Murder comes a little too close for comfort when Maggy Thorsen (A Cup of Jo, 2010, etc.) finds a body underneath her coffee shop.
The historic train depot of a suburban rail line would seem to be the perfect location for Uncommon Grounds. After serving the rush of Milwaukee-bound commuters, the coffee shop still gets a steady trickle of what Maggy calls “Brookhills Barbies,” pencil-thin, tanned and back from their tennis lessons. And there’s the occasional celebrity, like TV reporter Ward Chitown, who’s in Brookhills with his producer Deirdre Doty to film a segment on the Brookhills Massacre, an FBI-vs.-Mob battle that took place—who’d a thunk it?—beneath the very floorboards of Maggy’s establishment. Naturally, Maggy gets to investigate her own mini-massacre when Chitown, Deirdre and local reporter Kate McNamara discover Brigid Ferndale sleeping with the fishes. Brigid once worked for real-estate agent Sarah Kingston, Maggy’s partner in Common Grounds. Is her death just one more in a string of agent killings that’s rocked the Brookhills’ real estate world? Or is it linked to her lawsuit against bipolar Sarah, who responds to the crisis by packing a Smith and Wesson? It’s a race between Maggy, clad in her special red dress for the festivities, and her boyfriend, sexy Sheriff Jake Pavlik, to unravel yet another baffling crime.
Balzo’s formula has gone staler than yesterday’s cappuccino. Even Maggy’s red dress can’t save this one.