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Cup of Jo (Maggy Thorsen Mysteries) Paperback – July 1, 2011
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From Publishers Weekly
In Balzo's delightful sixth Maggy Thorsen mystery (after March 2010's From the Grounds Up), Maggy, the co-owner of Uncommon Grounds, a gourmet coffeehouse, which was destroyed during a freak snowstorm, is planning to celebrate the opening of her rebuilt shop at the same time that the town of Brook-hills, Wis., dedicates the new Milwaukee commuter-train line. Maggie is pleased with the giant inflatable coffee cup she hired for the occasion, until it accidentally deflates and reveals the body of missing Brookhills event manager JoLynne Penn-Williams sprawled at the bottom. When amateur sleuth Maggy begins to investigate, she's dismayed that clues point to her boyfriend, county sheriff Jake Pavlik, as the killer. Devastating innuendos that Jake has been unfaithful shatter Maggy, but don't prevent her from seeking the truth. As ever, Maggy's wit and wisdom help keep the pages turning through this lighthearted cozy.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
Poor Maggy Thorsen (From the Grounds Up, 2010) just can’t seem to get her coffee business going. Her original Wisconsin café, Uncommon Grounds, was destroyed in a blizzard. Now, with a new business partner, Sarah Kingston, and a site in a renovated railway depot that serves a commuter line, things should be going well. They hope to have the grand opening when the new rail line is dedicated. Maggy even commissions a giant inflatable coffee cup and saucer for the roof, but unfortunately, Jo, the event manager, turns up dead inside it. The ensuing investigation turns up some surprising information about some of the community’s most upstanding members. The fast-moving plot makes the most of the author’s quirky characters and will have readers wondering if Maggy will ever be able to make a go of it in the coffee business, but they will be happy to read another installment in hopes of finding out. Solid cozy fare. --Barbara Bibel --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
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Maggy Thorsen, co-owner of Uncommon Grounds coffee shop, is on hand at the celebration with her partner, the prickly real-estate agent Sarah Kingston, when JoLynne turns up dead, marring the celebration.
Poor Maggy deserves a break: First, in Uncommon Grounds (A Maggy Thorsen Mystery), her marriage broke up when her dentist husband recently left her for his 24-year-old dental hygienist. Then, when Maggy begins a new life and a new business, her coffee shop was destroyed in a freak May blizzard in Brewed, Crude and Tattooed (Maggy Thorsen), and the re-opening nearly spoiled due to mayhem in From The Grounds Up (A Maggy Thorsen Mystery). But Maggy's not about to catch a break in "A Cup of Jo," the sixth novel in the series. Turns out the pretty and petite victim JoLynne, although married, was very promiscuous -- even bedding her sister's boyfriend and, according to rumor, Maggy's main squeeze, sexy Sheriff Jake Pavlik. When she's not waxing jealous about promiscuous JoLynne, Maggy's worried about Milwaukee County Executive Wynona Counsel, who once dated Pavlik, too. It's not a pretty picture, but, considering Maggy's history -- she was oblivious of her ex's philandering -- it's understandable.
So who killed JoLynne? Was it her cuckolded husband, whom police have arrested? Or could one of JoLynne's many lovers or their spurned wives or girlfriends have decided that enough was enough? You'll be rooting for Maggy to find out the truth. While most will also be rooting for Maggy to patch things up with Jake, I'm ambivalent. Maggy's a strong woman, and Jake's a bit bullying and emotionally distant. As the kitchen magnet proclaims, "It's better to have loved and lost, than to live with a psycho for the rest of your life." Jake's not a psycho, but Maggy can do better.
Still, don't let my demur put you off. "A Cup of Jo" will brew up a funny and clever page-turner you'll drink in no time flat.
Imagine their shock when the two proprietors find the body of Kevin's wife JoLynne Penn-Williams in the bottom of the cup; the cause of death asphyxiation by someone who cut off her breathing. Brookhills County Sheriff Jake Pavlilk eventually arrests Kevin for murdering his wife. Rumors explode that the sheriff and the deceased were lovers and other evidence leads to Pavlik's's arrest. Maggie rejects the notion her lover is a killer, but her insecurities make her wonder if he might be a cheater. She investigates and almost loses her life in the process.
Anyone who enjoys a fun caffeine crime cozy will want to read the Maggy Thorsen mysteries (see From the Grounds Up) as the series contains some of the best amateur sleuths on the market. The obstinate lead protagonist is an interesting person with doubts about her abilities yet also strong convictions that make her need to prove her lover innocent even while she debates his fidelity. With a well constructed whodunit, fans will enjoy A Cup of Jo (or two) as Sandra Balzo provides her readers with a gourmet mystery topped off with a wonderful shocker as to who is behind the victim's death.
With motives all around and suspects close to heart, it's up to Maggy to sort through clues while trying to maintain a booming coffee business. Trouble has a knack for following Maggy, though, and the twists and turns in this mystery are as abundant as the quirky characters. Balzo fills her Wisconsin town with a great supporting cast of friends and fiends ensuring that Maggy's tale is heartwarming, hilarious, and perfectly puzzling.
The challenge is on for the reader to solve the murder alongside Maggy Thorsen. Armchair detectives everywhere will definitely want to cozy up with A Cup of Jo.