GROUNDS FOR MURDER by Lena Gregory
SERIES: Coffee & Cream Cafe Mystery #2
GENRE: Cozy Mystery (Clean)
PUBLISHER: Gemma Halliday Publishing
RELEASE DATE: November 21, 2023
From author Lena Gregory comes a tasty new mystery with a killer twist…
Danika Delaney is thrilled to have taken over her uncle Jimmie’s old fashioned malt shop on eastern Long Island and is working hard to make it her own. In an effort to increase business, Danika invites a mystery writer to the Coffee & Cream Café for a discussion and book signing. Things seem to be going well, until a guest shows up and confronts the author, accusing him of plagiarizing his work. Embarrassed by the incident, Danika goes to the inn where the writer is staying the following morning, hoping to apologize and offer him another chance to return. What she finds instead is his dead body—beside a cup of poisoned coffee! Now it’s up to Danika to find out who wanted to silence the author… before the killer decides to write Danika a not-so-happy ending!
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I love Lena Gregory’s books and devoured her latest – Grounds for Murder – in one sitting. It was great to reconnect with all the characters I enjoyed meeting in book one, hang out at the grand opening of the Coffee and Cream Cafe, and continue trying to decide which potential love interest I prefer for Dani. FYI, I definitely developed a preference in this book, but I’ll be interested to see if I stick with it as the series progresses. The chemistry between Dani and ‘Detective Delicious’ Jake is still off the charts, y’all – it’s a good thing the firehouse shares a parking lot with the cafe because it may all go up in flames if they ever get to kissing. But…there’s also a lot to be said for your first love… so Luca could very well pull ahead again for me. For now though, I’m rooting for Jake!
Gwen and Dani are still a hilarious and formidable team, and the addition of Elijah was icing on the cake. His clumsiness – and their rolling with it – had me chuckling out loud more than once, and his boyish eagerness when it came to sleuthing (and everything else for that matter) made me smile. He’s a fabulous addition to their team, and I can’t wait to see how Gregory develops Elijah’s character (and possibly a romance with Gwen) in future books. As for Dani, she continues to be extremely likable, a wonderful cozy mystery protagonist. I really like her personality as well as her family dynamics. She and her cafe are definitely put through the wringer in this one, but her support network is strong. As evidenced by a certain scene in an ambulance that I could easily picture playing out in my head as I read it – and had me laughing out loud.
The mystery is full of surprising layers, several of which I wasn’t expecting but loved what they added to the story. When you kill off a highly dramatic character who is surrounded by highly dramatic people, you know your investigation will be … well… highly dramatic lol. And Grounds for Murder certainly doesn’t disappoint. Accusations fly left and right, along with implications and suspicions, and I had absolutely no idea who was responsible. Was it one person? Two? Three? I didn’t figure it out until the last second, and even then I didn’t have all the pieces put together.
Bottom Line: Grounds for Murder by Lena Gregory is lots of fun, very entertaining, and full of heart. Dani and her friends and family will capture your affection, and you’ll find yourself wishing the cafe really existed so you could pull up a stool and share a banana split with them. The layered murder mystery packs in plenty of red herrings and misdirections along with the important clues, keeping you guessing until the end. A dash of romance, a dose of sparks, and a heaping scoop of humor lightens the mood in between all the murder and mayhem, and I cannot wait for my next visit to the Coffee and Cream Cafe!
(I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy of this book which I received from the author. All views expressed are only my honest opinion.)
My Rating: 4.5 stars / loved it!
Lena Gregory grew up in a small town on the south shore of eastern Long Island, but she recently traded in cold, damp, gray winters for the warmth and sunshine of central Florida, where she now lives with her husband, three kids, son-in-law, and four dogs. Her hobbies include spending time with family, reading, and walking. Her love for writing developed when her youngest son was born and didn’t sleep through the night. She works full time as a writer and a freelance editor and is a member of Sisters in Crime.
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