24 Hours with Clare Cosi by Cleo Coyle

Dead To The Last Drop4:00 AM: I am fast asleep in the master bedroom of a stately Georgetown mansion, dreaming of a romantic dinner with acting federal agent Mike Quinn. Gourmet chef Tad Hopkins approaches with our entrees—cold, salt-packed sardines stuffed with boiled okra. Aaaaah!

5:30 AM: My foodie nightmare is interrupted by a loud ringing. As birds chatter outside my window, I pick up the phone to the chirping of my octogenarian employer, coffeehouse owner Madame Dreyfus-Allegro-Dubois.

For years, I managed Madame’s shop in Greenwich Village. Now I’m in Washington, DC, opening the first new shop in one-hundred years, one with a charming, relaxed Jazz Space on the second floor.

“Is that young chef I hired delivering a unique and exciting menu?” she asks.

“Oh, yes,” I mumble into my pillow. “So exciting I dream about it.”

Madame expects the kitchen will do brisk business tonight since it’s Friday. Oh, yeah? I think. Not with dishes like cold sardines stuffed with boiled okra!

6:10 AM: I walk to work through the quiet, picturesque Georgetown neighborhood. At this hour, DC traffic is light. On busy days, it’s more like New York City traffic—with a few exceptions. In Manhattan, rush hour only seems to run in circles. Thanks to the roundabouts of Washington, it actually does.

6:20 AM: Just in time to accept the pastry delivery. My DC baker truly does justice to my recipes (pun intended), and I start my workday with a double espresso and one of my Chocolate Ricotta Muffins. Okay, I admit to pinching an Oatmeal Cookie Muffin, too. (Don’t tell the Metro PD.)

10:15 AM: Another call from New York. This time it’s Matt Allegro—Madame’s son and my ex-husband. Matt is also our shop’s uber-talented coffee hunter. He’s agreed to ground himself from his usual globetrotting to manage the shop in Greenwich Village. One problem, he’s too permissive with my staff. His new bright idea—a suggestion box.

“Someone wants to install a chocolate fountain,” he informs me. “What do you think?”

“I think the Village Blend is a community coffeehouse, not a dessert bar at a wedding reception. Put the chocolate in the mocha lattes and the suggestion box in the basement!”

11:45 AM: After accepting the okra delivery, I am cheered by the sight of Mike Quinn’s rugged self sitting at my coffee bar. I pour him a special cup of single-origin Kona, the only coffee grown in the USA. I fix myself an Americano and cut us two fat slices of Nutella Banana Split Bread.

12:30 PM: As the lunch crush begins, my young, Italian-born assistant manager Tito arrives for his shift. College girls flock to the counter like the birds outside my bedroom window—just as noisy, but much more profitable!

2:40 PM: My daughter Joy texts from New York, where she is working with her father. “New suggestion in the box!” she declares. (Obviously, my ex ignored my suggestion of what to do with that box.) “Tucker thinks our Greenwich Village second floor needs more pizazz. He wants to redecorate with an Island theme and add a Tiki bar. Dante thinks an English Pub theme with dart boards and billiards would be cooler.” I resist the urge to throw the phone across the room.

6:10 PM: I notice my night manager Gardner Evans arriving on the sidewalk outside. A big guy in a suit calls his name and they begin to argue. I don’t like this. When the big man makes a wide gesture, I see a gun on his belt!

6:20 PM: I ask Gardner about the confrontation, but he shakes me off and hurries upstairs to open the Jazz Space. Fifteen minutes later, the first set of the night begins with Gardner’s excellent house band, Four on the Floor. They kick off with the most amazing jazz version of “Tonight” from West Side Story. Life is good.

6:50 PM: Mike Quinn arrives looking troubled. He won’t talk, either, but I suspect the problem is his awful, new boss at the Justice Department. I also suspect things are going to get much worse before they bet better.

7:00 PM: I tell Mike what he needs is a good meal. He suggests we dine upstairs. I warn him about the young chef’s “gourmet” menu, now featuring “Japanese-Southern” fusion.

“What’s that?”

I smile tightly, describing the sushi rolls stuffed with eel and okra.

