Title: Espresso and Evil (Peridale Cafe Mystery #6)
Author: Agatha Frost
Published on: 20th June 2017
Genre: Cozy Mystery
A new coffee shop’s come up in Peridale and Julia is not happy. She’s been losing customers and if this trend continues, she will soon have to close her cafe. Julia’s customers claim that the new coffee shop – Happy Bean – has goodies at a reasonable price. The owner of the coffee shop is none other than Anthony Kennedy, Brian’s once-upon-a-time business partner. Anthony embarrasses Julia when he ‘finds’ a fingernail in one of her cupcakes.
A dejected Julia returns home with Jessie. Jessie’s new friends – Dolly and Dom come home to give them some company when Julia receives a message that someone’s broken into her cafe. As Jessie and she go to the cafe, they find that Happy Bean is still open. They go in to find Anthony lying dead on the floor. The police arrive and seeing the duo at the crime scene, they arrest them.
Julia is now a suspect in Anthony’s murder. Anthony was a con man and many had a grudge on him so who hated him so much that they wanted him dead?
First Barker was a suspect in a murder case in Chocolate Cake and Chaos and now Julia! This book was different from the other Peridale mysteries so far. The story was a bit dark. With poison, con, murder, ex and grudges, the reader is in for a lot of surprises.
Julia is also in for a surprise when someone from her past makes an appearance. Oh boy, is Barker and Julia’s lovey-dovey relationship in murky waters? By the way, Julia still hasn’t told Barker about her divorce with Jerrad so when the skeletons tumble out of the closet, will their relationship survive the impact?
With each story, one gets to see the characters grow. And as the series proceeds, the characters’ bond grows stronger and stronger. It was nice to see that Jessie’s finally made some friends. Billy Mathews is back in news – no, he’s managed to stay out of trouble this time but he’s still in Jessie’s life. Jessie’s also made some friends at the college – the twins, Dolly and Dom.
Her quirkiness (I like calling her that) Grandma Dot is very supportive of her granddaughter’s business venture. At the beginning of the story, she even manages to get herself arrested while protesting against Happy Bean.
Brian, Julia and Sue’s father, who last made his appearance in Lemonade and Lies (book #2) plays a major role in this story. With Sue being preggers, the family decides to solve their issues, at least for the sake of the baby. (There’s a surprise here which I wouldn’t want to reveal and spoil the story)
The mystery behind the murder was really good. Why was he murdered? Well, the reason and the killer’s identity, both, were unexpected. Like I said before, Barker and Julia go through a rough patch. Barker turns out to be such a sweetheart as the story ends that it makes your heart melt like ice cream… Or chocolate.. whichever you like more.
I have said this before – with each story, the series gets better and better. I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book. If you like Cozy mysteries then do check out this book. In fact, I would like to recommend it to all those who like cozy mysteries. Though it is a series, each book can be read as a standalone and there are no cliffhangers whatsoever.