Wednesday, May 7, 2008

On What Grounds by Cleo Coyle

I am in the middle of a loong book by Edward Rutherford. I love his books, but I needed a break and something lighter. So, I picked up the first book in a new mystery series, On What Grounds by Cleo Coyle. (I'm going to go out on a limb and guess that this is a pseudonym. Especially since two characters in the book also have C C names.) As is the case with so many cozy mysteries these days, this is a themed series, in this case revolving around a coffee house. It is replete with coffee knowledge - the difference between a cappuccino and an espresso, the best way to store coffee beans, and what type of beans make the best coffee. The author goes one farther using coffee descriptions for people's personalities and their looks. The book oozes coffee. If you've never drunk the stuff, you'll probably be rolling your eyes.
But, as a lover of a good coffee shop, a good mocha, and a good book, I enjoyed Coyle's story. I read this differently than many mysteries because it is on the list for my next book group meeting. I recommended it to our group, none of whom are mystery readers. It made me more conscious of the style and type of writing that these books use because it is so distinct from the more recognized "literary" works.
There is something very appealing about the light tone, the silly quips, and the lack of need to think deep thoughts while reading. I had a good idea of who the criminal was, but I was pleasantly surprised to discover I hadn't uncovered the whole truth. I feel like I did learn something - about coffee making, coffee storing, and the Village in New York.
In some ways this book is a crossover between a cozy mystery and chic lit - although I don't know that you can clearly distinguish these two genres. Like many chic lit books, On What Grounds features a "normal" female crime solver, a possible romantic interest, and satire and cynicism about life in general.
I liked the book well enough that I am already 70 pages into the second book in the series. It's fun, it's relaxing, it's a good read.

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