Fourth in the Coffeeshop Mystery series revolving around the manager of the Village Blend, an independent coffeeshop in Greenwich Village, New York.
If you want to understand coffee as one would appreciate wine, this is the series for you as Coyle goes into great detail about the roasts, the blends, and the pairings of food with the different kinds of coffee beans. What to take into account, how to prepare the ideal cup of coffee or espresso.
I do enjoy the battles between mother and daughter. Mom doesn’t want Joy making the same mistakes she or her father made. At the same time, Mom doesn’t realize just how similar Joy is in temperament to herself. Clare is also deluding herself—or is she being hypocritical?—about her own reasons for detecting. What she condemns in others are the same actions she takes. Something her new love interest points out.
For those of you interested in architecture, Coyle knocks on those wealthy owners who want ‘old’ new houses; who are afraid to take a chance on something interesting. One of Coyle’s characters describes Robert Motherwell’s Quonset hut house. A tiny bit of reminiscence about Pollack and the Hamptons as an artists’ colony in its early days as well. I did love Coyle’s description of the redesign of the Cuppa J as well as her mentions of other renowned restaurants. Yummy memories of Chez Panisse and this lovely restaurant up in Lakeport, California…
Okay, this is just weird. Coyle tells of the Bagisu tribesmen who use donkeys to transport their cherries as though this is some new, unique idea. Interesting point Coyle makes about the movers and shakers of New York who vacation in the Hamptons—and are unable to leave their aggressive personalities behind.
Sometimes I really wonder about Clare. She’s quick to jump on some obvious possibilities and just as quick to ignore other just as likely ones. Naive. Just as she’s quick to condemn Madame about Edward, but jump on Joy for condemning Madame. Okay, I’m impressed. I fully expected Clare to back out on her deal and she didn’t.
Clare and David have made an arrangement in which Clare “trains and oversees his barista staff” at David’s Hamptons-based restaurant in exchange for a salary and staying in his guesthouse—a ploy to allow Joy to work in the Hamptons for the summer, but under her mother’s watchful eye.
The action begins with a Fourth of July party at David’s Hamptons house when an unintended target is murdered. Naturally, Clare and Madame can’t resist becoming involved much to the local police department’s dismay for they believe the victim was the target. Clare believes that David is the one threatened.
A threat David does not believe even as Clare uncovers enemy after enemy.
Slowly the evidence mounts. The celebrity photos. David’s almost-death from his allergic reaction. The laced cocaine. A shooting champion. The routine of a former SEAL.
Clare Cosi and Matteo Allegro are divorced but Madame Blanche Dreyfus Allegro Dubois, the owner of the Village Blend, the family’s historic coffeehouse in the Village, is determined to reunite them and made them each an offer of a share in the business and the townhouse apartment above the shop. Clare accepted not knowing of the duplicate offer Madame made to Matteo. Clare manages the Blend while Matteo is the coffee buyer. He’s currently implementing an expansion on the Blend with gourmet coffee kiosks in upscale malls—David Mintzer is a major investor. Joy is their 19-year-old daughter enjoying a summer break from culinary school in New York.
Clare is relying upon Tucker Burton, their gay head barista, to hold down the fort at the Village Blend while she works in the Hamptons. Waitstaff for David’s restaurant, Cuppa J, and for his party on the Fourth of July include Graydon Faas, Treat Mazzelli, Suzi Tuttle, and Colleen O’Brien. Victor Vogel is the Cuppa J chef and Jacques Papas is the manager. Alberta Gurt is David’s housekeeper.
Marjorie Bright hates David for the mature trees he’s had planted around his house—it interferes with her view of the water. Edward Myers Wilson is an artist and professor whom Madame is *ahem* making time with in the Hamptons. Bom Felloes is a chain restaurant chef with a grudge against David. Breanne Summour still seems to be maintaining her place in the series; she’s seeing Matteo and jealous of Clare. And Clare is so enjoying rubbing it in to Matteo! Jim Rand is a former SEAL now making a living shooting photographs of celebrities; he wants to make enough money to buy a yacht and sail her down to the Caribbean. He is partners in the photography business with a fellow ex-soldier, Kenny Darnell. About to be a former friend, too.
Sergeant Roy O’Rourke is in charge of the investigation—he obviously has no experience with Clare’s detecting abilities, hmmphf. Detective Melchior is part of the team.
Detective Mike Quinn has been attracted to Clare from the beginning, but has some marital issues to resolve. Officers Langley and Demetrios don’t appear this time.
The cover is all scratched up in shades of blue as we attend a bullet-ridden party on someone’s patio. That cherry is certainly surprised as the bullet whips through the mounded whipped cream!
The title refers to the summer coffee drinks Clare whips up.