Fresh Brewed Murder by Emmeline Duncan has Sage Caplin opening a coffee cart, Ground Rules in Portland, Oregon with business partner, Harley. On the third day, Sage arrives early to find a customer dead in front of the coffee cart. Unfortunately, Detective Will has Sage pegged as his prime suspect. Sage wants to get herself out of the out seat quickly. She begins looking into the victim and finds there are several other people with strong motives. Sage wants answers and she sets out to get them.
Fresh Brewed Murder by Emmeline Duncan is the debut of A Ground Rules Mystery series. Sage Caplin is twenty-seven with a unique childhood. She is opening a coffee cart with Harley in Portland, Oregon. Sage’s backstory is revealed slowly throughout this first book. We get to meet her friends and family. There are vivid descriptions of Portland that really brought the city alive for me. I did feel that this book was a little all over the place. The focus never stayed on the mystery for long. It felt like more time is spent discussing coffee than the whodunit. I had no idea there were so many varieties of coffee nor ways to make it. The book discusses roasting coffee beans and the flavors it brings out too. I know more about coffee than I ever wanted to know (sorry, but I do not like the beverage). Sage has family drama that dominates the story plus the book delves into the plights of runaway teens who are homeless. We follow Sage about her daily routine which is boring to read. The book needed more action which would have improved the pacing. The mystery of the dead developer is straightforward. There are several viable suspects along with misdirection. Avid cozy mystery readers will have no problem discerning the guilty party before the reveal. I could not get into Fresh Brewed Murder. A Ground Rules Mystery series is not the right fit for me. I believe it will appeal to a younger audience. There are recipes for items mentioned in the book at the end. Fresh Brewed Murder is a lighthearted cozy mystery with scrumptious coffees, a dead developer, cart chaos, a runaway teenager, a determined detective, and a parental predicament.
The Avid Reader
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