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On What Grounds (Coffeehouse Mystery, #1)
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On What Grounds (Coffeehouse Mystery #1)

3.75 of 5 stars 3.75  ·  rating details  ·  6,509 ratings  ·  626 reviews
Introducing a delightful new series featuring Clare Cosi, manager of the historic Village Blend coffeehouse...

Clare arrives at work to discover the assistant manager dead in the back of the store, coffee grounds strewn everywhere. Two detectives investigate. But when they find no sign of forced entry or foul play, they deem it an accident. Still, Clare is not convinced. A...more
Mass Market Paperback, 275 pages
Published September 2nd 2003 by Berkley (first published September 1st 2003)
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One for the Money by Janet EvanovichThe No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency by Alexander McCall SmithCrocodile on the Sandbank by Elizabeth PetersChocolate Chip Cookie Murder by Joanne FlukeThe Cat Who Could Read Backwards by Lilian Jackson Braun
Cozy Mystery Series
19th out of 425 books — 1,303 voters
One for the Money by Janet EvanovichChocolate Chip Cookie Murder by Joanne FlukeAbby Cooper, Psychic Eye by Victoria LaurieThe No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency by Alexander McCall SmithMurder at the Vicarage by Agatha Christie
Best Cozy Mystery Series
14th out of 936 books — 1,053 voters

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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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I'm sorry but these books are mochas for the mind [yes, I DID write that!] and I LOVE them for the total frothy foam brain-fluff that they are. (OK, seriously. I'm done).
Jo Anne B
Disappointed. I thought from the title that this would be a clever, comedic, fun, fast-paced read. Instead it tried too hard, had all the cliches, unlikeable characters, wasn't well-written, and it was insulting. The main character's initials were the same as the author's (despite that being a pen name). In the book, a dance studio owner said that when one of her dancers was nude dancing, she was debasing herself to a lower crowd of people. Hmmm, I think she could have said authors do that too w...more
Lisa Kay

★★★★☆ I really enjoyed this one by a “new-2-me-author.” It was well written, fast-paced, and held my attention through-out. It conveyed the ambiance of a Greenwich Village coffee house. And I learned a few things about coffee. ☺ There is the obligatory “love interest” triangle, but it wasn’t over the top and even that had a nice twist. I’ll definitely continue the series.

P.S. It also satisfied several challenges, namely CaroB’s frustrating “double-decker” – since the author’s first and last name...more
Heather G
Mar 14, 2008 Heather G rated it 1 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: No one
I quit reading this after two chapters - I found it completely boring and unexciting. The language used (very dry) and the way too indepth information about brewing coffee did me in. Yuck!
Book 1. Pretty sophomoric writing. Way, way, way too much how to make coffee detail and over explaining of main character's feelings. HInts at romance with detective but nothing ... Want to like this series and will try next in series but . . .

Clare Cosi used to manage the historic Village Blend coffeehouse...until she opted for quieter pastures and a more suburban life. But after ten years and a little friendly cajoling from the owner (a fresh pot of Jamaican Blue Mountain was all it too...more
Jennifer Wardrip
I loved this first book in the fun cozy series. It combines two of my all-time favorite things -- coffee and mystery!

Clare Cosi has just come back to manage The Village Blend coffeehouse at the request of Madame, the wonderful, loving eccentric who just so happens to also be her ex mother-in-law.

When Clare arrives, it's to find the unconscious body of her assistant manager, Annabelle, lying at the bottom of the service stairs. What the police (led by hunky yet aloof Detective Quinn) assume is a...more
Another bookswap experience, this is the first in a series of books featuring Clare Cosi, who has just come back to New York to run her former mother-in-law's coffee house. I'm always somewhat suspicious of characters-who-appear-too-much-like-their-creators (along with the same initials, etc...).

Naturally, for this is a crime book, her arrival is coincidental with one of the assistants falling down the stairs and seriously injuring herself - given that the victim is a dancer, and therefore shoul...more
Yet another book that I wanted to like, but ultimately couldn't. I love cozy mysteries, but I wouldn't consider this a cozy mystery. Sure, there's a mystery buried in there somewhere. But I couldn't get past the coffee info-dump to get to the mystery. And it truly is an info-dump. As Clare is being interviewed about the accident, she's off on a tangent in her head about coffee and storing coffee and preparing coffee and waxing poetic about how she'll convert some coffee drinker to really, really...more
Owning, running, managing a self owned business is never easy but things get even more stirred up when a local coffee shop girl ends up at the bottom of the basement steps. The new manger with some involved history in the shop (her ex husbands family owns it) finds herself doing some mystery solving. The police depart while helpful is more set in placing the fall as an accident, but there is more than meets the eye (in more ways than one) to the fallen girl.

