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Grounds for Murder

(Maggy Thorsen Mystery #2)

3.71  ·  Rating details ·  470 ratings  ·  65 reviews
A sharp and amusing mystery from a talented writer - Set in Milwaukee at a scaldingly competitive trade show for the coffee industry, events reach a head when coffeehouse-owner Maggy Thorsen discovers a body under a table at the conference centre. As the reluctant conference coordinator and a potential suspect Maggy must track the murderer, save her coffeehouse, and hopefu ...more
Hardcover, 224 pages
Published December 1st 2007 by Severn House Publishers
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Average rating 3.71  · 
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 ·  470 ratings  ·  65 reviews

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Jul 17, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I am really enjoying this series. I wanted something light and fun to read so I read this 2nd book in the series as I enjoyed the first one.

I like this series due to the characters and the humor. Maggy Thorsen is the co-owner of Uncommon Grounds a coffee shop near Milwaukee Wi. She has been asked to be the M.C. for a barista contest at Java Ho which is a trade coffee convention/conference that is held annually. She is a natural for it with her outgoing personality. Right at the start of the boo
✨ Gramy ✨
Each book contains a cozy mystery, entertainment, and a sensible woman sleuth.

I find that I enjoy this series alot. I also appreciate that each book can stand on its own and they deliver an HEA.
A second laugh-out-loud funny book in this series, Grounds for Murder was an engrossing book. My only complaint is the use of a flashback the author used. Though she did a good job writing it, I can't stand knowing something with the characters clueless. Besides that, however, this was a good book that had me laughing. ...more
This is the first book of this series I've read and it's book two, but it got me more or less up to speed. Maggie Thorsen, owner of a coffee shop (espresso) is roped into helping oversee a barista convention where she--shockingly, given the title--stumbles across a dead body. What I liked about this book over the other coffee shop mysteries I've read in another series, is that I didn't have to read any descriptions of coffee beans, too much coffee making and I didn't have to see the divorced hus ...more
Ivonne Rovira
Dec 29, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This marks the second Sandra Balzo that I’ve devoured. Both mystery novels have been delectable light cozies that are perfect when you really need to escape.

Maggy Thorsen, the not-so-gay divorcée and co-owner of the coffee shop Uncommon Grounds, returns in Grounds for Murder. She and her new best pal Sarah Kingston work together on a convention for specialty coffee shop owners, which is called Java Ho. Naturally, the pair literally stumble onto a dead body, that of the loathsome Marvin LaRoach.
Feb 24, 2009 rated it it was ok
Shelves: mysteries, 2008
This is the sequel to “Uncommon Grounds” which was published a few years ago to much critical acclaim. This book was ok, but I think suffers from a sophomore slump.

Maggy Thorsen, is the divorced owner of the coffeehouse “Uncommon Grounds.” It’s time for the annual “Java Ho” a coffee trade show and Maggy gets roped in to running the barista competition. The book opens with Maggy discovering a dead body of the conference coordinator and then flashes back for the next 100 pages to catch the reader
Jul 15, 2008 rated it really liked it
This series is becoming one of my favorite series. I like Maggy, Sarah, and the Sheriff. Those three characters seem like ones that will be the main characters of the series.

I'm looking forward to reading the next one in the series.

