Holiday Grind by Cleo Coyle is the 8th book in the “Coffeehouse” mystery series. Publisher: Berkley, November 2010

The holidays bring more than eggnog lattes and gingerbread biscotti to the Village Blend. When manager and head barista Clare Cosi finds a red-suited body in the snow, she adds solving Santa’s slaying to her coffeehouse menu.

Clare’s grown very fond of Alfred Glockner, the part-time comic and genuinely jolly charity Santa who’s been using her coffeehouse as a place to warm his mittens. When she finds him gunned down in a nearby alley, a few subtle clues convinces her that Alfred’s death was something more than the tragic result of a random mugging despite the conclusions of the police.

With Clare’s boyfriend, NYPD detective Mike Quinn, distracted by a cold case of his own, and ex-husband, Matt, “investigating” this year’s holiday lingerie catalogs, Clare charges ahead solo and discovers this Santa had a list that he was checking twice—and the folks on it were not very nice. Then someone tries to ice Clare, and she really gets steamed.

Between baking delicious Christmas goodies and fending off the attentions of a persistent professional elf, Clare sets out to solve St. Nick’s murder. But she’d better watch out, because if she fails to stop this stone-cold killer, she may just get the biggest chill of her life.

It’s Christmas and thoughts of holiday-themed lattes, visit with family and friends were on Clare’s mind when she found Santa’s body in an alley. Clare, believing he was murdered starts to investigates and when her life is threatened, it’s evident that she getting closer to the killer. I really liked this murder mystery and the spirit of the holiday season woven throughout. The plot was well written and the dialogue entertaining. This page-turning and action-filled mystery kept me guessing with surprising results. The appearance of Madame is always a welcome sight. This holiday fare was a joyous read.

Cleo Coyle is the pseudonym of wife-husband team: Alice Alfonsi and Marc Cerasini

FTC Full Disclosure – The author sent me a copy of this book.

previously posted on the Cozy Chicks blog

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