Thursday, August 26, 2010

Roast Mortem by Cleo Coyle

You don’t have to love coffee to enjoy reading the Coffeehouse Mystery series. You just need to enjoy reading a good cozy murder mystery.

The ninth installment in the series, ROAST MORTEM, takes protagonist Clare Cosi on another intriguing murder mystery this time involving New York firefighters from Ladder Company 189.

Clare is the manager and head barista of the Village Blend coffeehouse in Greenwich Village. Clare and her boss, Madame Dreyfus Allegro Dubois (who is also her ex mother-in-law) go to visit an old friend of Madame’s, Enzo ‘Lorenzo’ Testa, at his coffeehouse, Caffe Lucia. Enzo has uncovered an old Blend roaster he bought from the Blend in the sixties, as well as a photo album of Madame and her late first husband.

The fun evening soon turns tragic when an explosion destroys the coffeehouse trapping Madame and Enzo in the basement. Firemen of Ladder Company 189 save Clare’s friends and she encounters Capt. Michael Quinn of the NYFD, the cousin of her boyfriend, police detective Mike Quinn. Clare struggles to understand the animosity between the cousins.

Meanwhile, the anger over her friends’ near death drives Clare to begin her own investigation into the fire. Another coffeehouse burned the same night and Clare is sure the two fires are connected.

The more she digs, the more complicated the case becomes. She suspects a fireman could be involved, but soon two firemen are dead. Clare has to get to the source of the murders before the Blend becomes the next target of the arsonist.

ROAST MORTEM is a stand alone book. Readers don’t have to read the previous books in the series to enjoy this installment. However, after enjoying this adventure readers will want to discover how Clare and Mike got together, not to mention all of the unique investigations Clare has found herself involved in.

An added bonus to the book is the coffee tips and recipes included at the end. One of my favorites is “Clare Cosi’s Magnificent Melt-In-Your-Mouth Mocha Brownies.’ Author Cleo Coyle brings all the wonderful characters to life and takes the reader into the Blend. As you turn the pages of this cozy murder mystery you can practically smell the rich, delightful aroma of the various coffee blends.

Looking to unwind after a hectic day, sit back with a cup of your favorite coffee and enjoy this entertaining, fast-pace, thrill a-minute story. It may also make you appreciate the barista the next time you order an espresso. This book is dedicated to the firefighters, paramedics, and police officers who lost their lives on 9/11.

To find out more about ROAST MORTEM, the Coffeehouse Mystery series and author Cleo Coyle visit

Roast Mortem by Cleo Coyle, A Coffeehouse Mystery, Berkley Prime Crime, @2010, ISBN: 978-0-425-23459-4, Hardcover, 368 pages

FTC Full Disclosure - This book was sent to me by the author and publisher in hopes I would review it. However, receiving the complimentary copy did not influence my review.


  1. My wife would enjoy the coffee tips.

  2. I love this series, and I'll definitely add this new one to my TBR list.

  3. It sounds very good! Can't wait to read it.

  4. Ahhhhhh... anything that evokes the smell of coffee in my brain will get my attention. It's a real trigger for me. A good book and a cup of coffee... I'll probably take a look at Roast Mortem and settle in with a cup of coffee.

  5. Mason - Thanks for this fine review. I'm with Lou - coffee is always a plus for me. Coffeehouses are just natural places for mysteries, too, aren't they? They attract all sorts of different kinds of people, and anything can happen...

  6. Alex, the tips are very helpful and the recipes are delicious. I finally used my French press after reading Clara's (Cleo's) instructions and now I love it.

    Ingrid, this is a wonderful series. I remember finding the first book in the bookstore and loving it because it combined my two favorite things - coffee and mystery. I've been hooked ever since.

    Julia, it's a great mystery. I think you'll enjoy it.

    Lou, with this book (and all the books in the series) I wanted to try so many different varieties of coffee.

    Margot, so true. Coffeehouses are perfect for mystery. And you can't go wrong with a good cup of coffee while reading an intriguing murder mystery.

  7. Oh, I love any books about coffee and especially ones with recipes. Thanks for the review.


  8. I think that's one of the great things about cozies - they can be read out of order and enjoyed. This one sounds really good to me.

  9. Sounds like a really good cozy mystery. Will try to get my hands on the book.

    Thank you for yet another great review.

  10. Mason, you are so good at what you are doing here. Just the right touch.

  11. Definitely like the idea of it being set in and around coffee houses. (Especially so when I'm reading this in the morning with a cup of coffee in hand.)

  12. Clarissa, the Coffeehouse Mystery series is loaded with great recipes and tips about coffee, not to mention amazing murder mysteries.

    Kathy, being a stand alone book is a plus for a cozy series.

    Rayna, I hope you enjoy this as much as I did. It's a great series.

    Karen, thanks for the kind words. The first book I posted a review of on this blog was Cleo's HOLIDAY GRIND.

    Helen, after reading this series I think I could live in the Village Blend if it existed. LOL

  13. I just finished French Pressed. I have to read in order! But I'll get to this one. I've thoroughly enjoyed this series.

    Terry's Place
    Romance with a Twist--of Mystery

  14. Great review, Mason!

    Cleo's a friend, but even if she weren't, I'd recommend this book. Love her series, love Clare, love the Greenwich Village setting. Great recipes, too!

  15. Great title :) I'm not a coffee drinker, but this sounds like fun!

  16. I'm glad these are good! I bought my mom a few cozies for her birthday and included one of these Coffeehouse ones--I just wanted to introduce her to the genre I'm writing--so I'm very pleased these are good! Thanks for the review!

  17. Mason, thank you so much for the review. From early on, you have been there for Clare, Matt, Detective Mike Quinn of the NYPD, and (of course) the flamboyant octogenarian, Madame Dreyfus Allegro Dubois, as well as my entire cast of crime-solving baristas. I thank you sincerely for that support -- and I'm happy to report a few pieces of good news. Roast Mortem is now officially a national hardcover mystery bestseller. Woot! And...after eight years and nine books, Penguin's Berkley Prime Crime has signed me up for three more Coffeehouse mysteries. The next one (#10 in this long-running series) will be published next summer. So...I guess it's true. A few readers out there really do like a little coffee with their mystery. Cheers and thanks again. :)

  18. But I do love coffee - and I do feel tempted!

  19. Mason, I also liked this book. You might also try Sandra Balzo's Maggy Thorsen series which revolve around coffeeshops, too.

  20. I love cozy mysteries and this one sounds like a good one.

  21. I am already eager to read it to find out what happens.

  22. Great review, Mason. I haven't had the pleasure yet, but my CP has been raving about Cleo's Coffeehouse series, and especially loves the NYC settings.

  23. The title of the book had me laughing.

  24. Hi Mason and Cleo .. loved your title for the book .. really caught my eye. Sounds a like a good story of intrigue ..

    I was pleased to read that the firefighters in 9/11 would reap some benefit from the book.

    Thanks - Hilary


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