Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Uncommon Grounds (Maggy Thorsen Mystery #1)” as Want to Read:
Uncommon Grounds (Maggy Thorsen Mystery #1)
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Uncommon Grounds (Maggy Thorsen Mystery #1)

3.59  ·  Rating details ·  764 Ratings  ·  123 Reviews
Independent Mystery Booksellers Association BestsellerRobert L. Fish Award-winning authorAnthony Award-nominated authorPatricia Harper is dead, killed by a hot-wired espresso machine in Uncommon Grounds, her very own gourmet coffee store! Maggy Thorsen wants to know who killed one of her partners. Maggy needs the store to succeed. Starting over after her divorce, she's qui ...more
Paperback, 245 pages
Published September 1st 2005 by Five Star Trade (first published 2004)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.
This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Add this book to your favorite list »

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
Rating details
Sort: Default
Erin ☕ *Proud Book Hoarder*
There's something fun about coffee shop and tea house cozy mysteries. This first book in a new-to-me series didn't disappoint. It was cute, funny, intriguing enough to work - will check out more of the series when I get a chance.

Maggy Thorsen and two associates open a new coffee shop business, but the day of the opening is delayed with one of them is found dead next to the latte machine. The three aren't close friends, but they had set plans that are compromised by one of them being knocked off.
Actually loved this one, too. So far this year's been two for two!
Ivonne Rovira
Dec 27, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Ivonne by: the website StopYou'reKillingMe
Maggy Thorsen spells her name unusually. But that's not the only unusual thing about her. Although a bit bitter about her impending divorce, she doesn’t let that cloud her judgment — or her curiosity and sense of fair play — and sense of humor. How could you not love a woman who calls the choice between two witnesses shocked by a terrible death “[t]the lesser of two feebles”? Ya gotta love her!

Forty-two-year-old Maggy was living the suburban dream in the fictional small town of Brookhills, Wisco
Feb 06, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Maria by: Nancy Roessner
Shelves: murder-mystery
I got this free on Kindle. I really liked this book, about a group of friends who open a coffee shop and on the morning of the grand opening, one of the partners is found dead at her post. What follows is a pretty good whodunit that kept me guessing almost to the end. The story is filled with good character development (although the plethora of names kept me confused most of the time, I chalk that up to my own mental deficiencies!), the humor was not forced and at times chuckle-worthy.

I would ha
★★★☆☆Interesting and humorous. Would've given 4* but for foul language throughout, which detracted from main characters', otherwise, comely traits. (no F-bombs) and Christians are, again, the bad guys. TTS-enabled eBook ©2004
Sep 01, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
#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 electroc ...more
In the interest of full disclosure I confess that I was predisposed to like this book. I recently had the good fortune to have Ms. Balzo as a seat mate on a flight from Atlanta to Harrisburg, and after our interesting conversation I made up my mind to try this series.

That being said, it has been a very long time (read as: years) since I enjoyed a series of this nature. I don't know if my taste has changed or if I have made poor sampling choices. So while I really wanted to like the book, I wasn'
Victoria Allman
Apr 27, 2012 rated it it was amazing
I must say, I read a lot of mysteries and usually have an inkling of who-dun-it or my suspicions al least. With Uncommon Grounds, I had no idea until the last chapter who had killed Patricia Harper on opening day of her coffeeshop. And to an avid reader, that makes this book a winner.

I was thoroughly engrossed in the story of Maggie Thorsten, co-owner of Uncommon Grounds and suspect in the murder, and the town of Brookhills. It is easy to see why this first book in the series was nominated for a
First Balzo book I have read, well listened to and it was what I would call a cozy mystery. Not bad for a mystery, keep me interested the entire book and I loved the twist to the plot. Took me a minute to figure it out and when I did I was shocked. Anyway, don't want to give anything away but this is a really quick easy read if you are looking for that.
Selah (abibliophilesstyle)
Wow, that was . . . terrible. It was going along in a kind of standard cozy mystery way, until about 3/4 of the way through, when it took an extremely unexpected turn and got really weird. Not quite "aliens did it" weird, but still. Actually, aliens would've been better.
Jamie S
Sep 01, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A rollicking good time. I love Sandy/Nero Wolfe
Mar 12, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery
A "coffee cozy" with the typical number of coincidences and enough character surprises to keep the story interesting.
Apr 17, 2011 rated it really liked it
In Uncommon Grounds, Maggie has arrived at her new coffee shop. Today is supposed to be opening day, but when she finds one of her partners dead on the floor, it looks like that's going to be postponed for awhile. The police have lots of suspects, including Maggie herself. However, Maggie is determined to solve the murder so that she was can find out who killed her friend and finally open her coffee shop. Little does she know that she's about to uncover some secrets that involve not only some pr ...more
Feb 13, 2011 rated it really liked it
Maggie Thorsen, former PR exec and current partner in Uncommon Grounds, walks into her new coffee shop on opening day only to discover her partner Patricia dead, death by espresso machine. Who could have killed Patricia, and what does this mean for the future of the shop?[return][return]Signs point to their third partner and friend, Caron, as the possible killer but Maggie won t believe it and sets out to save her friend and their business. During her mission to find the murderer and save Uncomm ...more
Reader's Paradise
May 15, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: review
Latte’s can be lethal!

