Friday, November 22, 2013

Murder On The Orient Espresso-Sandra Balzo

Murder On The Orient Espresso

Sandra Balzo

Severn House Publishers, Dec 1 2013, $27.95

ISBN: 9780727883117

Leaving Wisconsin, Uncommon Grounds gourmet coffeehouse owner Maggy Thorsen accompanies her lover Brookhills County Sheriff Jake Pavlik to attend the Mystery 101 writer’s convention in Fort Lauderdale where he is a presenter on forensics and she a tourist. Having worked GenCon in Milwaukee, Maggy is disappointed that no one dresses up as Miss Marple or Monsieur Poirot and knows what organizer Zoe Scarlett wants from Jake and her.

Attendees participate in a Christie reenactment while riding the Murder on the Orient Espresso train into the Everglades with Maggy as a Narrator, Zoe as the Woman in the Red Kimono and Jake as Rachett. To Maggy’s joy many riders wear 1930s garb to reflect the era of the classic. As the key role players are introduced, Laurence Potter playing Monsieur Poirot fails to appear. Soon Jake with Maggy’s help and others search for the missing Potter and that soon turns into a homicide investigation.

Paying homage to Agatha Christie, the latest Thorsen caffeine crime cozy (see Triple Shot) is refreshed with the South Florida locale especially the murder train into the Everglades. Although the storyline slowly but amusingly percolates by introducing the attendees in Fort Lauderdale; once the players and fans are on board, Murder On The Orient Espresso high speeds (in spite of Florida rejecting this form of rail) into a fabulous mystery.

Harriet Klausner

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