Title: Bowled Over Americano

Series: Sara and Sean Cozy Mystery Series

By:  Carolyn Arnold



Brought to you by OBS reviewer Andra                   


Sara Cain isn’t your typical thirty-two-year-old woman. Murder detective by day, writer and… sleuth by night? Just as long as there’s enough coffee to keep her going…

When her first novel gives her trouble, Sara goes for a walk to clear her writer’s block and ends up stumbling right into a real-life murder mystery. Magnum, an adventurous beagle, comes running off leash toward her in the local park, and she returns him home only to find his master dead on the entry floor.

Cliff Cunningham was a championship bowler with a mean streak and a temper, and police are pegging his Golden Pin bowling trophy as the murder weapon. While any number of people could have clocked a strike by knocking him on the noggin, the prime suspect is a friend of Sara’s mother—and she expects Sara to prove the woman’s innocence. A tall order, as the case isn’t officially hers and belongs to a rival detective.

But a promise is a promise, and Sara soon finds herself sleuthing undercover—and off the clock—in a world of polyester shirts and rental shoes. It’s not all bad, though, as she’s taking her friend and partner Sean McKinley along for the ride. They are better together than they’ve ever been split, and they’re not amateurs at finding killers.

Despite being up against small-town hijinks and colorful characters who threaten to roll their efforts into the gutter, they are having fun. That is, until they get close to the killer and a dangerous twist puts their lives at risk. (Goodreads)


Bowled Over Americano is the first book in the Sara and Sean Cozy Mystery series by author Carolyn Arnold. The story caught my attention early on and I was engaged throughout the sleuthing tale. 

Sara Cain is one of Albany’s finest – a homicide detective but she is also a mystery writer by night! Her special elixir allowing her to go like the ‘ever ready’ bunny is coffee – and her partner Sean McKinley – knows this (though not sure he approves of the quantity she drinks…but what the heck). During a bout of writer’s block, Sara goes for a walk in a local park. Here she notices her neighbours dog NOT on a leash nor the owner in sight. As Sara tries to catch “Magnum”, the reader is given a hilarious scene where Sara is running around trying to catch the dog, but to no avail for quite a while, and there are young on lookers in the park giggling to no end. Certainly made me chuckle! As the tale unfolds – Sara returns Magnum to her neighbour, only to discover that Cliff Cunningham is dead. As Sara discovered the body (while off for the night in her official capacity as a homicide detective) the detective assigned to the case was Detective Davenport, whom Sara was not a fan of. He tends to jump to the first presented scenario without fully investigating, which can be problematic for those that actually might be innocent!

A friend of Sara’s mother is the prime suspect and with little confidence in Davenport’s investigative skills, Sara decides to investigate on the down low (undercover as she is not assigned to this homicide!). With the assistance of her work partner, Sean, they search for the truth. What a journey the reader is taken on. The other “suspects” are many and the elimination process that Sara and Sean go through is at times quite hilarious. Acting like groupies for the bowling circuit…had me chuckling many times as they slyly talked with many people at the bowling alley!

As Sara and Sean work through the case, even more potential suspects emerge. We also get a glimpse of a potential romance between the two?  There is attraction for sure – but Sara feels that they should keep it professional – for the sake of their jobs. We shall see – since the attraction is palpable. I for one, can’t wait to see if and how their relationship progresses as the series continues. Though Sean had better lighten up on the “too many coffee comments” he makes with respect to the quantity of coffee that Sara consumes.

I loved that the author fashioned Magnum (Cliff’s run-away dog) after her own pups, all being beagles! And the fact that Sara took the dog home after discovering his owner dead, spoke volumes as to her love of animals. That always endears a protagonist to me ☺.

The story also has an in-depth look into one of the persons that meant a lot to Sean in his life – a senior named Douglas Quinn. Sean came to Douglas’ aid while on the job and since that time – they became friends, regardless of the age difference between the two. Unfortunately, Sean must deal with the loss of this important person in his life and what that means for him in this story.  The reactions from Sara show how much she does care for Sean:

“Sara hadn’t wanted to leave Sean alone tonight of all nights, even if she sensed he wanted time to process the news. It was just that she felt somewhat responsible because she’d been the one to deliver the bomb.”

I also have a soft spot for Sean as he drives a Sentra – which in fact is the first car that I bought. Talk about engaging this reader! Bowled Over Americano was a fun filled, engaging cozy mystery which kept my interest for the entire story. It caught my interest to the extent that I cannot wait for Sara and Sean’s story and sleuthing ways to continue. I will also investigate other stories written by Carolyn Arnold.