Mike winces and I make another suggestion. “Luther Bell, our assistant cook, made a fantastic dinner for the staff. How about I pack up the leftovers and we have a picnic on the Mall?”

7:30 PM: Bundled up on a park bench, a cozy blanket over our laps, we munch delicious Buttermilk Fried Chicken, Hard-Cider Green Beans, Cheddar-Corn Spoonbread, and Pecan Pie Bars. Then we warm up by strolling through the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History before heading back to the mansion I’m housesitting in Georgetown.

9:30 PM: I press a pot of silky, smooth Sulawesi, Mike starts a fire in the bedroom hearth, and we get ready to enjoy. . .dessert.

11:59 PM: I am fast asleep, dreaming of Mike Quinn. . .

Dead to the Last Drop by Cleo Coyle is the 15th book in the “Coffeehouse” mystery series. Publisher: Berkley Prime Crime, December 2015

Recipe-Guide-CoverCLEO’S NEWSLETTER: Contests, recipes, news, fun facts, and videos. To sign up, simply write an e-mail that says “sign me up” and send it to CoffeehouseMystery@gmail(dot)com. You will receive a reply with links to past newsletters that include bonus recipes.

TITLE CHECKLIST: Get a free title checklist with mini summaries of all 15 Coffeehouse Mysteries. To download the list as a PDF document, click here.

To see the Free Recipe Guide to Cleo Coyle’s Dead to the Last Drop, click here.

GIVEAWAY (US residents only): Cleo’s Prize Package includes an autographed copy of her beautiful new hardcover edition of DEAD TO THE LAST DROP, a set of autographed glossy recipe cards; a Gimme Coffee Latte Cup and Saucer (made in Italy), and pound of premium “Billionaire’s Blend” coffee from One Good Woman Coffee and Tea Co., mentioned in the book’s acknowledgment as part of the background research for our “one good woman”—amateur sleuth Clare Cosi. Leave a comment below for your chance to win these goodies. The giveaway will end January 8 at 12 AM EST. Good luck everyone!

About the author
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 Alice-Alfonsi-and-Marc-Cerasini-Cleo-Coyleten years in print.Alice has worked as a journalist in Washington, D.C., and New York City, and has written popular fiction for adults and children. A former magazine editor, Marc has authored espionage thrillers and nonfiction for adults and children. Alice and Marc are also bestselling media tie-in writers who have penned properties for Lucasfilm, NBC, Fox, Disney, Imagine, and MGM. They live and work in New York City, where they write independently and together, including the national bestselling Haunted Bookshop Mysteries. Visit their website at www.coffeehousemystery.com.

130 responses to “24 Hours with Clare Cosi by Cleo Coyle

  1. What a fun giveaway! Thanks for the chance to win.

  2. Barbara Landrum

    Sounds like an interesting book!

  3. Oh my, I really need this extra special giveaway. I’m having a hard time believing Clare would eat a ell and orka sushi roll.

  4. Cheryl Corbitt

    I’m looking forward to reading this latest installment of Clare’s escapades! Always a great mystery served up with great recipes!!

  5. I love this series, and have read them all. Fantastic giveaway! Happy New Year.

    • It’s a pleasure to meet and greet a long-time reader, Patty. With Clare’s knack for finding trouble, she needs all the friends she can get–and we’re glad you’re one of them! Have a Happy and prosperous New Year.

      ~ Cleo

  6. Barbara Tobey

    Great series. Great giveaway.

  7. Karlene Barger

    It would be a Happy New Year to win this fun giveaway!

  8. Linda Kuzminczuk

    I love this series…keeping my fingers crossed that I win!

  9. This is such a terrific series – I love it! Happy New Year.

  10. Happy New Year!!
    This sounds like a great series. I am looking forward to reading it.
    myrifraf (at) gmail (dot) com

  11. I really enjoy these stories. I hope the change to DC doesn’t spoil them.

  12. I really enjoy the coffeehouse mysteries. Plus have learned a lot about coffee. Happy New Year!

    • Dianne, thank you so much for your generous praise. Hope that Clare’s latest adventure keeps you up late–with a great cup of coffee at your side, of course. Happy New Year to you and yours.

