Sandra Balzo, Murder on the Orient Espresso, coffee, mystery

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A Coffee Lover’s series

Grab a cub of coffee and enjoy Sandra Balzo’s delicious coffee-themed release, Murder on the Orient Espresso. Not just a great title but also an engaging train ride through the Florida Everglades. This eighth book in the Maggy Thorsen series is entertaining, funny, and a cleverly put together puzzle. I’ve read the entire series, and from the first days of Uncommon Grounds, through Bean There, Done That, and after Triple Shot, Maggy and friends have been pure fun.

In book eight, Maggy and the oh-so-delicious Jake are off to the Everglades for a Crime Writers’ Conference with attendees playing the Agatha Christie roles. With perfectly believable ingenuity, Maggy again must solve her way out of a murder. Even with humorous dialogue, the far richer comedy of character aspect rounds out each story as you try to sort through the clues.

Sandra Balzo creates a realistic sense of place, and the narrow confines of the cars create an atmosphere of rising tension, bubbling jealousy, increasing hunger, and flooding swamp waters. And inside is a murderer playing the part of a murderer.

I had a couple of laugh-out-loud moments in my quiet little library space and thought I should explain to another patron that pythons, feet, and cake knives were indeed a funny thing. I enjoyed this mystery so much that for a moment I felt bad about having such fun over a murder. But the characters were so stimulating and amusing that I just pretended I had an espresso martini, nodded to the bemused library visitor, and went on reading.

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