Mocha may be the inspiration for a series of murders.
Even though Clare Cosi is long divorced from Matt Allegro, she still works for Madame, his mother, running the Village Blend coffee shop and living over the store. But she doesn’t usually have to work so hard to earn her overtime. While she’s spending some quality time with her policeman lover Mike Quinn, Madame phones and orders her to rush over to the New York hotel where her old friend Alicia has awakened to find a blood-soaked corpse in bed with her. The cops Clare calls, however, arrive to find a room stripped of all clues, including any trace of a body. When she’s not sleeping with the dead, Alicia is promoting her new Mocha Magic coffee, which she claims contains an herbal aphrodisiac. Clare is concerned because the Village Blend is providing the beans and she and her staff are offering up the brew along with some chocolate treats at several publicity parties. The new formula is being introduced by the enigmatic Aphrodite, whose entire female staff fiercely compete to rise in her organization. When the first party brings another murder along with the treats, Clare continues to probe despite her worries about her daughter, who’s just returned from France, and Mike, who’s involved in a nasty case of police corruption.
An overly busy plot keeps this from being the best of Coyle’s coffeehouse mysteries (Holiday Grind, 2009, etc.). But foodies will doubtless enjoy the appended recipes.