      ~ Cleo

  13. What a fabulous giveaway! I would love to win!

  14. Wonderful series, the giveaway is great too! Glad they went with the fried chicken and now the sushi! 🙂

  15. Valerie Consoer

    I absolutely love this series!!! Thanks for the giveaway!

  16. Wow great giveaway! Have the first book in the series in Jan TBR pile and what I’ve read from others reviews on the series I can not wait to get started. Thanks for the chance.

  17. Becky Prazak

    Sounds interesting, can’t wait to get started

  18. Love the coffeehouse series. Also enjoy the recipes.

  19. Kathy Gonzales

    This is my number 1 favorite series . I own them all in book and audiobook format ! This is a fantastic giveaway , thank you for the chance to win!

  20. I have read all her books from the beginning and eagerly await her newest! Would love to win a copy. Thanks for the chance.

    • Pat, you’ve traveled with Clare for as long as we have. Thank you so much for joining the adventure. Best of luck on the giveaway, and have a fantastic 2016!

      ~ Cleo

  21. Peggy Hyndman

    What an awesome giveaway! Thank you for introducing me to Cleo Coyle and for the chance to win.

  22. Love this series. I’ve read all of the books and look forward to the new one. thanks
    Happy New Year

  23. Brian Frauenknecht

    This is an amazing giveaway and I’m sure another amazing book. I absolutely love this series and would love to win this prize package. Thank you for the chance to win Dru!!

  24. elainehroberson

    Thanks for a chance to win a copy of your book. I signed up for the Cozy Challenge for the first time this year. This would be a great one to add to my list.

  25. Thanks for this wonderful feature and lovely giveaway. So special and intriguing. Great series and talented author and baker.

    • Thank you, Anne. If you love baking as much as I do, you’ll love the Black Magic Cake in Clare’s latest. I know because I do! Happy New Year.

      ~ Cleo

  26. I love coffee. It make my engine run every morning when I get out of bed. Cleo Coyle’s series is one of the best. Thanks for the opportunity to enter this giveaway. robeader53@yahoo.com

  27. I love the coffee shop mysteries and love winning goodies. Please, please, please!

  28. Love this series! Sounds like another winner from Cleo.

  29. Love this series and apparently so does everyone else in Pittsburgh! Long waiting list for the library’s copies of your audio books and my local mystery bookstore is sold out!

    • Kate, that’s great news. We often miss our home town streets, the Three Rivers, Point Park, and (Marc says) even the traffic around the Fort Pitt Tunnel. Give everyone there our best wishes, Good luck on the giveaway, and have a Happy New Year!

      ~ Cleo.

  30. Thanks, Dru and Cleo (Marc/Alice)!

  31. Fabulous book! Very exciting.

  32. These are new to me books, but after reading this sample I will be reading it!

  33. MaryAnn Forbes

    I will be adding Cleo to my authors to read list. Thanks for another wonderful giveaway .

  34. Each book gets better than the last, can’t wait to read this one. And what a terrific giveaway and had to download the recipes. Thanks! Happy New Year.

  35. Mary Jane H.

    I haven’t read any of the Coffeehouse mysteries. Definitely going on my TBR list for future reading.

  36. Doward Wilson

    This is a fascinating series. I am getting ready to reread it from the first book on. Thanks for the chance to win.

  37. Love this series.

  38. I love food and mystery.

  39. This a great series, I have all but the latest. I would love to win a copy.

  40. Vicki Highley

    Great series I would love an autographed copy of Dead to the Last Drop.

  41. Jeanie Dannheim

    This sounds good! It has been a long time since I have read one of the Coffeehouse Mystery series, and would love to start up again – and this wonderful prize basket definitely sounds awesome! Thank you for the chance to win!

  42. Celia Fowler

    I LOVE the Coffeehouse series, and what a wonderful musing with Clare Cosi and of course the giveaway. I used to live in D.C., so I am excited to read Dead to the Last Drop! Thanks Dru!