Welcome to Uncommon Grounds, come on thru sit a spell or just walk by and take a smell. Come on in check out the menu, at Uncommon Grounds we’re new its true but don’t worry because we’ve got something just for you!

On Opening day of Uncommon Grounds, instead of serving up coffee, they were served with Murder! Patricia Harper, one of the trio of owners is DEAD found laying on the floor seemingly electrocuted while making her favorite latte!

How could this happen, the machine
Oct 06, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery, fiction
On its surface UNCOMMON GROUNDS contains all the elements required for the traditional cozy --- small town, mysterious death, amateur sleuth --- while keeping the level of requisite suspension of disbelief to a minimum. The small town in this case is Brookhills, Wisconsin, where the grand opening of Uncommon Grounds, a gourmet coffee store, will be celebrated. A pall is cast upon the event, however, when Patricia Harper, one of three partners in the new business, is found face up and stone cold ...more
Jul 06, 2008 rated it it was ok
Uncommon Ground is the first in a series by Sandra Balzo. The book centers on a newly separated 40-something who with friends is opening a coffee shop in a seemingly conservative, decidedly religious and mostly Republican small town. We never meet the murder victim since she dies before the book begins, so everything we discover about her character is revealed through and judged by others. Along the way, there is another murder and a series of unbelievable coincidences, so much so that the endin ...more
Mar 05, 2015 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Fun. I've had the worst luck with the cozy mystery, until this and then The Edith Wharton Murders, which was a reread.

So I totally guessed who the murderer was, which was very unusual for me because I rarely bother, but I just knew.

(view spoiler)

Except I really kind of liked the character, who grew on me up until his "and I would have gotten away with it too, if it
Apr 26, 2010 rated it it was amazing
I had a heckuva time finding a copy of this book after putting it on the WWBL after reading a review or synopsis somewhere a while back. Finally located a copy, then it sat in one of the drawers of Mt Git'r'Read until I was in cozy mode. Then I whomped my way through it in rapid fashion.
It's set in a foo-foo coffee shop in a small town where the three friends and partners are hoping that foo-foo coffee will catch on like it does in the big city. And then the murder on the very first opening day
In Sandra Balzo's Uncommon Grounds, the first installment in the Maggy Thorsen culinary cozy mystery series, she took a 21st twist for this central coffee shop theme. It all started at the grand opening of Maggy's coffee shop, Uncommon Grounds, with the two partners. That's when they discovered that Patricia Harper was found dead, electrocution by the espresso maker. A shock to the small town, that's when Maggy butted heads with the new Sheriff in Town, Jacob Pavlik. It was up to Maggy to find o ...more
Oct 17, 2011 rated it really liked it
originally posted:

My Thoughts: This was a great read and excellent start to this series. I was hooked from page one and was able to finish it fairly quickly (about a day).
Maggy's character is what you would expect from someone who's trying to pick up the pieces after her husband has left her for his dental assistant. She is fun and quirky but also has her insecure moments where she is not sure of anything that is going on around her. I thought the rest o
Aug 07, 2013 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2013
Maybe I’m being a little unfair. It’s not that Uncommon Grounds as a mystery novel is boring, it’s more that Wisconsin is not depicted as a very fun or interesting place.
I will admit that I didn’t figure out who did it until it was revealed at the end of the novel, so it did keep me guessing, which is something novels that I’ve read for this challenge with a more interesting backdrop did not do. So there’s that…which is pretty big for a mystery novel.
Part of the Maggy Thorsen series, this book i
Apr 09, 2014 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Uncommon Grounds is the selection for the Cozy Mystery Corner Group on Goodreads. This is the first in a cozy series based around a coffee shop. Maggy Thompson, partner in a coffee shop venture to the murder victim Patricia Harper, takes her turn as a sleuth to solve Patricia’s death.

I read another coffee shop based mystery, Cleo Coyle’s Coffee House Mystery series and could not help making comparisons between the two. Unfortunately Uncommon Grounds comes out the loser in this comparison. Maggy
Feb 09, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Maggie Thornsen is looking forward to opening her coffee shop with her two friends. However, before they even have the chance one of her friends is found dead in the shop. Maggie is suspect because of the location of the murder and how it happened and she has to clear her name so she isn't closed down for good.

