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On What Grounds (Coffeehouse Mysteries, No. 1) Mass Market Paperback – September 2, 2003

207 customer reviews
Book 1 of 12 in the Coffeehouse Series

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Editorial Reviews


#1 Paperback Bestseller, September 2003 -- Independent Mystery Booksellers Association

A great beginning to a new series...Clare is a well-conceived character...and [her] investigation is very methodical. A fast, one-sitting read... -- The Mystery Reader

A hilarious blend of amateur detecting with some romance thrown in the mix...I can't wait to read the [entire] series. -- Cozy Library

The setting is wonderful...Clare is a character [who is] honest but never brutal and her intelligence is what shines through. -- Cozies, Capers & Crimes

From the Publisher

Introducing a delightful new series featuring Clare Cosi, manager of the landmark Village Blend coffeehouse...

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Product Details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Berkley (September 2, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 042519213X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0425192139
  • Product Dimensions: 4.2 x 0.8 x 6.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 4.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (207 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #220,957 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Visit Cleo Coyle at her online coffeehouse: where she posts bonus recipes, shares coffee picks, and maintains a message board.

CLEO COYLE grew up in a small town near Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. After earning scholarships to study writing at Carnegie Mellon and American Universities, she began her career as a cub reporter for The New York Times. Now an author of popular fiction and bestselling media tie-in writer, Cleo lives and works in New York City, where she collaborates with her husband (also a bestselling author) to pen the Coffeehouse Mysteries for Penguin. With close to 1 million copies of her books in print worldwide, Cleo Coyle has written 14 entries in the Coffeehouse Mysteries with the 15th set for release December 2015. This critically acclaimed series of light, amateur sleuth mysteries has earned two starred reviews. Multiple entries have been reviewer Top Picks, chosen for Best of Year lists, and featured as selections of the Mystery Guild. Together Cleo and her husband also write the bestselling Haunted Bookshop Mysteries under the name Alice Kimberly. When not haunting coffeehouses, hunting ghosts, or rescuing stray cats, Cleo and Marc are New York Times bestselling media tie-in writers who have penned properties for NBC, Lucasfilm, Disney, Fox, Imagine, and MGM. In their spare time they cook like crazy and drink a lot of java. You can learn more about Cleo, her husband, and the books they write by visiting Scroll down the left column of the site's Home Page and you will see links to a number of online interviews that Cleo has given.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

198 of 208 people found the following review helpful By Erika Sorocco on May 11, 2004
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Ten years ago, at the age of twenty-nine, Clare Cosi used to manage the historic Village Blend located in the heart of Greenwich Village, New York, when she left to pursue a life in suburbia where she could raise her daughter. Now, at the age of thirty-nine, she's decided that the slow pace of New Jersey is beginning to bore her, so when she gets a call from Madame (the owner of the Village Blend) to come back as manager, Clare jumps at the chance. However, as she and her cat Java make their way into the Blend, Clare is startled to find Anabelle, the Village Blend's assistant manager, sprawled on the floor, unconscious, surrounded by coffee grounds. When the police arrive, they feel that it was nothing more than an accident, as there is no sign of forced entry, or a struggle, but Clare feels differently. Now she's on the case to find out who had it in bad enough to hurt Anabelle, before the Blend is sued for everything they have.
First off, let me say, I am NOT a coffee drinker. In fact, I can't even stand the taste or smell of the stuff. However, I adored this mystery. It was interesting to read about all of the preparations that you have to go through to make a great cup of coffee, and Cleo Coyle informed us in ON WHAT GROUNDS in a very fun way. Clare is a fun character, who is spunky and nosy, and will capture the hearts of cozy mystery lovers everywhere. Her outlook on life that coffee makes any problem better is hilarious, as are the various quotes about coffee scattered throughout the book. The bottom line: Whether you're a coffee lover or not, you'll love this story. I can't wait for the next one, THROUGH THE GRINDER. Oh, and for those who do love coffee, there are various recipes in the back of the book for different coffees and desserts.
Erika Sorocco
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87 of 94 people found the following review helpful By NYNM on February 14, 2005
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Gotta say, I live in Greenwich Village and used to work at St. Vincent's Hospital (where the victim in the book is sent) and I l-o-v-e-d this book. I could really relate to the details, although I can't yet figure out if/where the coffee shop is modeled after here in NY. I don't even know if we have any such places anymore now the Starbucks is here, too.

Personally, I loved the coffee-trivia even though some other reviewers complained; I like cosies where you learn something.

The plot was good, many different possibilities as the killer and some good "relationship" issues going on.

The only problem is, I've been yearning for a GOOD cuppa since I finished the book (in a day -quick read)!!
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24 of 25 people found the following review helpful By Kindle Customer on December 7, 2004
Format: Mass Market Paperback
From the start of this book, the reader is cheering Clare on as she stumbles into a life that she left a decade before. She is intelligent and has the interesting situation of having to decide between two men- her exhusband Matt or Dect. Quinn.

Not only is this a mystery that keeps you guessing, it has profound passages and reflections about life, September 11th, and living in New York.

If you like coffee, make yourself a pot because this book will keep you up late reading.
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39 of 44 people found the following review helpful By D. Schryver on April 17, 2006
Format: Mass Market Paperback
I picked up this book because coffee and mystery seemed such a great combo as I love them both. I was not disappointed. Our main character Clare has found herself back managing The Village Blend, an historic coffeeshop in Manhattan. What she finds upon returning, however, is an attack on an employee; her ex husband living in her apartment; and a cute detective on the case. Since the police seem to be under the impression this attack was just a workplace accident, Clare is determined to solve the case herself.

I thought this was a great little mystery with a lot of good coffee tips as well. It flowed quite nicely, and was a quick read. I look forward to continuing with this series.
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37 of 44 people found the following review helpful By Pacey1927 VINE VOICE on June 5, 2008
Format: Mass Market Paperback
I wanted to like this book a lot. I am desperately seeking a good, cozy or not, mystery series. But this was not it. The plot sounds pretty good, a single emply nester moves back home again to live near and work for her ex-mother in law. Clare's is given the immense job of restoring the coffee shop back to its glory days. Previous management has left the coffeehouse failing. Unfortunately, Clare also has to deal with her ex-husband popping back up and wanting to play house, literally. Adding even more drama, Clare finds her favorite barista lying crumpled at the bottom of the stairwell. Clare is sure that it was attempted murderer but she needs to convince the police of that. Sounds pretty good, huh? Its in the actual detail of the story that "On What Grounds" becomes so dry its nearly unconsumable. The author gives far too much detail about what makes for perfect coffee, or expresso, or 500 different coffee variations. As she is doing so, she comes across as snooty instead of sincere. I am not a coffee drinker, but I don't think even the most faithful drinker of the stuff could possible want this much detail about the size and shape of beans or how the cup percolates. Even putting coffee aside, the author goes off on these long discriptive tangents about paintings, or siding, or watching grass grow, whatever. As I read, I kept wondering if this stuff would later come up to be important in solving the crime, but nope. I just don't understand why the huge deviances from the story line and why the editors allowed this. Part of me wants to know if and when the writing in this series becomes better stream-lined because then it may be worth trying to jump into the series again.
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