Table of Contents Title Page Copyright Page Dedication Acknowledgements Epigraph
ONE TWO THREE FOUR FIVE SIX SEVEN EIGHT
NINE TEN ELEVEN TWELVE THIRTEEN FOURTEEN FIFTEEN SIXTEEN SEVENTEEN EIGHTEEN NINETEEN TWENTY TWENTY-ONE TWENTY-TWO TWENTY-THREE TWENTY-FOUR TWENTY-FIVE TWENTY-SIX TWENTY-SEVEN TWENTY-EIGHT TWENTY-NINE THIRTY THIRTY-ONE THIRTY-TWO THIRTY-THREE THIRTY-FOUR THIRTY-FIVE
EPILOGUE RECIPES &TIPS FROM THE VILLAGE BLEND Anginetti Bellini Machu Picchu’s Paella Lomo Saltado Teaser chapter Berkley Prime Crime titles by Cleo Coyle Coffeehouse Mysteries
ON WHAT GROUNDS
THROUGH THE GRINDER
MURDER MOST FROTHY
FRENCH PRESSED ESPRESSO SHOT
Haunted Bookshop Mysteries by Cleo Coyle ?
writing as Alice Kimberly
THE GHOST AND MRS. McCLURE THE GHOST AND THE DEAD DEB THE GHOST AND THE DEAD MAN’S LIBRARY THE GHOST AND THE FEMME FATALE
THE BERKLEY PUBLISHING GROUP
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?This book is an original publication of The Berkley Publishing Group.
?This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents either are the product ofthe author’s imagination or are used fictitiously, and any resemblance to actual persons,living or dead, business establishments, events, or locales is entirely coincidental. Thepublisher does not have any control over and does not assume any responsibility for author orthird-party websites or their content.
?PUBLISHER’S NOTE: The recipes contained in this book are to be followed exactly as written.The publisher is not responsible for your specific health or allergy needs that may requiremedical supervision. The publisher is not responsible for any adverse reactions to the recipescontained in this book.
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?Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data
eISBN : 978-1-436-26563-8
1. Cosi, Clare (Fictitious character)—Fiction. 2. Coffeehouses—Fiction. 3. Cookery (Coffee)—Fiction. 4. Brides—Crimes against—Fiction. 5. Attempted murder—Fiction. 6.Divorced people—Fiction. 7. Weddings—Fiction. 8. New York (N.Y.)—Fiction. I. Title.
Cheers to John Talbot,
a premium agent and a darn good Joe.
To begin with, an old joke . . .
“Excuse me, sir?” the tourist asked. “How do I get to Carnegie Hall?”
The cabbie shrugged. “Practice.”
?Since 2003, the Coffeehouse Mysteries have been published in a quiet fashion, building buzzvia independent mystery bookstores, online reviewers, chain store staff recommendations, andeven the barista community. While I can’t see Carnegie Hall in my future, I offer my sincerestthanks to those of you who have given me the opportunity to practice. Your support of my serieshas kept it going and kept me going. No kidding, from the bottom of my heart, I thank you forreading.
My second shout-out goes to my publisher, Berkley Prime Crime. In particular, I’d like tosalute executive editor Wendy McCurdy for her steadfast professionalism. Wendy’s calmingcharacter is nothing short of saintly in a profession that comes with ungodly pressures. Majorprops also go to Allison Brandau, for all of her hard work, as well as former Berkley editorsKatie Day and Martha Bushko for their crucial support along the way.
If you’ve read even one previous Coffeehouse Mystery, then you know how important coffee is toClare Cosi. Regarding the java she serves up in this volume, I’d like to thank New YorkCity’s excellent Café Grumpy, not only for introducing me to the “champagne” of the coffeeworld, Esmeralda Especial, but for hosting the tasting event at which I had the thrill ofshaking the hand of Daniel Peterson, the man who rediscovered the heirloom geisha tree thatgrows it. I’d also like to thank Joe the Art of Coffee in Greenwich Village, New York, fortheir expert advice and outstanding espressos, and Counter Culture Coffee of Durham, NorthCarolina, for their superior beans. If a superb cuppa joe is what you’re after, these finefolks are among the best in the business.
