The gang at the Village Blend are back in Murder by Mocha, the 10th book in the Coffeehouse Series and continues in the slightly off beat and quirky manner of the previous works. Claire Cosi is the Blend’s manager and resident sleuth.
In this edition, Claire finds herself caught up in yet another mystery that her ex-mother-in-law and business partner Madame stumbles into. Madame is involved in a business deal involving the use of the Village Blends coffee in a unique drink called mocha magic that is billed as a potent aphrodisiac. As soon as the drink begins to be marketed, the body count climbs and Claire just can’t resist the urge to get to the bottom of the coffee cup, so to speak.
Murder by Mocha is enjoyable enough. It was perfect to listen to while driving. Rebecca Gibel’s narration kept me engaged and brought life to the characters; something I always enjoy while listening to an audiobook. Another highlight is the continued romance development between Mike Quinn and Claire. I really like them as a couple and hope it works out for them. The secondary list of characters is long; ex-husband Matteo, daughter Joy, detective Franco, along with the entire barista crew of the Village Blend. It was fun to see further snatches of their lives, but overall they contributed little to the creating any depth with the story.
Don’t get me wrong, I liked this audiobook; I just didn’t love it. The mystery was very convoluted and disjointed, it felt that the author was trying to create so many plot twists to avoid revealing the murderer, that the story ultimately seemed contrived and forced.
I haven’t yet thrown in the towel with this series but after 10 books I’m wondering if the author can maintain fresh and new storylines for this established series.