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

3.73  ·  Rating details ·  10,019 Ratings  ·  988 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
Mass Market Paperback, 275 pages
Published September 2nd 2003 by Berkley (first published September 1st 2003)
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Patty I think this refers to a "vertical duplex". The shop is on the first two floors and the apartment is located above the shop. So there is effectively…moreI think this refers to a "vertical duplex". The shop is on the first two floors and the apartment is located above the shop. So there is effectively only one living area above the shop. The apartment does have its own entrance from the back garden as well as a private staircase from the second floor of the coffee shop. Instead of the two areas being side-by-side, they are one on top of the other.(less)

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
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Jul 12, 2008 rated it really liked it
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).
Erin ☕ *Proud Book Hoarder*
"Okay, I'm sorry, but decaf drinkers annoy me."

It's fun in a "cozy mystery" sort of way to read these books dedicated to drinks, foods, or hobbies. I'm a latte girl myself and thought a fun coffee shop series sounded delish enough to try. I can already tell by this first book that I'll be continuing with this long-running series for awhile.

Some mysteries seem focused on themes without teaching the reader much about the subject, but that's certainly not the case here. It almost was too textbooki
Jo Anne B
Aug 24, 2011 rated it it was ok
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
Heather G
Feb 26, 2008 rated it did not like it
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!
Aug 01, 2012 rated it it was ok
Shelves: audio, 2012
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
Erin L
Feb 05, 2010 rated it did not like it
Shelves: mystery
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
Feb 16, 2013 rated it it was ok
Apr 27, 2013 rated it really liked it
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.
Jennifer Wardrip
May 10, 2008 rated it it was amazing
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
Mar 28, 2009 rated it it was ok
Shelves: crime, series
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
Han Le flueff
Jan 06, 2015 rated it liked it
Three and a half stars.

Do NOT read this book if you are trying to give up coffee. It will have you running to your nearest barista for a hit!

I felt this was quite a good introductory novel into the life of Claire Cosi and am looking forward to getting to know her better. The actual mystery in this book wasn't particularly exciting, but there were a few interesting suspects and potential motives to keep you guessing. Am curious to see what the next mystery will be at the Village Blend....
Apr 30, 2017 rated it liked it
I enjoyed this book and found it to be a good cozy mystery. I enjoyed the lead character Clare but I was a little irritated with a couple of the other characters, Matt and Madame. I think I will try a couple more books from this series.
Jul 02, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: cozy-mysteries
I might raise this to 4.5 stars after it's had a chance to settle a bit. This cozy is really good. The writing is good, the characters and story line are well-done and very believable. I will definitely be reading more in this series, even if it does cause me to buy an espresso maker and expensive coffee. ☕ ...more
Mar 24, 2009 rated it really liked it
Shelves: mystery-suspense
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
Dec 18, 2010 rated it liked it
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
Sep 05, 2010 rated it really liked it
Shelves: mystery-cozy
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
Aug 04, 2016 rated it liked it
Shelves: challenge
Good start to the series and I look forward to reading more! I like the characters and the pace of the story was good. At times there were almost to many coffee facts but this book was still very enjoyable.
Aug 20, 2017 rated it really liked it
This is the second Coffeehouse Mystery that I have listened to and I really enjoy them. When I'm listening to an audiobook I'm usually sewing, sometimes cooking or cleaning. I need something light enough that I can do two things at once but interesting enough that it will keep me involved. These mysteries fit the bill. I'm not even a coffee drinker! But if you are you will definitely love these books as there is much discussion about types of coffee, how differently they can be brewed, etc etc., ...more
Apr 06, 2017 rated it liked it
Pro: This New York has POC people

Con: about 1/10 of the book is dedicated to discussing coffee, how to make it, different blends, it's inherent supiority to all other things, and how it can bring people together.

Pro: it made me, a dedicated tea drinker, consider revisiting my opinions on coffee.

