A break from the gut-wrenching tales
Generally, I read books with a fair amount of tension – anything from murders to end-of-the-world kind of stuff. But occasionally, I like to give my stomach a break from the constant stream of acid and read a cozy mystery. A Cup of Murder is one such book. It is the story of Laila Rook, the barista at Roasted Love coffeehouse, who investigates the murder of the owner of a rival shop when her boss, Jacob, becomes the prime suspect.
True to the cozy mystery genre, A Cup of Murder places the emphasis on untangling competing theories about a crime, while minimizing violence and sex. And so, it’s a relaxing, easy afternoon or weekend read. The characters are generally well developed, although not complex. The pacing is good. Laila moves from suspect to suspect, theory to theory at a rate that generally holds your interest. There were a number of other reviews that mentioned grammatical errors, and while I am not oversensitive to this issue – and commit my fair share of these blunders – I was not distracted from the story by grammar, making me wonder if these comments were based on a previous edition.
With the emphasis on mystery, rather than visceral stimulation or gut-retching gore, a cozy mystery needs to weave believable conflicting theories, or a story like this one becomes just coffee with cronies while they play detective. In this regard, I believe A Cup of Murder could have done more. Putting Jacob in the role of the prime suspect seemed a bit of a forced fit from the start. And several of the alternative suspects were a bit of a stretch as well, which left the actual murderer. In general, it seemed somewhat predictable.
So, if you are a fan of the cozy mystery genre and don’t necessarily want your own deductive skills challenged too much, you’ll find A Cup of Murder a nice, comfortable read. And you can save your antacids for the next read.