12:01 AM: I am fast asleep. Dreaming of NYPD Detective Mike Quinn…
5:00 AM: Wake up to inexplicable ringing. Alarm? No. Madame is calling—the octogenarian owner of the coffeehouse I manage. “Did I wake you, dear?” she asks. I mumble into pillow: “No, I was re-calibrating the espresso machine.” She tells me about an “idea” for our shop. Something about feng shui. I drift back asleep.
6:08 AM: Awaken to Java and Frothy sitting on face. Must have turned off alarm when Madame called. I shower fast, throw on jeans and a Henley; feed my furry girls. No time for me to eat!
6:25 AM: Unlock shop for pastry delivery. First managerial decision of day—take “quality control” sample (or two) of warm Chocolate Muffins. Set aside a few for Quinn to enjoy on his AM break.
7:30 AM: Morning crush! A pair of baristas arrive to help: NYU grad student Esther (half-asleep) and former farm girl Nancy (wide awake). I save us from going bankrupt on incorrect change by putting sleepy Esther on pastry fulfillment; Nancy on register.
10:18 AM: Matt Allegro calls from Indonesia. Matt is the shop’s globetrotting coffee hunter. He’s also Madame’s son, my ex-husband, and the father of our daughter Joy. “Stuck in Jakarta!” He shouts over wind. “Trying to get these amazing coffee cherries on a boat before the typhoon hits, and I was wondering—” Call cuts off. My attempts to reach him go to voicemail. I stress-eat two Blueberry Blondies with my double espresso.
10:45 AM: Cheered by the sight of Detective Mike Quinn at my coffee bar. I make him my special Snow White Chocolate Mocha. Take first break of day.
11:18 AM: Quinn’s police radio crackles—body of a young heiress found in Chumley’s famous courtyard, flamingo feather in one hand, Village Blend cup in other. “That’s odd,” I say. “Even for Greenwich Village.” Quinn says he’ll tell me more later. Invites me to dinner at my favorite bistro. Leaves one of his Chocolate Muffins uneaten. (Can’t let it go to waste!)
12:30 PM: Lunch rush. My assistant manager Tucker calls with apologies. He’s in the middle of taping a video for rookie actors on How to Audition for a Broadway Show. I skip lunch to cover for him.
1:00 PM: Dante arrives for barista shift, paint stains on jeans. Rolls up sleeves to show off tattoos. Co-eds rush counter.
2:40 PM: Daughter Joy, chef in training, texts from Paris with canale recipe. She’s “copied” me on self-portrait Instagram to street-wise detective Emmanuel Franco. I find Joy’s photo far too flirty and her décolletage way too low! Matt would flip if he knew Joy was sending anything to “that mook flatfoot,” let alone this! Fortunately she didn’t copy her father, who I pray is still alive. More stress-snacking…
3:15 PM: Matt calls again. (Thank goodness!) “Clare!” (Wind in background now sounds like freight train.) “The typhoon beat me to the harbor. Flooding and high winds, but the cherries are safe. Listen, this is important—” Call cuts off. Oh for the love of…
3:30 PM: Matt’s mother phones from high tea at the Plaza’s Palm Court, asks if I’ve acted on her suggestion. Must finesse this because I don’t remember her suggestion! She sounds happy. Feel it best not to mention her only son is riding out a typhoon.
3:55 PM: Detective Franco appears with ginormous take-out serving of Honey-Soy Chicken. Taking pity on lunch-less me, he shares. Two bites in, he asks about daughter’s next trip home. (After that photo, I’m not surprised.)
5:05 PM: Barista Gardner Evans starts his shift with the best playlist of day, including his jazz ensemble Four on the Floor.
5:30 PM: Another call from Matt. “Storm’s over. Let’s talk coffee roasts…”
6:30 PM: Madame drops in before dinner and theater with gallery owner boyfriend. She’s changed her mind about the feng shui. “Otto points out that long, silk curtains on our open French doors could blow into our fireplace and burn down the shop. Let’s forget about those curtains…” (Easy because I didn’t remember in the first place.) Time for another espresso—and giant cookie.
7:45 PM: Upstairs lounge opens for Esther’s Slam Poetry session.
7:50 PM: Mike Quinn arrives looking troubled. Current case a puzzler. After years apprehending career criminals, my narcotics expert boyfriend is used to going for usual suspects. But not all crimes are usual and “out of the box” is my specialty—and not just the pastry box.
I suggest we talk over dinner. Unfortunately, I add: “I haven’t sat down for a meal all day, but I’m stuffed!” Mike takes my hand. “Then have a glass of wine, and afterwards maybe we can share…dessert?” I nod emphatically and we head off.
11:59 PM: I am fast asleep. Dreaming of Mike…
Join Clare Cosi for a double-shot of danger in her latest case, Once Upon A Grind. Cleo Coyle’s 14th Coffeehouse Mystery is an RT Book Reviews “Top Pick” of the month; a Mystery Guild Featured Alternate Selection; and an audiobook from Blackstone Audio (AudioGo – BBC America Audiobooks).
Are you ready to enter a storybook New York that you’ve never seen before? Join coffeehouse manager turned amateur sleuth Clare Cosi as she opens secret doors (uptown and down), dodges a deadly predator, and investigates a cold case murder that’s been unsolved since the Cold War.
It all begins when Clare discovers the body of a young model in Central Park’s woods. The police dismiss “sleeping beauty” as the tragic victim of a drug overdose. But Clare uncovers evidence that points to a list of suspects—from a New York Giant to a wolf of Wall Street and quite a few wicked witches. Now Clare is really in the woods with a dangerous predator on her heels and an investigation that leads from a secret Prince Charming Club right back to her own NYPD detective boyfriend.
This clever, fast-paced culinary mystery delivers a page-turning story with suspense, romance, humor, and heart—all in a fabulous New York setting with an appendix of delicious recipes, including Black Forest Brownies and the most amazing Silver Dollar Chocolate Chip Cookies!
See the official book trailer for the Coffeehouse Mystery series below.
GIVEAWAY: Leave a comment by 6 p.m. eastern on December 18 for the chance to win an autographed hardcover first edition of ONCE UPON A GRIND And a “Gimme Coffee” latte cup and saucer (made in Italy). The giveaway is open to U.S. residents only.
Meet the Authors
CLEO COYLE is a pseudonym for Alice Alfonsi, writing in collaboration with her husband, Marc Cerasini. Both are New York Times bestselling authors of The Coffeehouse Mysteries, now celebrating over ten years in print. They live and work in New York City, where they write independently and together, including the nationally bestselling Haunted Bookshop Mysteries. When not haunting coffeehouses, hunting ghosts, or rescuing stray cats, Alice and Marc are New York Times bestselling media tie-in writers who have penned properties for Lucasfilm, NBC, Fox, Disney, Imagine, and MGM. To find out more about Alice and Marc and the books they write, visit their online coffeehouse at www.coffeehousemystery.com.
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