- Title: Honey Roasted
- Series: Coffeehouse Mystery #19
- Author: Cleo Coyle
- Where to buy: Amazon (affiliate link)
- Genre: Cozy Mystery, Culinary Mystery
- Would I recommend: If you like your mysteries with a little local color and a lot of food and coffee, this book – this series! – is a must-read.
About the book:
Clare Cosi is busy as a bee planning her honeymoon when murder buzzes into the Village Blend in this all-new mystery in the beloved New York Times bestselling Coffeehouse series by Cleo Coyle.
While struggling to find a romantic (and affordable) destination for her upcoming honeymoon, coffeehouse manager Clare Cosi whips up a honey of a drink made from honey-processed coffee. Clare plans to serve her outstanding new Honey-Cinnamon Latte at her spring wedding to her longtime honey, NYPD Detective Mike Quinn. The culinary world is also abuzz about the amazing honey that Clare was lucky enough to source for her shop’s new latte. Produced by Madame’s old friend Queen Bea Hastings, the rare, prize-winning nectar from Bea’s rooftop hives commands a premium price, and top chefs compete for a chance to use it in their signature seasonal dishes.
One night, a swarm of escaped bees blanket the Village Blend’s chimney, and Clare discovers Bea’s unconscious body after she seemingly fell from her high-rise rooftop-hive setup. The police want to rule it as a tragic accident or possible attempted suicide. But Clare doesn’t believe either theory. Like Madame, she knows this Queen would never abandon her hive. To sort out this mystery, Clare investigates a world of cutthroat chefs, culinary startups, and competitive urban beekeepers. But can she uncover the truth without getting stung?
You would think that, after nineteen books, a series might start to lag a little. Not so with Cleo Coyle’s Coffeehouse Mysteries! If you’ll pardon the coffee-related pun, they’re good to the last drop…er, page.
The mystery here isn’t a murder, but a near-murder. A swarm of bees has shown up on the Village Blend’s chimney, and Clare thinks they may belong to Madame’s old friend, Bea. When she arrives at Bea’s apartment, she finds that Bea fell from her rooftop greenhouse. Police on the scene thought it was a suicide attempt, and now Bea lies in ICU in a coma. Clare and Madame both know Bea wasn’t the type to kill herself, so they get to digging.
Clare is a wonderful protagonist. She’s very good at what she does, she’s stayed on good terms with her former mother-in-law all this time, and she’s quite perceptive and intelligent. It has been a treat seeing her grow as a character throughout the series, and with her sharp eye and deductive ability, I have no doubt the NYPD is glad she’s on the side of law and order.
I’m also glad to see that she and Matt, her ex, are becoming more of a partnership, a team, with Matt not trying quite so hard to get the two of them back together. In Honey Roasted, Clare and Quinn hit a bit of a rough patch. Matt tries to give Clare some couples therapy advice, and that made me snort-laugh. It’s nice to see him wanting what’s best for Clare rather than seeking his own ends.
And Clare and Quinn. I just love them! Their relationship isn’t all sunshine and roses. They both have their own baggage that they bring, and sometimes they trip over it. Work gets in the way of romance sometimes. Things go pear-shaped. They fight, they work through it, and they grow stronger together. I cannot WAIT for the book where we finally get a wedding! I might cry real tears.
There’s always something new to learn when I read one of Coyle’s Coffeehouse Mysteries, and this one was no exception. I was fascinated with all the beekeeping information! Bees are such interesting creatures and such a vital part of a healthy ecosystem, and I enjoyed reading about the efforts Bea went to to keep her hives healthy in the heart of an urban setting. I also had no idea there was actually a New York City Federation of Black Cowboys. I had to go google that. Wild Bill Mosley has a small but crucial role in the book, and his character is one of the little extra sprinkles on top of the main story that makes it such a delight.
I adore books where I learn new things, and when that new knowledge is tied up with an intriguing, well-written mystery, so much the better. Coyle has a positive gift for creating characters and writing them in such a way that maybe THAT one is the guilty party. Wait, no, that one. No, the other one! I seldom see the big reveal coming before it hits me upside the head, and that’s part of what makes these books so much fun.
And recipes! You like your cozies with recipes? This book – this whole series – has tons of them. I have so many that I’ve made note of that I can’t wait to try.
This series is so much fun, and so well-written, I could talk about it all day. I’ll close my review by saying that the series has just gotten better as it has progressed, and Honey Roasted is an excellent new entry. You don’t have to read the entire series to appreciate this one, but I recommend you start at the beginning and read them all.
About the author:
Cleo Coyle is a pseudonym for Alice Alfonsi, writing in collaboration with her husband, Marc Cerasini. Both are New York Times bestselling authors of the Coffeehouse Mysteries. Alice and Marc are also bestselling media tie-in writers who have penned properties for Lucasfilm, NBC, Fox, Disney, Imagine, and MGM. Learn more online at coffeehousemystery.com.