Book Review: Cleo Coyle’s Latte Trouble

Posted December 30, 2011 by Kathy Davie in Book Reviews

I received this book for free from the library in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Book Review: Cleo Coyle’s Latte Trouble

Latte Trouble


Cleo Coyle

cozy mystery that was published by Berkley Prime Crime on August 2, 2005 and has 243 pages.

Explore it on Goodreads or Amazon.

Other books by this author which I have reviewed include On What Grounds, Through the Grinder, Murder Most Frothy

Third in the Coffeehouse Mystery series revolving around an historic coffeehouse set in Greenwich Village in NYC and the people involved with it.

My Take

This is such a fun series — be sure to load up on your favorite cup of joe before you sit down with one of Coyle’s stories! Coyle provides lots of coffee facts whether it’s about the history of the bean, the differences in the roast or the beans’ preparation, or simply how to make a good espresso. Since Clare is also interested in food, you won’t be disappointed there either.

I have two quibbles on the series: Coyle can be a bit pretentious about the food angle and Clare is sometimes fairly stupid. On the plus side, we can probably learn what not to do. Anyway, minor. I am enjoying Clare putting Matteo off in every story so far. He was such a selfish rat when they were married. Now he wants her back, and she’s not very accepting as she explores the field for herself.

Lots of red herrings in this.

The Story

It’s Fashion Week in New York City, and Village Blend is hosting a party for Lottie Harmon, an old friend of Madame’s who has made a huge splash in her return to the fashion world. But one of Tucker’s lattes poisons two of the guests, and Tucker gets tossed in jail for murder. A murder that Clare is determined to solve if only to save Tucker. He’s family and there is no way the real murderer is getting away with it! Because it’s for darn sure that Starkey and Hut have their minds made up.

Meanwhile, Matteo has his own plans underway with a coffee kiosk idea and Breanne Summour, the editor-in-chief of Trend magazine. Turns out Matteo has other ideas as well…about coffee and how it’s prepared.

Even Madame becomes involved in this investigation when Clare explains how the victim was not its intended target. An investigation that results in all sorts of questions being raised. Kidnapping. And more murder.

The Characters

The Village Blend’s manager is Clare Cosi, Matteo Allegro‘s ex-wife — the Blend’s coffee buyer who wants back with his ex. Madame Blanche Dreyfus Allegro Dubois maintains majority ownership. She’s also Matteo’s mother with high hopes they will reunite. Joy is their 19-year-old daughter attending chef school and has a more realistic view of her parents reuniting.

Tucker Burton is their gay night barista, a job that funds his true career of acting and writing. Other employees include Moira McNeely, a student at Parsons School of Design; Esther Best, an anti-fashion NYU student of comparative literature; and, Gardner Evans who plays in an up-and-coming band when he isn’t working.

Detective Mike Quinn is attracted to Clare and has been talking to her about his marital problems. Officers Langley and Demetrios play a cameo role. Detectives Rachel Starkey and Hutawa are the detectives called in for the poisoning.

Eduardo Lebreux had been Pierre Dubois’ friend and worked for Village Blend until Pierre died and left Madame a widow. Then the gloves came off, and he’s been trying to run Village Blend into the ground. Ricky Flatt is Tucker’s most recent ex- and is determined to rub it in Tucker’s face with the boy toy he brought to the party. Bryan Goldin is the Billy Idol-like model who keeps turning up everywhere. Millionaire David Mintzer is introduced.

Lottie Harmon has returned to the fashion scene with a vengeance with her coffee-inspired line of jewelry. Fen, a.k.a., Stephen Goldin, is an old flame of Lottie’s as well as her current business partner. But he does have an alter ego.
Rena Garcia and Tad Benedict are her business partners. In the past, Harriet Tasky and Mona Lisa Toratelli were the behind-the-scenes partners with Lottie.

The Cover and Title

The cover is oh-so-stylish — under the table with the fishnet-clad legs in their red four-inch heels with their pointy toes casually conversing with the brown plaid cuffed trouser legs and brown oxfords even as a broken coffee mug lies in a pool of spilled latte.

The title plays off the main victim’s name as well as the poison delivery system all of which ends in a whole Latte Trouble.