Uncommon Grounds is a fun, enjoyable first book in the series. Maggie is a little rough around the edges and one of her closer friends is a very outspoken, chain-smoking realtor. As with m
Jun 26, 2010 rated it liked it
Shelves: mysteries
Maggy Thorsen has started a coffee shop with three women friends. On opening day, she comes into the shop to find both her partners there already. Caron is standing and staring at Patricia's body on the floor. It turns out Patricia was electrocuted by their fancy coffee machine, electrocuted. It turns out to be murder......

Maggy becomes the target of the investigating sherriff's attention, is it romantic or is she a suspect. Driven by the need to clear herself and Caron as well as her own curios
Jami Zehr
I had a fun time reading this book. I thought some of the concerns and problems (cell phones and email addresses for example) were a bit out dated, the militia thing was a little strange, and the coincidences a little too serendipitous. But, I did like the main character, her wit and charm were exceptional. She was never a damsel in distress who needed to be saved by the lead male character, and her dogged TV detective skills were far more realistic in a small town that she lived in than many my ...more
Nov 29, 2009 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2009-challenge
This is the start of a new cozy mystery series where the protagonist owns a coffee shop with two friends, one of which is murdered on their opening day. She spends the whole book whining about her ex husband, and how her life USED to be, solves the murder and possibly starts a romance with the cop who had been investigating the murder. It wasn’t a *bad* read, but it could have been better, and the use in the plot of computers really dated the whole thing – having a fully functional adult who has ...more
Sep 06, 2011 rated it liked it
Recommended to Suzanne by: Book Crawl - Wisconsin
Shelves: cozy-mysteries
Not a bad mystery. I like Cleo Coyle's coffeehouse series better. In Coyle's mysteries, I feel like I'm living and breathing coffee, and in Balzo's coffee plays a very distant role. I liked the main heroine, Maggy Thorsen, and I was actually surprised about who committed the murder. The setting and secondary characters were okay - not especially memorable.

I can't say I'd never read any more of this series, but right now I'm in the mood to get the next Coyle coffee mystery!
I'd give this 3.5 stars if I could. One of the things I liked about the book is that the murder of one of Maggie Thorsen's partners in her new coffee shop takes place on the very first page. Although Maggie and her other partner discover the murder together, Maggie is the one who does all the investigating and her partner plays a very minor role in the plot. I thought the plot moved along pretty steadily and there is some witty dialogue as well as a developing love interest. I've read another bo ...more
Sep 01, 2012 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I decided to spring for this one (on sale via an Audible promotion) as I liked Karen Savage's narration of a similar book: Getting Sassy. This one I found a bit flat, and the coffee details became irritating after a while. Doubt I would've stuck through a print reading, but Savage is a good fit for the protagonist here, although she needs to slow it down by at least 50% ... it's as though she's trying to get the book to be as few minutes as possible for a goal!
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • Death in Four Courses (Key West Food Critic Mystery, #2)
  • First-Degree Fudge (A Fudge Shop Mystery #1)
  • Death of a Kitchen Diva (Hayley Powell Food and Cocktails Mystery, #1)
  • Liver Let Die (A Clueless Cook Mystery, #1)
  • A Taste for Murder (Hemlock Falls Mysteries, #1)
  • Delicious and Suspicious (A Memphis BBQ Mystery #1)
  • A Brisket, a Casket (A Deadly Deli Mystery, #1)
  • Death al Dente (Food Lovers' Village Mystery, #1)
  • Wreath of Deception (Craft Corner, #1)
  • The Cooking School Murders (Eugenia Potter, #1)
  • Something's Cooking (Angie Amalfi, #1)
  • Cookie Dough or Die (Cookie Cutter Shop Mystery, #1)
  • Pleating for Mercy (A Magical Dressmaking Mystery, #1)
  • Farm Fresh Murder (A Farmers' Market Mystery, #1)
  • A Slice of Murder (Pizza Lovers,  #1)
  • Death on Tour (Jocelyn Shore, #1)
  • The Corpse with the Silver Tongue (Cait Morgan #1)
  • A Taste of the Nightlife (Vampire Chef, #1)
Sandra Balzo is an award-winning author of crime fiction, including eleven books in two mystery series--one set outside Milwaukee, Wisconsin, and the other in the High Country of North Carolina. MURDER ON THE ORIENT ESPRESSO, the eighth Maggy Thorsen Wisconsin coffeehouse mystery, was released in December, and the series has been optioned for development as a TV series/film.

Balzo's books have gar
More about Sandra Balzo...

Other Books in the Series

Maggy Thorsen Mystery (10 books)
  • Grounds for Murder (Maggy Thorsen Mystery #2)
  • 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