Con: a little predictable/cliche as far as this genre goes

Pro: there is one potentially recurring gay character

Con: some of the characters lean on stereotypes

Pro: Interesting recipes

Con: Unrealistic respo
Feb 08, 2010 rated it really liked it
Shelves: mystery, cozy
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
Feb 21, 2014 rated it did not like it
If you want to know every single tiny detail about coffee and how to make the perfect cup, this is the book for you. If, however, you want to read a thriller with a tantalising plot, interesting characterisation, gripping red herrings and a mystery for you to try to unravel, look elsewhere. I'm still only half convinced that this book isn't a spoof as, on virtually every page, there was a treatise on coffee. This is meant to be a thriller with a dead body and a need to solve the case but all you ...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
Delaney Diamond
Nov 23, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: mystery-thriller
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
Cute book. I'm a coffee lover and chose this series because of the coffeehouse setting, but the coffee talk was a bit much in the first half of the book. For example, listing how to properly store coffee seemed overdone, but I loved how the author wrote the coffee descriptions in the scene where Clare takes over the expresso bar for an overwhelmed Quinn. I felt like the mystery was on the backburner a lot. Once it was at the forefront, the pace picked up nicely. I'm not used to cozy mysteries wi ...more
Jan 27, 2016 rated it liked it
Shelves: mystery
If you can get past the beginning where an extremely privileged white woman waxes poetic about every tiny detail involved with coffee, then you'll find a decently entertaining story that's more human drama set against the backdrop of a mystery than your traditional cozy. However, getting through the beginning is roooooouuuuuugh. I really didn't think I'd finish it, but I kept on and I'd say it was worth it. I'm not sure if I'll continue with the series, though.
May 28, 2016 rated it liked it
Shelves: fluff, mystery
Cute little mystery, a US version of a cozy, I guess. Set in a Greenwich Village coffeehouse. I learned a little about coffee and came across a few interesting recipes. The last 20 pages or so were a little too cute for my taste, but I might pick up others in this series when I need some mindless entertainment.
I hate-loved this book. Protagonist: great. Writing: poor. Mystery: 10/10. Romantic interests: eye-roll. Coffee enthusiasm: satisfying. Like I said, it's a love-hate. I rolled my eyes through a ton of it, but I read it every second I had available because I had to know what happens. The writing is not unbearable, just kind of... amateurish? Like, it's in the voice of the protagonist and she calls her tits "c-cups". Just don't, like 100% don't do that. Especially more than once. Don't refer to th ...more
Sep 09, 2017 rated it liked it
2.75 out of 5 -- Light summer reading fare along with a coffee primer.

On What Grounds is the literary equivalent of The Hallmark Channel for mystery lovers. Both provide respite from the harshness and evil of the world around us (real and fictional) and transport us to a "happy place". The book succeeds in this mission. It is a light and quick read and you won't encounter the gore, peril, and sex found in many mysteries. And one does learn an awful lot about coffee and its preparation (a nice to
Jun 14, 2017 rated it really liked it
Read for #Book1CoziesClub

I seriously wonder what takes me so long to get to some of the books on my shelf and this one is no exception. It was very entertaining and I really enjoyed this story. All the information on various types of coffee was interesting as well, but it tended to make me crave a cup after reading. That's a bad thing when you're reading right before bed!

I definitely recommend this one, especially if you're a fan of coffee or are a frequent customer of a smaller coffee shop. The
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Mystery Madness: BotM 06/2017: On What Grounds (Coffeehouse Mysteries) 17 12 Jun 27, 2017 09:48AM  
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Cleo Coyle is the New York Times bestselling pseudonym for Alice Alfonsi, writing in collaboration with her husband, Marc Cerasini. Under the name Cleo Coyle, they've written 16 Coffeehouse Mystery titles, including the latest, DEAD COLD BREW, a national bestseller in hardcover from Penguin Random House, a "Most Wanted" selection of the Mystery Guild, and a Top 10 Best Mysteries for Book Clubs 201 ...more
More about Cleo Coyle...

Other Books in the Series

Coffeehouse Mystery (1 - 10 of 18 books)
  • Through the Grinder (Coffeehouse Mystery, #2)
  • Latte Trouble (Coffeehouse Mystery, #3)
  • Murder Most Frothy (Coffeehouse Mystery, #4)
  • Decaffeinated Corpse (Coffeehouse Mystery, #5)
  • French Pressed (Coffeehouse Mystery, #6)
  • Espresso Shot (Coffeehouse Mystery, #7)
  • Holiday Grind (Coffeehouse Mystery, #8)
  • Roast Mortem (Coffeehouse Mystery, #9)
  • Murder by Mocha (Coffeehouse Mystery, #10)
  • A Brew to a Kill (Coffeehouse Mystery, #11)

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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.”
“Coffee makes a sad man cheerful, a languorous man active, a cold man warm, a warm man glowing. It awakens mental powers thought to be dead, and when left in a sick room, it fills the room with a fragrance…. The very smell of coffee terrorizes death.” 2 likes
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