Book Review - Murder by Mocha

jacket coverMurder by Mocha is the 10th in the Coffeehouse Mystery series by Cleo Coyle.  It’s set in the Village Blend, a landmark Greenwich Village coffee house.  Clare Cosi manages the Blend, roasting and blending the various beans that go into their signature brews.  Her handsome ex-husband travels the world looking for new and rare coffee beans.  The Village Blend was started by her mother-in-law, the elegant and enduring Madame Blanche Dreyfus Allegro DuBois, who recruited Clare from her empty nest in the burbs to come and live above the store in an elegant duplex and manage the Blend.  Clare and Matteo divorced when their daughter Joy was young, and Clare fled to the suburbs.  Joy is now studying culinary arts at Le Cordon Bleu in Paris and Clare has found love in the form of Det. Mike Quinn of the Sixth Precinct.

In this installment in the series, Madame’s friend Alicia has brokered a deal that will combine the Village Blends beans, Voss Chocolates and her secret ingredients to make Mocha Magic, a packaged mocha drink that she claims is a potent, yet legal, aphrodisiac.  But before the launch party, a frantic call to Clare from Madame has Clare walking in on a murdered man in Alicia’s hotel room.  But when Detectives arrive, there’s no body!  The launch party of their new drink is that evening, and while everyone is getting frisky from the concoction, Clare finds another body.Clare is beginning to have many doubts about Mocha Magic and the effects this deal will have on her business.  Her ex-husband is very skeptical that the secret herbal ingredient is legal.  He should know; as a former cocaine addict, he’s well aware of the effect drugs can have on the libido.   So Clare asks Det. Quinn to have the sample analyzed.  After all, the cups they drank at the launch party had a very strong effect on them!

Clare's daughter Joy flies in from Paris with her father, and her relationship with a Detective Franco, from Mike’s squad, is another concern.  Her father, recognizing Franco as a fellow womanizer, has stated his strong objections to the match.  Also, Franco and then Quinn, go under the radar in a case that has something mysterious to do with Madame’s past. 

How all this resolves is a complex and satisfying tale.  Coupled with Clare’s delicious recipes and tips on making coffee, this is a must-read series for fans of cozies and coffee drinks.  You can get more info on the series and more recipes at http://www.coffeehousemystery.com