Thursday, March 31, 2011

Uncommon Grounds by Sandra Balzo Review

Meet Maggie Thorsen.  She's a divorcee with a son in college, just trying to get her life back together.  On the day that she and two friends have the grand opening for their new business, a coffee shop, she walks in to find one of her friends laying murdered on the floor.  Maggie can't keep her nose out of the mystery and has to figure out who has killed her friend.

As a cozy mystery series, this was a great beginning.  We start off in the beginning with the murder, so immediately you're sucked in.  We have a larger sized small town full of interesting, yet suspicious, people.  Sandra is a great storyteller who's created a wonderful setting for her mysteries to take place.  As a main character, Maggie is witty and bright, with a penchant for getting into trouble.  Just a hint of romantic suspense definitely adds to this story and I can't wait to see where Balzo goes with the romance line to the story. 

So, what makes this different from every other cozy mystery series out there and sets it apart from the rest?  That's a simple answer, as far as I'm concerned.  I didn't solve the mystery.  I went through the entire book, mentally filing away each suspect.  I added motive and opportunity and calculated who was the most likely.  Then I factored in the writer's ability to make the least likely suspect be the murderer.  Then I took a few moments to think about the back stories in an attempt to find someone's 'fatal flaw'.  Still, at the end of the book when everything starts wrapping up, I was shocked!  I've read a lot of mysteries and I'm sold on any book where the characters figure out what's going on before I do.

Cozy mystery lovers won't want to miss this one.  There are even a few 'laugh out loud' moments in the book.  Watch for reviews of the next two books in the series, Grounds for Murder and Bean There Done That


  1. I don't really remember the story, because it's been awhile, but this was one of the first cozy mysteries I read (after Gillian Linscott's Nell Bray series, that is) - before I knew what a "cozy" mystery was. I really liked it too.

  2. i love a good whodunit but it is hard to find one that isn't too easy to figure out. I'll have to get this one. Thanks for the review.


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