    • Celia, we are delighted to meet another long-time reader, and we’re happy that Clare has decided to visit one of our favorite cities, and yours, too. Thank you for sharing your thoughts. Best of luck for this New Year!

      ~ Clare

  43. This is such a great series!! One of my favorites. Thanks for the chance to win such a wonderful and generous prize package.

  44. I’ve loved this series from the very first one!

    • Barb, it’s readers like you who inspire us to share Clare’s adventures, and all those recipes, too. Keep in touch, and have a delightful New Year!

      ~ Cleo

  45. Love the series and the yummy recipes.

  46. Cynthia E. Blain

    OMGosh, this day in the life just got me so excited about this next book and flashes back to all the previous books for me to ponder as I wait for book #15 to make its way into my reading room (the bedroom). This was an incredible page to read tonight; thank you for the fun. Can hardly wait for the release.

    Cynthia Blain
    and Happy New Year to all.

    • Cynthia, many thanks for your praise, and for reading all of Clare’s many mysteries! Have a prosperous, healthy, and very Happy New Year.

      ~ Cleo

  47. What an awesome giveaway. Thanks so much for a chance at winning this

  48. Can’t wait to read about Claire’s next adventure
    As she solves another puzzling murder
    With Mike at her side, and Matt milling about
    She winds her way through the circuitous route.
    Love her coffee, the food – complete with recipes
    As she solves each mystery with ease.
    So a toast to a new year and the next great book
    As I dream of curling up in reading nook.

    • Margo Sue,
      You tell Clare’s story with wit and rhyme
      We’re impressed you gave it thought and time
      You warmed our hearts with your poem’s cheer
      So Marc and I wish you a Happy New Year.

      ~ Cleo

  49. Love this series… still working my way through it though! 🙂

  50. Love this series, and can’t wait to read this newest!

  51. Love this series, but have not been able to buy lately. Would love to win.

  52. Love, Love, Love the Coffee House Mysteries!! I can’t wait to read this new one. Happy New Year to you and Marc!

  53. I love the Coffeehouse Mystery series! This series not only reenergized my passion for reading because of the great characters, a great story, and a hunky detective, but also my passion for coffee. I pushed my Keurig aside and bought a French press, explored a variety of coffee blends, and made drinking coffee more of an experience than a habit. I love the way this blog was produced…. Thanks, Claire! Thanks, Cleo!

    • Kathleen, reading and coffee are two of life’s greatest pleasures, and we’re glad you find joy in both. Thank you for your generous praise. Have a bountiful and Happy New Year.

      ~ Cleo

  54. This is my favorite series! I would love to win this as a present to my friend, who introduced me to the Coffeehouse Mysteries!

  55. After 10+ days with a house guest for Christmas, this little Italian needs a Coffeehouse treat…feet up on the couch, Billionaire Blend in my coffee cup, Clare at my side, and a good mystery on the TV…divine and heavenly!

  56. This is a great series and I would really like to read the new book and not wait for it to come out in paperback. Happy New Year.

  57. After 10+ days with a Christmas house guest, this little Italian needs a Coffeehouse break…feet up on the couch with a cup of Billionaire Blend in hand with Clare at my side and a good murder mystery on the TV!

  58. Love these books and I do not even drink coffee.

  59. I cannot wait to read this one…. Santa didn’t bring it so I am hoping that I win! Happy New Year, Dru Ann and Cleo (Mark and Alice)!

  60. Candy Kennedy

    Would love to win, love your books and the Coffee would be such a hit.

  61. One of my favorite series!

  62. Would love this !

  63. I love your Coffee House series. For the new year I am rereading the series. It is so much fun to revisit characters and storylines.

  64. Gina Borkowski

    One of my favorite series and authors. Thanks for the giveaway!

  65. Just started this series so now to find the rest of your books to add to the few i have! Thanks for a chance to win this amazing give away!

  66. Great giveaway!!

  67. Great Giveaway

  68. Yeah!!! This is by far my favorite series!!! Love coffee love to read love the characters!!! I hope this series never ends!!!