Aug 13, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A fun read, which made me want more coffee. :) Maggy is a character I can relate to - lots of sarcasm to hide insecurities. Good mystery, enjoyable behind-the-scenes view of a convention.
Maggy Thorsen, owner of Uncommon Grounds, finds herself coerced into being the reluctant conference coordinator for the Second Annual Barista Competition at Java Ho. The six finalists include Janalee LaRoche (wife of head judge and Java Ho organizer, Marvin LaRoche) and Amy (a barista from Janalee's shop). The morning of the finals, Maggy finds Marvin LaRoche dead under the table holding the trophies, obviously the victim of an attack. The policeman who comes to investigate is none other than Ja ...more
Michelle Przekwas
Dec 04, 2019 rated it really liked it
Love Maggy...who is our heroine, ameteur sleuth, and coffee house owner in this series. Enjoy her love interest, the detective, although he is not nearly in this as much as I would like but he is in a decent portion of it. Enjoyed all the additional characters that make a good mystery series....and this is one of them.
When I feel as if I'm in a lull with my murder mysteries, I pick up one of these by Ms. Balzo. It's a really awesome series that is fresh and entertaining!
Jun 12, 2018 rated it liked it
Grounds for Murder is an interesting tale of murder that takes placed at a coffee convention. Providing an interesting case, it is not until the end that the true killer is revealed creating a hard to put down story.
Lianne Buccigross-Novak
Jul 18, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: covid-19
Another great Maggy Thorsen mystery. This book starts with the discovery of the murder at a competition and backtracks to before the competition. However Balzo makes it clear when we are back to the “current time.”
Mar 15, 2018 rated it really liked it
This was really good -- solid mystery, funny dialogue, real people. Well done and recommend.
Apr 20, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Murder and coffee can it get any better...
Annette Payne
Sep 20, 2018 rated it really liked it
Good and fun and quick. Going to try the first one now to bet the history!!!
Dec 11, 2018 rated it really liked it
I expect a lot of twists and turns. The killer was surrounded by lots of suspicious characters. Definitely keep your coffee while reading this mystery. The ending is really unpredictable.
Jun 21, 2019 rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
What a banger, I am loving this series
Nov 24, 2009 rated it it was amazing
#2 Maggy Thorsen mystery. Maggy is co-owner of Uncommon Grounds, a coffee shop in Brookhills, a suburb of Milwaukee, Wisconsin. She and her business partner Caron are struggling to keep things going, what with the death of their other partner in the last book, and trying to stay ahead of the chain coffee stores springing up. Maggy, planning to attend Java Ho, a coffee convention being held locally, agrees reluctantly to host the Barista Competition, hoping for some good publicity for Uncommon Gr ...more
Jul 18, 2010 rated it liked it
Grounds for Murder definitely hits the ground running, unfortunately it begins on a manic pace and by mid book, with it's snippy comments from the main character, the reader feels overwhelmed by what is being thrown at them with no real feel for the end goal of proving who killed LaRoche and why. This book came across more along the vein of throw it on the wall to sees what sticks, then the usual slow meandering pace that most cozies take.

Maggy Thorsen is coordinating the annual JaveHo coffeehou
Apr 07, 2013 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I had read the first book in the series, recalling that I hadn't been all that wild about it. Still, this one was showing at a steeply discounted price, so ... why not pick it up? Answer: weak plot, unlikeable characters, and creepy overtones to both. In order to get into the book, one has to find the world of coffee interesting; if not, there's a lot of coffee-related detail to slog through. We start with a sort of prologue of finding the corpse at the Java Ho! convention, and are promptly yank ...more
Sep 29, 2012 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
This wasn't a BAD book. I actually enjoyed the plot and the overall mystery. But the book is sort of crass. It starts with the phrase "Slut in a cup" (referring to a trophy that ended up looking more like a bare-breasted woman than someone making coffee). That really set the tone for the whole book. I think maybe it's just geared towards a different demographic - like the single kind. Not only that, but she makes a whole lot of fun of someone who's cloth diapering her child, which I did with bot ...more
Oct 24, 2011 rated it really liked it
Can also be read here:

