Sunday, January 27, 2008

French Pressed-Cleo Coyle

French Pressed
Cleo Coyle
Berkley, Apr 2008, $6.99
ISBN: 9780425220498

Clare Cosi, manager of the famous Village Blend Coffeehouse, is having dinner at Manhattan’s Solange French cuisine restaurant with her former mother-in-law. Her daughter Joy works as an intern in the kitchen; Clare is concerned because Joy is violating the cardinal rule of restaurant employment having an affair with the married chief chef Tommy Keitel, who is also three decades older. To keep a closer eye on her offspring, Clare cuts a coffee deal with Tommy that enables her entrance to the vaunted kitchen. Inside she sees Tommy’s second in command looking like she wants to kill Joy.

Later Joy calls her mom and tells her she found her friend Vinny dead in his apartment with a knife in his back. The police interrogate Joy as they consider her a viable suspect. Later, she becomes the prime suspect in Keitel’s death because earlier that night he broke their affair publicly and he was dispatching her to another restaurant to complete her internship. Clare who has solved other homicides begins an inquiry into both homicides with the help of her boyfriend Detective Mike Quinn to prove her daughter is innocent.

French cuisine, specialty caffeine, and cozy lovers will find FRENCH PRESSED a delicious tasty mystery, but do not read on an empty stomach. The whodunit is cleverly constructed so that fans will not only fail to figure out who the culprit is but begin to think Joy did it. Quirky Clare has come a long way since she went THROUGH THE GRINDER and made her first cup of coffee, but remains a strong caring independent woman. She makes this perky series so good that readers can smell the coffee.

Harriet Klausner