A fun fast paced story that made me wa...more
Book Concierge
This is a cozy mystery which takes place in and around a Greenwich Village Coffee Shop. Clare Cosi is convinced to return to managing The Village Blend by the owner, who is also her former mother-in-law. The recently fired manager had stolen an antique (and historically important) plaque from the business, but her new assistant manager is doing a great job. Or she was until the morning Clare finds Anabelle at the bottom of the basement stairs, barely breathing. Did she fall? Or was she pushed? C...more
Apparently the authors of On What Grounds, a couple using the pseudonym Cleo Coyle, have a lot or arcane knowledge about coffee and set out to write a series of theme-related, recipe-laden cozy mysteries centered around the proprietress of a coffee house. (My Italian friend tells me that the "s" in the main character's name, "Cosi," would be soft, so the word sounds like "cozy.")

Unlike some authors of similar series, "Ms. Coyle" has a credible writing style; the dialog, development, and motivat...more
Apr 30, 2013 Ian rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: lovers of coffee and cosy fireside mysteries.
Recommended to Ian by: Lisa Kay
For Clare coffee isn't just her profession, it's her life. Lured out of a self imposed exile to manage The Grind, Manhattan's premier café, she arrives one morning to discover the body of her assistant manager. The police are convinced it's an accident but things aren't adding up and Clare (with the help of her ex-husband and an exhausted detective) begins her own investigation.


On What Grounds is so much more than just a cosy fireside mystery, it's an education in coffee from beans to espresso....more
Why read: I love both coffee and cozy mysteries.

What impressed me: A great mystery. A great setting. I loved how coffee was incorporated in the story and more importantly, I loved Claire's relationships with the other characters. Between her ex-mother-in-law and her ex-husband, you really get to see some interesting sides to Claire and sets up for future possibilities.

What disappointed me: This is another cozy mystery series that can't possibly provide realistic involvement of the main character...more
Dec 28, 2008 Jennifer rated it 3 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Coffee drinking mystery lovers who like a little romance on the side
Shelves: 2005, cleo-coyle, mystery
The first in the Coffeehouse Mystery series.

Clare Cosi left her bad marriage 10 years ago and settled into suburbia (Jersey) to raise her daughter Joy. Now that Joy is in college Clare finds herself a little bored. Enter Madam - her former mother-in-law and owner of the historic Village Blend coffeehouse in New York's Greenwich Village where Clare used to manage. Madam offers Clare her job as manager again and throws in the apartment above the shop as well. Clare accepts and loads up her house a...more
This cozy was just okay for me... There was too much implausibility in it. The coffee shop is set in a prestigious area of NY and the owner is an extremely wealthy woman, "Madame Allegro," and she is also the main character's ex-mother-in-law. Madame is trying to convince Clare to return to her former job as manager of the coffee shop. Although the coffee shop has an interesting history and was supposedly frequented by members of the Bloomsbury group, the descriptions of the coffee shop as in it...more
When coffee shop employee Annabelle falls down a flight of stairs at work one night and becomes comatose, the police think that it was probably an accident. But shop manager Clare thinks that Annabelle was pushed and begins looking for suspects. Annabelle knew quite a few people who would gain from her death- jealous rivals and a wealthy boyfriend who may not want a poor girlfriend anymore.

I expected this to be a fluff mystery, but though the crime takes place on the first pages, it doesn't beco...more
Eileen Everly
I was looking forward to this as a breezy beach read, with little character development, just a fun story. So many genre mysteries ("haunted bookshop mystery", "a knitting store mystery", etc) have such two-dimensional characters; no one ever has any conflict but the murderer and victim, etc. But I was pleasantly surprised when this mystery had body and teeth. The setting is right up my alley; I've been known to sit for hours at a coffeehouse, and worked at one like this while I was in med schoo...more
I’ve read several authors asking whether blog tours and internet presence really translate into sales, so I suppose this book review is proof for me that they do. I “met” Cleo Coyle in a blog interview where she was promoting her latest book, Holiday Grind, and the concept of coffee and mystery intrigued me sufficiently—plus her name was easily remembered—that I looked up her books on my next visit to a bookstore. There I found and promptly bought book one of her series, On What Grounds. The cov...more
That was not particularly great. It's written in that style where everything is modified in a flowery fashion. That girl didn't walk across the room, her "lithe dancer's frame sashayed daintily across the smooth expanse of floor in the quaint cafe." Hmm.

