Uncommon Grounds

Uncommon Grounds

4.3 13
by Sandra Balzo
     
 

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In her delightful debut, Balzo puts a 21st-century spin on the traditional cozy, replacing tea with coffee as the comfort beverage of choice. Maggy Thorsen, a divorc�e whose husband left her for his 24-year-old dental hygienist, and two women friends are eager to open a coffee shop, Uncommon Grounds, in the small Wisconsin town of Brookhills, whose inhabitants include

Overview

In her delightful debut, Balzo puts a 21st-century spin on the traditional cozy, replacing tea with coffee as the comfort beverage of choice. Maggy Thorsen, a divorc�e whose husband left her for his 24-year-old dental hygienist, and two women friends are eager to open a coffee shop, Uncommon Grounds, in the small Wisconsin town of Brookhills, whose inhabitants include such recognizable types as the local gossip and tennis moms. In a world where Starbuck's and other chains are ubiquitous, Maggy and her friends have their work cut out for them. The challenge becomes even greater when Maggy discovers the body of one of her partners, Patricia Harper, on the floor of their coffee shop. Determined to find out who killed Patricia and why, Maggy delves into the mystery with a sense of humor that would make Miss Marple smile. In her search for the truth, she works with, and sometimes against, the new and unpredictable county sheriff, Jake Pavlik�and uncovers at considerable personal risk the secrets of some of the town's most prominent citizens. Readers will want to curl up with this winner with a cappuccino or maybe even a Viennese cinnamon latte.
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Review
"...as wonderfully rich and sharply written as anything going. What moves Balzo's book high above other writers is a sharp and often amusing skill that convinces us that this is real life and that it matters." �Chicago Tribune

Editorial Reviews

Reviews - Publishers Weekly
"In her delightful debut, Balzo puts a 21st-century spin on the traditional cozy, replacing tea with coffee as the comfort beverage of choice. Readers will want to curl up with this winner with a cappuccino."
Reviews - Chicago Tribune
"...as wonderfully rich and sharply written as anything going. What moves Balzo's book high above other writers is a sharp and often amusing skill that convinces us that this is real life and that it matters."

Product Details

ISBN-13:
2940013647626
Publisher:
NYLA
Publication date:
07/21/2011
Series:
A Maggy Thorsen Mystery , #1
Sold by:
Barnes & Noble
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
248
Sales rank:
70,437
File size:
349 KB

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


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, Balzo writes short stories, two of which have been published in Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine, winning the Macavity, Derringer and Robert L. Fish awards.

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Uncommon Grounds 4.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 13 reviews.
harstan More than 1 year ago
In Brookville, Wisconsin, Caron Egan, Patricia Harper, and Maggie Thorsen open up a gourmet coffee shop, UNCOMMON GROUNDS. However, on the day they are to open for business, Patricia dies in what seems like an electrocution accident caused by a faulty wired latte maker. However, Sheriff Pavlik quickly finds evidence that someone tinkered with the wiring killing the woman................................... Pavlik quickly learns that the married Caron and the also married victim had affairs with the same person. He also sees possible motives involving the fact that Patricia ran for town chair in a disputed election. Meanwhile Maggie, who is about to be divorced from unfaithful Ted, unites with Patricia¿s campaign manager Sarah to uncover the truth so that she can move on, but will soon wonder who to trust as corruption surfaces from every corner of her town................................... The story line is an engaging tale that starts off as a wonderful police procedural, but soon adds a solid parallel amateur sleuth subplot. Magnificent Maggie makes the plot percolate as she wonders if she is a suspect, how to avoid pushy reporters and finally how to clear her name. The support cast enhances either the investigation, offers insight into the victim, or a better understanding of Maggie. Though the killer comes out of nowhere and seems stretched, mystery readers will take delight sipping this caffeine cozy caper............................... Harriet Klausner
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
When I started this book, I thought I made a mistake but after a couple chapters, I was hooked. SOOO GOOD! Did not see the ending coming!
EurekaDB More than 1 year ago
Uncommon Grounds is the first in the Maggie Thorsen series. This is a really good read. Very enjoyable. I actually read Grounds for Murder (#2) and Bean There Done That (#3) first. The after reading Uncommon Grounds I went back and read the others in order and the entire series flowed much better. Additionally, I find it interesting that this series takes place in the upper great lakes region (Wisconsin). It is a nice break from the usual New York, LA, Miami cities.
Guest More than 1 year ago
When former PR executive and new espresso shop owner Maggy Thorsen investigates the death of one of her partners--electrocuted by the espresso machine on opening morning--she also turns up the seamy underside of her leafy suburb. Brookhills, Wisconsin, boasts tennis Moms driving expensive SUVs, subdivisions full of mansion-like houses, and snooty residents to match. Recently divorced Maggy tootles around town trying to uncover the murderer in order to clear her own name. The cast of characters includes Kate McNamara, the annoying newspaper reporter, Gary Donovan, chief of police and former head of security for the local bank, and a distractingly handsome yet irritating new sheriff, Jake Pavlik. Maggy finds a sidekick in Sarah Kingston, a blunt-talking, chain-smoking real estate agent with a secret soft spot for children, and between the two of them they manage to take the murderer down. Amateur sleuth Maggy is good company, with her snappy phrases, funny one-liners, and wry observations. Describing the police chief, for instance, she says: ¿Gary had been an Eagle Scout, for God¿s sake. Or still was. I think that¿s like being an alcoholic, you never completely recover.¿ Details of operating a gourmet coffee business give this mystery a contemporary and unique spin and make the reader long for a smooth creamy latte.
Kathryn Carter More than 1 year ago
I truly enjoyed this book! It was a fun read with a very likeable main character. I can truly say that I'm looking forward to buying and reading the second book :)
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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VictoriaAllman More than 1 year ago
I must say, I read a lot of mysteries and usually have an inkling of who-dun-it or my suspicions al least. With Uncommon Grounds, I had no idea until the last chapter who had killed Patricia Harper on opening day of her coffeeshop. And to an avid reader, that makes this book a winner. I was thoroughly engrossed in the story of Maggie Thorsten, co-owner of Uncommon Grounds and suspect in the murder, and the town of Brookhills. It is easy to see why this first book in the series was nominated for an Anthony and Macavity Award. Balzo is at the top of the mystery genre with this book. I look forward to reading the rest of the series. Victoria Allman author of: SEAsoned: A Chef's Journey with Her Captain
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Guest More than 1 year ago
UNCOMMON GROUNDS opens as newly single Maggy Thorsen opens the door to a new business. Uncommon Grounds is going to be a place for people in the town of Brookhills to get a break from the McDonald¿s coffee down the road. A fresh start for Maggy and her two partners. Unfortunately, partner Patricia has been grounded. That¿s right, folks, she¿s gotten a jolt from the Espresso machine like none before and lies in a pool of spilt milk. The laughter will continue as you read this cozy ¿nouveau¿. The character of Maggy is a suburban ex with a Mike Hammer attitude. Balzo¿s other talents give the book a refreshing substance. The plotting is fast and well done. Small town coincidences don¿t seem forced. Motive, means and opportunity will keep you turning the pages. Best of all, when you¿re done, you¿ll want a second visit with the town and its people. Balzo knows the place she¿s writing. And, from the local preacher to the moving guy, she has the skill to give all her characters life. Are you a fan of Stephanie? Do you enjoy Joan Hess? Balzo adds another voice to the argument that cozies aren¿t just for teacups anymore. Ruth Jordan
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
the series is based on a female detective who can't tell the truth to anyone...friends, family or law enforcement. not my idea of series I want to continue reading. She gives women a bad name.