One of those was the third entry in Cleo Coyle's Coffeehouse Mystery series, Latte Trouble, which had our hot java heroine Clare Cosi being the hostess for a major Fashion Week event.
A regular customer,Lottie Harmon, chose the Village Blend to showcase her comeback into the world of stylish accessories,since her new line was inspired by the rich color tones of coffee. Lottie was a major player back in the eighties but left the scene abruptly, to say the least.
As the launch appears to be a great success, one of Clare's most loyal servers, Tucker, winds up accused of murder as a latte he's delivering on the floor is snatched up by a snooty former lover of his and that drink happened to be poisoned. As shocking as that sudden death was to all, most of the fashionista guests present are more concerned about getting to their next Fashion Week party than giving witness statements for the police:
What also worries Clare is that the deadly drink was originally intended for Lottie, who has a couple of suspicious new business partners as well as a former fashion mogul flame from her past who might want to do her in.
That leaves Clare to not only solve the mystery and possibly prevent another murder but her charming ex-husband Matteo is also around, trying to get financial backing for a coffee kiosk franchise from one of the suspects on her list. Add a little rekindling of her romance with Matteo and a whole pot of trouble is in full brew indeed.
After this third cup of Coffeehouse Mystery, I have to say that I'm a little addicted to this series. Being somewhat New York adjacent, this setting is very appealing to me and the entire vibe of the coffee house crew and customers makes this an inviting literary locale to hang out with for a good jolt of mystery fun:
The skeleton of an infant was found at a construction site and the identity of the Building Site Baby,as the body is called, sparks both fear and hope into a seemingly unconnected trio of women.
Angela Irving is convinced that these remains are those of her long lost baby Alice, stolen from her hospital room on the maternity ward back in 1970. That disappearance has haunted her and her loved ones for years and the chance of a definitive answer is too good not to miss.
Book editor Emma,however, feels that this unfortunate discovery could lead to the exposure of her biggest secret from her teen years during the 1980s. Emma's feckless mother Jude also worries about this case, not knowing her daughter's truth yet more concerned about a dark secret of her own.
Kate is the narrative needle that threads the rest of these separate story lines and the results of her investigation illuminates not only the past but the present and future of everyone involved. I do like Barton's multi-layered style of round robin story telling as she expertly weaves together the mystery elements and the emotional material that the characters have cut out for themselves.
Yes, this is a sad story yet it does provide some hope for those suffering with secrets and lies to find their way towards healing those old wounds once and for all:
Once again, another great time of shared reading and I hope that everyone who jumped into the Spring Into Horror pool had plenty of fearsome fun. Much thanks to Michelle Miller at Seasons of Reading for making this happen and I look forward to the next bookish challenge, Sci-Fi Summer, in June.
As for finishing my SIH reads a little late, sometimes you have to be flexible with your reading challenges there. The important thing is to enjoy what you're reading and to complete your own personal goals as much as possible. After all, reading is supposed to be fun as well as fundamental, folks!: