It is time again for me to talk about another of the Most Popular and Recommended Cozy Mystery Series. And as the title of this post reveals, this month I read Tara Lush‘s Grounds for Murder, the first book in her Coffee Lover’s Mystery Series.
This series, the first of three books so far, is based in Devil’s Beach, Florida and features Lana Lewis who is 30 years-old. She is a recently laid off journalist and now is a barista who is managing a coffee bar (called Perkatory) owned by her father. Her father is a bit of an older new age hippie, and he does not participate very much in the business. Since the coffee bar was started by Lana’s late mother a number of years ago, Lana is pretty familiar with what it takes to be a barista. Nevertheless, Lana is very insecure about her talents, and she has been relying on her star employee, Fab.
Fab, however, abruptly quits to go to work for Perkatory’s chief competitor on the island. And, inevitably, Fab is soon found dead. He either jumped or was pushed from the roof of the Perkatory building (where he had been living).
Lana, of course, quickly gets working on trying to figure out what happened. She does this partially in the guise of a journalist since she arranges with the local paper to have her article about the death published as a feature. Investigating the death also gives Lana the chance to get to know the local police chief quite a bit better. The police chief, Noah, is quite a looker, and Lana is very attracted to him. However, Lana is recently divorced from her cheating older husband, so Lana has sworn off men, at least for a while. Exactly how long this vow will last, I will leave it up to you to discover.
Lana is something of an unusual main character for a Cozy Mystery nowadays. Although she is in Devil’s Beach running Perkatory because she was laid off from a Miami paper and because of her fairly recent break-up, she is not running Perkatory and working as a barista out of love for the job. She actually loved being a journalist, and she misses that job very much. Her journalistic instincts are pretty much what drives her to try to solve the mystery since doing so will get her a great story to write and publish.
Devil’s Beach and the coffee shop provide the small town setting so beloved by cozy mystery fans, (especially me). Personally, I love a good cup of coffee, and Perkatory seems to be just the type of shop in which to find a good one. Lana is an appealing character and is something of a change, she is not managing the coffee shop in order to escape her previous life. Partly because of this, Lana is somewhat insecure, but is trying to make her new life be the best she can. I really enjoyed Grounds for Murder and I look forward to reading the other books in the Coffee Lover’s Mystery Series (if I can ever find the time!).
If you’d like to see other entries about some of the most recommended Cozy Mystery authors, be sure to check out the Most Popular and Recommended Cozy Mystery Series page on my site.