With the greatest respect, I tip my hat to the men and women of the Sixth Precinct, especiallyits former deputy inspector, who—until her recent promotion—also happened to be the onlyfemale precinct commanding officer in a city that employs well over thirty thousand cops. As tothe p’s and q’s of by-the-book police procedure, this is a light work of amateur-sleuthfiction. In the Coffeehouse Mysteries, the rules occasionally get bent.
An additional shout-out goes to Dr. Grace Alfonsi. Not just because she’s an amazing physicianand hardworking mom, but because she’s always helpful to me with thoughts and advice inmatters medical. When literary license is taken in presenting elements in this area, I alone amculpable.
I thank the White Horse Tavern in Greenwich Village for their draft beer, out-of-this-worldonion rings, and most of all for still being around after more than one hundred years. Theincomparable Metropolitan Museum of Art must also be thanked, frankly, for simply existing. My
sincerest thanks especially go to their kind employees who answered my questions and thesecurity guards for not arresting my big, dangerous-looking husband when they noticed himtaking photos of the employee entrance in his black leather jacket. (Note to aspiring writers:if you ever decide to take reference photos at the Met’s Eighty-fourth Street entrance, makesure you bring ID.)
And speaking of Marc . . .
As most of my readers are aware, I write this series, as well as my Alice Kimberly HauntedBookshop Mystery series, in collaboration with my very talented spouse. Both of us owe a debtof gratitude to our friends and families for their support. We’d also like to thank our
literary agent, John Talbot, to whom this book is dedicated. John’s sincere encouragement andsteadfast professionalism over the years have meant the world to us—two writers who intendnever to stop practicing.
Yours sincerely, Cleo Coyle
Coffee should be black as hell, strong as death, sweet as love.
?Marriage is a mistake every man should make.
SHE left her building at six for the health club up the street. She’d done this every morningfor the last four days, only today something was different. A white sanitation truck hadthundered up the block. Now it sat in the middle of the road like an enormous beached whale.
There was no room to maneuver now. No way to get clear, get away. From behind the wheel of theparked SUV, the stalker took a breath, remained steady, stayed calm. With the wedding nextweek, Breanne’s schedule was becoming unpredictable. Waiting any longer would pose problems.
It must be done today. This morning.
After her workout, Breanne returned to her apartment. She showered, dressed, and left for theoffice at seven fifteen. As her leggy strides ate up the sidewalk, the stalker’s gloved handsgripped the SUV’s wheel and twisted the key.
The glossy black rental looked like thousands of others on the city streets, but the stalkerhad taken no chances. The white New York plates had been splattered with mud. A fedora had beenpurchased, sunglasses worn, a collar turned up.
The location was perfect: Sutton Place, a picturesque nook of the Upper East Side. The area wasquiet and exclusive. Best of all, it skirted the Queensboro Bridge, allowing swift and easyegress from a Manhattan crime scene.
At this hour, traffic was still light. The sanitation truck waslong gone. Only two cars moveddown the one-way street. The SUV rolled slowly, just behind the target. Breanne nattered as shemoved, cell phone plastered to her fair head, unaware of the dark monster pacing her. Shelooked like a seagull, white and graceful, gliding with ease through the concrete canyons,wings spread, beak high . . .
The stalker’s eye twitched.
She was attractive. So? Even beautiful birds were made to die unfair deaths. This was somethingthe stalker knew firsthand. Breanne’s fate was a necessary reckoning: A treasure had beentaken. Now a price would be paid.
The stalker’s grip tightened on the steering wheel. Several times, this course had been run.An ideal stretch was coming up, where signs warned of active driveways. No cars were parkedthere. No curbs were blocked—nothing to come between the bride-to-be and certain death.
Everything was perfect. Now it was going to happen. Now—
The stalker cut the wheel. Tires bounced over the concrete curb. The engine roared, and thevehicle shot forward. Breanne half turned, blond hair flying, finally aware of the threat. Butit was too late. In another second, Beauty would be broken beyond repair—