Grounds for Murder
Severn House, Jan 2008, $27.95
Fortyish Maggy Thorsen owns a struggling coffee shop in Brookhills, Wisconsin. The divorced Maggy attends a coffee convention to see if she can find new blends and pick up business tips. Instead she finds the murdered corpse of her prime competitor Marvin LaRoche, owner of the HotWired coffeehouse chain.
Maggy is concerned that the police will suspect she killed her business rival. She begins investigating by asking questions of his wife and an activist. Maggy is shocked that the grieving widow does not seem to be mourning her loss; as stunning the activist makes it clear the world is better off with Marvin dead as he abused foreign coffee growers. Her inquiry is not percolating anywhere near a solution.
Maggy’s second “grounds” for an amateur sleuth investigation (see UNCOMMON GROUNDS) is an entertaining whodunit though it is unclear why she assumes the cops would hone in on her as the killer. For the most part the story line is fun to follow especially when Maggy interrogates the two suspects (in her mind that is). When the plot spins into coffeemaking theory it loses some of its flavor. Still cozy fans will enjoy drinking a cup of coffee or two as they follow the exploits of Maggy trying to identify the killer.