Spuddie's Reviews > Uncommon Grounds

Uncommon Grounds by Sandra Balzo
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Sep 01, 09

Read in August, 2009

#1 Maggy Thorsen mystery set in Brookhills, Wisconsin. Maggy and her business partners Caron and Patricia are set to open their new coffee shop, Uncommon Grounds, in a strip mall in suburban Brookhills. Maggy, late on her first day, opens the door only to find Patricia collapsed on the floor, a pitcher of milk spilled around her. At first it appears to be some sort of natural event but it's later determined that the espresso machine was interfered with and that Patricia was deliberately electrocuted. Although Patricia could be a bit intense and overbearing, Maggy can't think why anyone would want to kill her--until some previously unknown facts about her come to light, and Maggy realizes how little she really knew Patricia. Then the suspect list begins to burgeon, though the new sheriff in town, Jake Pavlick, seems to be happy with the easiest result. Gary Donovan, the town's chief of police and long time friend of Maggy, helps her mull over possibilities--she just doesn't believe that Patricia's husband David is capable of murder as everyone seems to think--but when he turns up dead of an apparent suicide, she begins to wonder. I had a vague inkling about the bad guy early on but wasn't sure til about two-thirds of the way through. I enjoyed the book quite a lot more than I expected, as I've had a pretty low opinion of most "themed" cozy series I've tried lately--to the point where I haven't bothered finishing most of them. But this has a little harder edge to it than your "typical" cozy mystery, and I liked Maggy a lot--she seemed to be a very "real" person with some depth of character--and not an annoying one!--and her supporting cast is also coming along nicely. I found a few bloopers (wrong form of a word used, wrong character name, etc) which threw me off guard a bit, and Maggy did admittedly suffer from that old 'amateur sleuth' curse where she does dumb things like withholding evidence and investigating dangerous things on her own....but that almost seems de rigeur these days. I'm glad to have found a cozy series that I'm actually looking forward to carrying on with.
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