My Thoughts: This series is quickly becoming one of my favorites. Maggy seems to be getting stronger as the series moves forward. The only problem I had with the book was the way it started. We start with the dead body and then spend the first half of the book getting back to that point. I would have preferred if we had just started at the beginning.
The characters of Brookhill were entertaining as usual. Sophie and Henry and the Red
Maggy runs a coffee shop with her friend. She is asked to oversee a barista competition at a specialty coffee convention being held in her hometown. One of the judges, a man who owns a chain of coffee shops in town turns up dead under a table to be used for the competition; Maggy investigates. OK story and some OK characters – these may be good as part of an ongoing series. Maggy’s friends (Susan, her business partner Caron) are very unlikable (they are mean) and Maggy herself seems somewhat inc ...more
Jami Zehr
Sep 26, 2011 rated it really liked it
I actually enjoyed this book immensely. While I agree that there are character flaws, questionable plot line tie-ins, and the pacing could have been better, I thought it was far funnier than Uncommon Grounds. This book actually had me chuckling out loud to an empty living room, as Maggy’s wit was in fine form. I enjoyed reading about a coffee convention, I liked the slow evolution of Maggy’s relationship to the sheriff, and I was more than amused by the antics of Maggy’s side-kick Sarah. Some of ...more
Crystal Chm
I really didn't care for the 1st book in the series, Uncommon Grounds. Too slow in moving. The second book, however, I truly enjoyed which is why I may have overrated this one just because I was surprised I liked it after the 1st. Tons of humor can be found here and the plot was good as well. Sometimes I find the plot to be lacking if the characters are really good in cozies, or vice versa. With Grounds for Murder, the author manages to pull off both a good storyline and engaging characters with ...more
Coffee cozy

Book two of the Maggy Thorsen series featuring the coffee shop co-owner and her sheriff boyfriend. It has the usual ingredients: a murder, an independent woman as a reluctant sleuth, a handsome love interest with legitimate investigative skills and resources, a quirky friend as "sidekick", an annoying female acquaintance-cum-irritant with circumstantial benefits, and a pet who provides occasional comic scenes. A bit of mystery, a bit of heat, and a bit of ambivalent exasperation with
Apr 22, 2015 rated it really liked it
Grounds for Murder by Sandra Balzo is the 2nd book in the Maggie Thorsen mystery series. Coffee shop owner Maggie is asked to assist in putting on a barista competition and exhibition, Java Ho. A competitors coffee house is burned down and the supervising judge of the competition Marvin La Roach is found dead by Maggie who then investigates.A quick and entertaining read, spoilt a little by the complicated solution. I enjoyed getting to know the characters and look forward to catching up with the ...more
Aug 13, 2010 rated it liked it
Shelves: mystery
A entertaining, easily read, who done-it.

I didn't begin with the first in the series but didn't have any trouble picking up the characters mid-storyline, if there is a continuation within the character development.

I recommend it highly for anyone who has a beach day, a rainy-curl-up-with-the-cat-on-the-couch day or a waiting-at-the-gate airport day coming up and wants to leave the half read dog eared copy of War and Peace at home.
Dec 13, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: nook
Funny, good mystery with coffee background. What's not to love? This time around, Maggy has been wrangled into organizing the annual coffee conference and trying to deal with the overbearing owner of the HotWired coffeehouse chain just adds to the chaos. And then there's the murder....
I do love this series and so glad I have a Nook so I can get instant gratification when I upload each book in the series. Don't have to wait for the mail or a trip to the bookshop to get my coffee/Maggy fix.
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Sandra Balzo is an award-winning author of crime fiction, including fourteen books in two mystery series--one set outside Milwaukee, Wisconsin, and the other in the High Country of North Carolina. MURDER a la Mocha, the eleventh Maggy Thorsen Wisconsin coffeehouse mystery, will be released in January, and the series has been optioned for development as a TV series/film.

Balzo's books have garnered

Other books in the series

Maggy Thorsen Mystery (1 - 10 of 13 books)
  • Uncommon Grounds (Maggy Thorsen Mystery #1)
  • Bean There, Done That (Maggy Thorsen Mystery #3)
  • Brewed, Crude and Tattooed (Maggy Thorsen Mystery #4)
  • From the Grounds Up (Maggy Thorsen Mystery #5)
  • A Cup of Jo (Maggy Thorsen Mystery #6)
  • Triple Shot (Maggy Thorsen Mystery #7)
  • Murder on the Orient Espresso (Maggy Thorsen Mystery #8)
  • To the Last Drop: A Coffee House Cozy Mystery (Maggy Thorsen Mystery, #9)
  • Importance of Being Urnest: A Coffee House Cozy
  • Murder a la Mocha: A Coffeehouse Cozy (Maggy Thorsen, #11)

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