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by Cleo Coyle
Berkeley, April 2008
288 pages
ISBN: 0425220494

Buy in the UK | Buy in Canada

The sixth book in the Coffeehouse Mysteries, FRENCH PRESSED circles around heroine Clare's daughter, who is serving her cooking school internship at Solange, a trendy New York French restaurant. To Clare's dismay, Joy has also been providing other, more personal, services to her boss as well. As little as Clare likes that, she is allowing her daughter the room to make her own mistakes. Besides, Clare's a little busy herself, juggling her coffeehouse, her divorce (despite all attempts of her former mother-in-law to restore the marriage) and her slowly moving romance with Mike.

Mike is a policeman, one of many cozy cliches riddling the plot. Another is Clare's knee-jerk decision to do some private investigation when Joy finds one of her co-workers stabbed to death in his apartment. (They're perfectly good plot points, but after having read book after book with the same setup, I have begun to wonder why all these women are dating policemen when they don't trust the police to be able to actually do their jobs.) There were a number of possible suspects who might have stabbed Victor: Solange's kitchen is full of temperamental artistes who have been yelling, threatening, and stomping off the job on what seems like a daily basis. Certainly, Clare wants to draw the police's attention to the kitchen's second-in-command, who tried to stab Joy in front of everyone.

In order to investigate, Clare convinces the restaurant to make an alliance with her coffeeshop, pairing gourmet coffees with the French pastries. But despite her best efforts, people keep dying – and Joy keeps getting into deeper trouble.

The puzzle is pretty standard and the book is a quick read at 288 pages. However, it's interesting enough to keep you amused on a rainy day, and the characters are well drawn enough to keep you turning pages. Certainly there's enough description and detail to make any coffee lover salivate.

At the end are recipes enough to make anyone salivate, including Raspberry Coulis, Chocolate Pots de Crème, Coc au Vin, and more.

Reviewed by Linnea Dodson, June 2008

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Contact: Yvonne Klein (ymk@reviewingtheevidence.com)

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