On What Grounds by Cleo Coyle

On What Grounds (Coffeehouse, book 1) by Cleo Coyle

Title: On What Grounds
Author: Cleo Coyle
Series: Coffeehouse Mystery #1
Rating Out of 5: 4.5 (Amazing, but not quite perfect)
My Bookshelves: Coffee, Cozy mystery
Dates read: 13th – 16th August 2021
Pace: Fast
Format: Novel
Publisher: Berkley Mystery
Year: 2003
5th sentence, 74th page: This doesn’t.


Clare Cosi used to manage the historic Village Blend coffeehouse… until she opted for quieter pastures and a more suburban life. But after ten years and a little friendly cajoling from the owner (a fresh pot of Jamaican Blue Mountain was all it took), she’s back tot eh grind, serving coffee and solving crime – one cup at a time…


With a sprawling rent-free apartment directly above the Village Blend, her cat Java by her side, and plenty of coffeehouse redecorating ideas, Clare is thrilled to return to work. Until she discovers the assistant manager unconscious in the back of the store, coffee grounds strewn everywhere. Police arrive on the scene to investigate. but when they find no sign of forced entry or foul play, they deem it an accident. Case closed. But Clare is not convinced. And after the police leave, there are a few things she just can’t get out of her mind… Why was the trash bin in the wrong place? If this wasn’t an accident, is Clare in danger? And… are all detectives this handsome?


I love a good cozy mystery. They’re cute, fun and, although you constantly want to know “whodunnit”, you’re not scared by the end of the tale. Everything gets tied up neatly and whilst there is a little bit of danger, it’s not overwhelming and frightening. The only problem with this cozy mystery? It features coffee. And I’m pregnant, so I can’t drink all of the coffee I want to…

Clare is a fun and unique lead. Rather than being young without much attachment, she’s a middle aged woman about to start her “second life”. She’s divorced, has a grown daughter and all of the trappings and difficulties that go along with that. It provides an added complexity to the story line that is sometimes missing from some of the mysteries that I read. It’s dark and wonderfully twisted. Seriously fun and very difficult to walk away from. I absolutely adored Clare as a lead. She is sassy and has a wealth of past experiences to draw upon.

This is a brilliant start to a new series. One that I can’t wait to fill my shelves with. It is fun and entertaining, filled with slightly eccentric characters and a number of potential love interests. I am really hoping that Clare picks Quinn ultimately, but I also know that Matteo is going to throw more than one spanner in the works for the chances of this budding relationship. Partner in Clare’s tight relationship with her daughter, the constant coffee recipes and just general food mentions… and I don’t recommend reading this on an empty stomach. I do recommend completely diving into this with a nice, big cup of coffee though.

I absolutely adored this story. I loved the slow unveiling of Annabelle’s past and the hints at who could have killed her. There are plenty of red herrings, and a couple of different horrors waiting at the end of the literary rainbow. This was a brilliant cozy mystery and I can’t wait to sink my teeth into more of Clare’s adventures.

<- More Cleo CoyleThrough the Grinder ->

Image source: Fantastic Fiction


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