Sunday, April 17, 2011

Uncommon Grounds by Sandra Balzo

In Uncommon Grounds, Maggie has arrived at her new coffee shop. Today is supposed to be opening day, but when she finds one of her partners dead on the floor, it looks like that's going to be postponed for awhile. The police have lots of suspects, including Maggie herself. However, Maggie is determined to solve the murder so that she was can find out who killed her friend and finally open her coffee shop. Little does she know that she's about to uncover some secrets that involve not only some prominent town citizens, but also some of her friends.

I really enjoyed reading this cozy mystery. It's the first book in the series of six (so far). I don't think I've read another cozy like this one where the book opens with a murder. At first I didn't know if I was going to like it. Whatever happened to getting to know the characters or setting before offing one of them. Not to mention background information. However, I loved it. Really loved it. Balzo goes on to cover all of those other things in time, but I eventually found it very refreshing to have the murder take place right up front. I loved the setting of a coffee shop and the whole small town feel with the politics and regular patrons. It was all well written and well conceived.

Maggie was a great character. Her good-for-nothing-cheating-soon-to-be-ex-husband, Ted, has taken up with his 24-year-old hygienist and her son is away at college. That just leaves her oversized dog for company. Her tepid relationship (with there-might-be-an-attraction overtones) with the country sheriff, Pavlik, had me on the edge of my seat wondering where it was all going to lead. Pavlik was also a good character. I loved watching him work and observing his interactions with Maggie. As far as other characters go, the great supporting cast of characters were all fun to read about. Good guys, bad guys and everyone in-between.

This is the first book I read on my new eReader. While the formatting was a little screwed up (I had to enlarge the text to read it) and I couldn't use some of the eReader's features because it was a PDF, I loved reading this book on it. I really didn't want to put it down. When I did, I couldn't wait to pick it up again.

Favourite quotes:
...I poured myself a glass of fine red wine and opted for a sleeve of Ritz crackers and a can of spray cheese to go with it. Major food groups accounted for (fat and salt, alcohol and aerosol), I settled on the couch to call Caron.

New word:
narthex (page 161): part of a church (entrance hall or screened off area)

Highly recommended. I have to next two books (Grounds for Murder and Bean There, Done That) already loaded on my eReader. I can't wait to read them.

For more information about this book, please visit This book is out of print, but it's now available on Kindle, with other formats coming soon (hopefully).

For more information about the author and her other books, please visit Sandra Balzo's website.

Many thanks to the author for sending me this ebook to review.

Uncommon Grounds by Sandra Balzo, Five Star, ©2004. ISBN 1594141959(e-book/PDF), 245p.

1 comment:

  1. I have read one of Sandra's later books, Brewed Crude and Tattooed I do believe it was my introduction to Cozy mysteries, or at least to know ing that there is such a category. I am planning to read more of the series.


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