/01/2013
Series:
A Maggy Thorsen Mystery , #8
Sold by:
Barnes & Noble
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
208
Sales rank:
103,993
File size:
0 MB

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