  69. My comment didn’t show up? Anyways awesome series!!!

  70. Mary Mannella

    I just finished reading this book & could not put it down. I love reading all of your books. Alice & Marc you truly are my favorite Author. Happy New Years.

  71. jane wrthmann

    great giveaway love those books and recipes!

  72. I love this series! Can’t wait to catch up with Clare. Thanks for the chance!

  73. This is one series where I find myself going back often to reread the stories I love, not just when the latest comes out and I need to refresh my memory on the details, but just because so many scenes have left wonderful images in my mind and I want to relive them again. Thank you very much for the chance to win this latest in this great series.

    • Meg, it sounds like Clare is as close to your heart as she is to ours. Thank you so much for sharing your thoughts, and for your awesome praise. Have a Happy New Year!

      ~ Cleo

  74. I was very much looking forward to New Years Eve, as hubby was to be at work and I was going to cuddle up with the cats and download Dead to the Last Drop…my favorite book series.
    Much like Clare, my daughter, newly graduated from college, dropped by and asked to have an impromptu New years eve party at our house, with her old friends. Off to the kitchen I went, happily spending New Years eve with my loving daughter.
    I hope to win this book, so I can find another time to go off and hide and have my book time. Sometimes ya just gotta do what’s best for you!
    Love this series. It keeps getting better and better. Thank you

  75. What an awesome giveaway. Would love to win.

  76. What a great giveaway! I’d love to win and start out the New Year just right!!

  77. Jenne Turner

    Thank you for the chance!

  78. Joanne Kocourek

    I absolutely love this series and , to date, every recipe we’ve tried has been delicious! Appreciate the opportunity.

  79. Oh – I’d love to win! I’ve read all the other books in the series but haven’t been able to get out and get this one yet. Happy New Year!

  80. The suggestion box had me laughing…and eel and okra??? Gag, I admit that the okra has me gagging more than the eel, LOL.

  81. Such a great series – looking forward to reading this latest addition.

  82. Absolutely looks like a Great read 💟 Thank you for a chance to win ! Reading it would be a blast
    Sounds like it would be funny and totally interesting 👍

  83. I love all your books! Can’t wait to read more Clare Cosi!

  84. I just started reading this series and i’m hooked. Thank you for providing entertainment.

  85. Love love love the coffeehouse series. This is a fun giveaway. Can’t wait to read this book.

  86. Barbara Landrum

    Looks like a great book!

  87. Darlene Peterson

    I love your books and got a couple of your books for my TBR pile for Christmas. What a generous giveaway. Thanks for the opportunity.

  88. This is such a great cozy series. Thank you so much for the chance at an amazing gift!

  89. Brenda Tucker

    Love the Coffeehouse mysteries, can’t wait to read this one.

  90. Looking forward to reading the latest in a great series.

  91. I am so happy there is another installment in the Coffeehouse Mysteries. I love reading about the adventures of Clare and everyone else in the Village Blend universe.
    It’s great to see them branching out of NYC and into DC. So many new adventures to be had.
    A big fan of new recipes and I always turn to the back of your books to check out the new recipes first. It’s fun to find something new to try out.
    I bought the new book when it was first released but I would love to win an autographed copy. I have all of the books in the series but sadly none are autographed. If I do win, I will donate the book to my town library so others can read the new release.
    I would love to win the coffee cup and the coffee. I adore coffee and always up for finding new coffee to enjoy.
    Thank you for offering the prizes. Good luck to everyone.
    Happy New Year to all

  92. I’ve read all of the books in this series and have enjoyed every one of them. Claire’s former mother in law is a great character, as is her ex-husband. I can’t wait for this next installment.

  93. Prentiss Garner

    I enjoy this series and would love to win the package.

  94. Happy New Year!!!! Looks like another cozy mystery.

  95. A fun series!!!!
    Thanx for the giveaway…..

  96. Della Williamson

    You are a new author for me and I hope to read one of your books soon. I wasn’t sure if I had done this earlier or not. I didn’t see anything earlier so hope I’m not repeating. Love the cover. This was a most intriguing post. Glad to ‘meet’ you.

  97. Thanks Cleo for commenting and interacting with my readers.
    Contest is closed.