Friday, November 15, 2013

Cozy on the Weekend with Sandra Balzo ~ Murder on the Orient Espresso

We’re headed to South Florida for a Mystery 101 Crime Writers’ Conference. One of the events of this conference was a re-enactment of Agatha Christie’s Murder on the Orient Express on a train. All attendees are assigned a character name from Murder on the Orient Express and play a role in the night’s events. To add to the mystery, the author also talks about Flagler and his Overseas Railroad.

Title: Murder on the Orient Espresso
Series: Maggy Thornsen Mystery #8
Author: Sandra Balzo
Publish Date: December 1, 2013
Publisher: Severn House Publishers
Source: eARC from publisher via Netgalley

I received a copy of this book from the publisher through Netgalley. I had heard of this series before, but this was my first introduction.

Maggy is along for the ride with her boyfriend, Jake Pavlik, Sheriff. He is a featured speaker at the conference the following day and has asked to be the victim in the re-enactment. As the characters congregate for the train ride and re-enactment, Maggy immediately begins to assess each personality.

Laurence Potter and Rosemary Darlington are your main characters for the story and the re-enactment. With a lot of air about themselves, most readers will either love them or hate them, probably not many in between. Immediately Maggy does influence the reader as to things that are happening on the train.

My favorite character was Missy. Not always given full credit for her abilities and a little “air-headed” it may seem, she was quick and efficient in doing her job. I liked that Maggy could see this as well.

I liked the setting for the story and crime. The crime was very different from other books in this genre. This story was definitely not as light and fun as a lot of cozies, but if you like Agatha Christie and similar mystery stories, then this book is definitely for you.

Links to other book reviews:

Author Bio:
. . . turned to mystery writing after twenty years in corporate public relations, event management and publicity in Wisconsin. Murder on the Orient Espresso, her eighth Maggy Thorsen coffeehouse mystery was just released, and Hit and Run, the third Main Street Murder, will be out in early 2014. The books, set in the popular vacation destination of North Carolina’s High Country, alternate with the Maggy series. Nominated for both Anthony and Macavity awards, Balzo’s novels have received starred reviews from Kirkus and Booklist, while being recommended to readers of Janet Evanovich, Charlaine Harris, Mary Daheim, Joan Hess and Margaret Maron.

In addition to her books about coffee-maven Maggy Thorsen and displaced journalist AnnaLise Griggs, Balzo writes short stories, two of which have been published in Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine, winning the Macavity, Derringer and Robert L. Fish awards. Those psychological thrillers, along with two original stories, are available on Kindle in The Grass is Always Greener and Other Stories.

Balzo has managed publicity for three Bouchercons (World Mystery Conventions), as well as the International Association of Crime Writers, and has served as a national board member of Mystery Writers of America. A native of southeastern Wisconsin, Sandy currently splits her time between South Florida and the High Country of North Carolina.
And wherever she is, she roots for the Green Bay Packers.  

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