Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Review: Grounds for Murder

Grounds for Murder by Sandra Balzo
3 stars

Reasons for reading: I enjoyed Balzo's first book, Uncommon Grounds, last year; Seconds Challenge

Description: "Set in Milwaukee at a scaldingly competitive trade show for the coffee industry, events reach a head when coffeehouse-owner Maggy Thorsen discovers a body under a table at the conference centre. As the reluctant conference coordinator and a potential suspect Maggy must track the murderer, save her coffeehouse, and hopefully put some froth in her love life. . . "

First line: "Slut in a cup!"

My thoughts: One review of this book describes it as "lukewarm" - I wouldn't go quite that far, but I definitely preferred the first book. This one felt a bit rushed and hard to believe. Most of the secondary characters are quite caricature-ish - an uber-enviro-earth mother and her money-grubbing egotistical husband, for example. Fortunately, one of one them - Maggy's chain-smoking friend Sarah who decides to "quit" by breathing in second-hand smoke and cracks the whip on the conference exhibitors -adds some spark to the story. Balzo's humour is still there (as you can see from the first line!), but I'd have liked better characters and more development of Maggy's budding relationship with hunky detective Jake Pavlik.

The verdict: Not a bad little cozy but not the sequel I was hoping for.

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