Death by Coffee by Alex Erickson is the first book in the new Bookstore Café Mystery series. Krissy Hancock has moved to Pine Hills to start a bookstore/coffee shop with her best friend, Vicki Patterson. They received the start-up money for their business from Krissy’s father, James Hancock. James Hancock is a retired mystery writer. Their new store is named Death by Coffee after James Hancock’s first book (despite Krissy’s many objections). On their opening day Brendon Lawyer comes in for a cup of coffee. He leaves after getting a call and returns to his insurance office across the street. Soon the police and an ambulance arrive across the street. When Officer Paul Dalton comes in Death by Coffee, he tells Krissy that Brendon is dead. Traces of peanut were found in his coffee. Brendon had a peanut allergy and died from anaphylactic shock. Brendon usually has an EpiPen in his briefcase, but there was no EpiPen in there today (sounds like he had a severe allergy to peanuts).
Krissy loves mysteries and puzzles. She has gotten into trouble in the past for sticking her nose into situations that she shouldn’t, but Krissy keeps doing it anyway. She sets out to find out who killed Brendon Lawyer despite Vicki’s (and the police’s) pleas. Krissy is not subtle about her questioning. She just barges in and asks her questions (and she wonders why the new business is suffering).
Vicki is a good partner. She keeps the business running while Krissy is out investigating. Chief Dalton likes Krissy and thinks she is perfect for her son (Officer Paul Dalton). Krissy still has not unpacked anything in her house, but she has a date! Who killed Brendon Lawyer and how did they do it?
I did not learn much about Vicki in the book. I know she went to high school and college with Krissy, she does not like acting (which is what her parents want her to do), and she wanted to live in a small town (and get away from her parents). I actually learned more about Krissy’s cat, Misfit (we get to hear a little too much about the cat). There is also a cat in Death by Coffee (the shop). Its name is Trouble and trouble is what it causes in the store.
I was really looking forward to Death by Coffee. It sounded like a good book, but I was very disappointed. The mystery was easy to solve if you follow the clues. There is a lot of repeating of information throughout the book (like how Krissy puts a cookie in the bottom of her coffee cup before putting in the coffee). There are many rambling paragraphs where Krissy is “thinking” about the case. Krissy tends to check out of reality when she is trying to solve a puzzle. Those ramblings also contain her thoughts on the hunky Paul Dalton. I give Death by Coffee 3 out of 5. This is just the first book of the series and a lot of series get better as they progress. We will have to wait and see. Death by Coffee will be out on May 26, 2015. The next book in the Bookstore Cafe series is Death by Tea. It will be out November 24, 2015.
I received a complimentary copy of Death by Coffee from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. The review and opinions expressed are strictly my own.
One of my favorite authors will have a new book out in February 2016. Menna Van Praag's The Witches of Cambridge is her latest novel. If you enjoy reading Sarah Addison Allen, you will like Menna Van Pragg's books. Some of her other novels are The House at the End of Hope Street and Dress Shop of Dreams.
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The Avid Reader