And yes, the main character manages a coffee shop, but you don't need to devote large chunks of storyline to how to make a perfect espresso (hint: the liquid is supposed to OOZE out of the grounds like honey - this is mentioned at least twice) or...more
Apr 29, 2012 Andrea rated it 2 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: people who love coffee and mysteries
Shelves: crime-mystery, 2012
This book kept showing up in my recommendations. I hesitated to give it a chance because of the bad-pun title (and the other titles in the series). I liked the basic story, but my goodness does it take a lot to get the actual story out of it. The book was so descriptive, full of analogies, and 1/3 coffee how-to manual. While all the information about coffee and how to correctly grind the beans, the machines to use, and the process for making the perfect cup was interesting, I'm not a coffee drin...more
The only reason I gave this a 4 instead of a 5 was because two of the opening chapters should have been reworked a bit so that we get a description of the protagonist's life and view points before she's at the crime scene and talking to the police. It interrupted the flow and made me wonder if I'd gotten a messed up version of the book. However, the rest was golden, in my opinion. I love the way Clare relates everything to coffee. While it's not coffee for me, there are things in my life that I...more
Delaney Diamond
This is my first book by the author, and it won't be my last. Clare Cosi takes over her ex-mother-in-law's famous coffee shop in New York. It's a landmark business with a loyal clientele.

The drama starts when one of Clare's employees is found hurt in the coffee shop. Although the cops think it's an accident, she doesn't. With the help of her Italian husband (who sounds hot, by the way--too bad he's no good), they start sleuthing to get to the bottom of the "accident."

Recipes are included in the...more
Julie Golding Page
This is a light read, yet it's got real substance and is full of interesting things. There are lots of excellent tips on making great gourmet coffee, and I actually compared my usual procedure to the main character in the book - the manager of an upscale coffee shop in The Village, NYC. The setting, incidentally, is another attraction. I haven't been to New York City, so it was very interesting to read about one part of that infamous place.

Besides all these "packaging" aspects of the book, the s...more
RATING: 4.5/B+
GENRE/PUB DATE/# OF PGS: Mystery, 2003, 270 pgs
CHARACTERS: Claire Cosi/manager of Village Blend;
Matteo Allegro/coffee buyer & ex-husband
COMMENTS: 1st in coffehouse mystery series. Claire
moves from NJ to resume her former job as manager
of the Village Blend. She finds, Annabelle, the asst
mngr, at the bottom of the stairs. Police are presuming
an accident but Claire thinks otherwise. Nice feel for
NYC & lots of b...more
I found this book so-so. Mostly I found the narrator's silky, sweet voice annoying and couldn't wait for it to be over.
Eric Beaty
Sep 15, 2014 Eric Beaty rated it 3 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Coffee Lovers, Cozy Mystery lovers
Shelves: library-books
I'm a coffee-a-holic like many others, and when I saw this series on my local Books-A-Million bookshelf in the Mystery section—a section I rarely ever think to look at due to the voluminous rows of mainstream fiction—I just had to pick it up and see what it was about. Think of it, a mystery series just for Coffee lovers!

After reading the back cover and the prologue I just had to find out more. I went to my local library (read before you buy) and found they had just one copy of the entire series...more
T.J. Alexian
I read this book because I am a big fan of The Haunted Bookshop series, which is also written by Cleo Coyle. Since the next book in that series has been a long time coming, I thought I'd check this series out, especially since it appears that it's a bit more popular.

After finishing the book, I'm not sure I will stick around for the rest of the series. This one seems a bit too formulaic, and while Cleo Coyle always writes likeable characters and has a great eye for detail (the knowledge of NYC wa...more
Kim Bishop
Audiobook review
The narrator Rebecca Gibel was great! I loved her through and through, with all the characters. However, that being said, I'm not so sure about the author and this book, I'm on the fence about whether or not I will read the next book in the series.

The ending was the most excitement in the whole book.....unfortunately. Disappointment was what I felt about this book. Their was too much mundane details that covered a lot of space in the book, that may or may not be necessary. I foun...more
This was adorable!!! I loved it. Not only can you get recipes for a screaming orgasm, you get a cozy mystery. Clare owns a coffee shop the blend, and one morning she came in to find her employee Anabelle laying at the bottom of the steps. Clare was determined to prove this was no "accident". Clare with the help of her ex-husband do their own investigating and boy they get themselves in some sticky situations.

Definately worth a read. very cute, very light, very coffee!
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Cleo Coyle is the pseudonym for Alice Alfonsi, writing in collaboration with her husband, Marc Cerasini. Under the name Cleo Coyle, they've written 13 Coffeehouse Mystery titles. The first in their bestselling series is now in its 18th printing. Their newest release, BILLIONAIRE BLEND, was honored with a *Starred Review* by Kirkus, a "Top Pick" by RT Book Reviews, and Publishers Weekly called it "...more
More about Cleo Coyle...
Through the Grinder (Coffeehouse Mystery, #2) Latte Trouble (Coffeehouse Mystery, #3) Decaffeinated Corpse (Coffeehouse Mystery #5) Murder Most Frothy (Coffeehouse Mystery, #4) French Pressed (Coffeehouse Mystery, #6)

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“The perfectly measured burr of a dispassionate detective had suddenly changed into the explosive boom of a take-no-shit street cop.
Suffice it to say, I froze.”
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