Fresh Brewed Murder by Emmeline Duncan

How do you take your coffee? I was never really a routine coffee drinker until I started working from home during the quarantine. With so much extra time to devote to my mornings before work, I began to obsess about making the perfect cup of coffee. Since going back to work, I have less time in the mornings, but I still appreciate freshly grinding my beans before brewing a piping hot cup. Beyond being the perfect drink to kickstart my day, there's also something oddly satisfying about pairing coffee with a good book. When Emmeline Duncan's publisher sent me a copy of her new cozy mystery Fresh Brewed Murder, I was excited to find a book that combines my interest in coffee with my love for a good mystery. 

For most people walking by the urban food truck lot in Portland, the addition of yet another coffee cart might seem like nothing to take note of. For Sage Caplin, it marks the beginning of fulfilling a huge dream. Her gourmet coffee cart Ground Rules has been in the works for years. Along with her business partner Harley, Sage has spent the time perfecting a signature roast that will serve as the backdrop of her business venture. The cart is only meant to be the beginning. Sage has lined up meetings to include their coffee in local restaurants and has even secured an agreement to potentially include a full-on coffee shop in the new development that is springing up directly across the street. The business is brimming with the promise of potential, but Sage is about to be overcome with a harsh dose of reality. 

Space in the food truck lot is hard to come by, and not everyone is pleased to see Sage's cart move into the area. On the first day of opening, Sage befriends a young homeless girl and is inspired to allow her customers to pay forward a drink to those who are unable to make a purchase on their own. What is meant to be a positive way to interact with the community draws the ire of some of the other vendors who fear the presence of homeless individuals will detract paying customers from the property. There's also chatter amongst the other vendors about the gentrification of the surrounding area. They're specifically concerned about the large commercial property going in across the street, the very same development that Sage hopes to be a part of. Things come to a head when Sage discovers the murdered body of one of her very own customers at the cart. Is this a seriously unfortunate coincidence, or is someone trying to send her a message?

Cozy mysteries are meant to be light and easy reads that contain likable characters and just enough mystery to keep the pages turning. By those standards, Fresh Brewed Murder achieves everything it is supposed to and then some. Author Emmeline Duncan delves deeply into the detail of brewing the perfect cup of coffee, an element that sets her main character up to be a true expert of her craft while also grounding the story into some semblance of reality. I found the parts focussing on growing a business, perfecting a trade, and battling the impact of urban renewal on small businesses to be the most interesting. In fact, the actual mystery became more of a side story than the main driving force of the narrative in some parts. Still, I was invested enough in the main character that I had to see the story through. Fresh Brewed Murder ultimately ends up being like a simple morning cup of coffee. You've probably had better, more complex brews, but it will certainly do the job of getting you through the day, or in this case, on to your next read. 

For more information visit the author's website, Amazon, and Goodreads

(2021, 25)

This entry was posted on Monday, July 19, 2021 and is filed under ,,,,,,,. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response.

13 Responses to “Fresh Brewed Murder by Emmeline Duncan”

  1. Cozy mysteries can be a lot of fun. I'm glad you enjoyed this one. The whole food truck thing in this one interests me. :)

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    1. It was a fun introduction into the genre!

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  2. Awww, cozy mysteries are fun, and they have the best titles

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  3. I've never read a cozy mystery but this one sounds like a good read.

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    1. This was my first cozy too, and I really enjoyed it for what it is.

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  4. This is super interesting to me. I live in WA but less than 30 minutes from Portland and we frequent the food carts a lot and these are all issues I hear about a lot. So that combined with a mystery makes this one I'd like to pick up.

    Karen @For What It's Worth

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    1. Thanks for sharing! It is neat to hear that the author seems to have really captured the situation in the city.

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    2. I ended up checking Amazon and it's on Kindle Unlimited so I downloaded it.

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  5. I can see how the homeless issue would be a hot one. Such a complex dynamic and so true to life.

    I'm very particular about my coffee, and it's vital to my morning routine. I hate Keurig or any of those K-cup things. I can taste the chemicals. Nothing beats my traditional drip brewer and I add cinnamon to my coffee grounds. I picked it up that tip from a local restaurant when I asked what they used for their coffee because it was so good. It's hard to pinpoint if you don't know it's there.

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  6. I would enjoy this and love the depth beyond the mystery.

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  7. I grew up near Portland, so I like the setting of this one :) I don't drink coffee, but I do like a good cozy, so I might have to give this one a try. I'm glad you enjoyed it, even if it wasn't amazing.

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  8. I secretly LOVE a good cozy mystery. A couple years ago I was really far behind on my Goodreads challenge so I started scooping up free cozies left and right via BookBub. Some were fantastic and some were awful, but I found Mercy Watts and a couple others I really liked. They're usually a lot of fun - and quick too.

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