Death by Coffee

Series:  Bookstore Cafe Mystery #1

By:  Alex Erickson

ISBN:  1617737518 (ISBN13: 9781617737510)

Author’s Website:

Review brought to you by OBS staff member Andra


When Krissy Hancock and her best friend Vicki decide to open a bookstore café in their new town of Pine Hills, they decide to call it “Death by Coffee,” after Krissy’s father’s most famous mystery novel. Little do they know how well the name fits…

On their very first day of business, Brendon Lawyer huffily takes his coffee…to the grave. It seems he had a severe allergy to peanuts…but how could there have been nuts in his coffee? And who stole his emergency allergy medication?

Fortunately, Krissy’s love of puzzles and mysteries leads her not only to Officer Paul Dalton, but also to many of her new neighbors, who aren’t terribly upset that the book is closed on Brendon. But one of them is a killer, and Krissy needs to read between the lies if she wants to save her new store—and live to see how this story ends…

 22891462  Review:

One of the great reading pleasures in life is reading a new cozy series by an author new to me.   That in itself is a mystery, an unknown quantity if you will.  I am happy to report that right from the start (and yes, the murder happens right in chapter 1), I was engaged in the storytelling.

Krissy moves to Pine Hills to run a bookstore / café with her best friend Vicki.  They are trying to prove themselves in the world away from their families…doing what they want with their lives (as opposed to doing what their parents would like them to do).  They are relatively young and inexperienced business owners, totally on their own…though they did obtain funding from Krissy’s dad, with a finite amount of time to make the business a success (until the funds run dry).  Krissy’s dad seems to play a prominent, albeit backseat roll in the story.  After all – he is a retired mystery writer (!) and a silent investor in the business. My only beef is that as a new business owner, I did not see much of any business plan…just two eager gals trying to fill a need in a small town with no coffee shop/bookstore!  And frequently, Krissy was leaving the fledgling business to chase up leads, etc.  Luckily Vicki, her business partner, knew Krissy’s proclivity to get distracted by a good mystery.

It started off at a fast pace but at times I did feel that Krissy’s bumbling about tended to slow down the story.  When I remember that Krissy is a young adult, some of the awkwardness is understandable.  And the eternal hope that solving of the mystery as well as the success of their business was quaint.

There is definitely no shortage of suspects when the death of businessman Brendan Lawyer is finally ruled a murder. The travels through Krissy’s thought process as she works through each “suspect” is a bit like her….scattered….but humorous and thought provoking and definitely entertaining.

Let us not discount any hunky men in the story……Krissy’s first thought when she encountered for the first time…Officer Dalton:

“I looked up from where I was scrubbing a table to find an angel standing before me. Okay, maybe he wasn’t an actual angel, but I swear to you that when I first laid eyes on him, he was glowing.”

Can’t wait to see in future books if their personal relationship grows (we know his mom is in support of it)? Chemistry sure is there, if only that need to solve that pesky murder did not get in the way!

The scene in the bookstore where Vicki’s cat Trouble lost it was TOO funny.  Great chuckles abounded from this reader.

I recommend taking a chance on this new series by author Alex Erickson.  A cozy mystery with chuckles, books, coffee, cats and a bumbling amateur sleuth…just the right mix of mystery and humour for an afternoon or three of reading.  I will wait patiently for the next story in the series to see how Krissy and Vicki (as well as Trouble and Misfit) adjust to life in Pine Hills.

*OBS received a free copy of this title from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review*