Sunday, February 20, 2022

What Inspired Our Coffeehouse Mysteries by @CleoCoyle + #Giveaway News #SpotlightSunday

From Cleo Coyle: Welcome to our second "Spotlight Sunday," where a different MLK author steps into the spotlight to tell you more about themselves and their work. If you missed our first Spotlight feature last month, click here to learn more about our fellow MLK author Tina Kashian. As for today, I'm happy to share some fun background on one of the mystery series I write in collaboration with my husband. 

HONEY ROASTED (pictured above) is the brand-new entry in our Coffeehouse Mystery series. 
Through 19 titles over nearly 20 years and more than 1 million books sold, readers have watched our Coffeehouse characters face down cold-blooded criminals; fight past personal failures; and survive the general chaos of New York City with the strength of camaraderie and good strong coffee. ☕ 

From what our readers have told us (in emails and messages), one of the reasons they've enjoy our books so much is because they are more than simple whodunits. Our stories also explore the ups and downs of relationships among three generations of women, a mother, a daughter, and a grandmother, along with a gaggle of their offbeat co-workers and friends.

After investing so much time and interest in the lives of these characters, many readers have wondered about the origins of our Coffeehouse world. This post will answer that question. So... 
"When and where did it begin?"

The Answer:  

East Village,
New York City, 1985.

Once Upon a Grind...


I was just out of college (CMU in Pittsburgh, PA) and working as a cub reporter at The New York Times. Despite the prestigious sound of that, it was a low-paying gig with long hours. I was a working-class kid who did well in college (scholarships, writing awards, and plenty of hard work as a student journalist). But without a trust fund or supplemental income from well-off parents, surviving New York was a struggle, and not just financially... 

Back in 1985, the city's East Village was far from the trendy, hipster area that it is now. The neighborhood was rough and gritty with plenty of street crime, much of it related to the historic epidemic of crack cocaine. But East Village apartments were much more affordable than the upscale blocks of the Big Apple, so "Alphabet City" is where I ended up living, on 7th Street between Avenues A and B, in a shotgun-style flat with a female roommate (an NYU grad student, not unlike Esther), and above a small, woman-run bakery and coffee shop called Bread and Roses.

The NYC building where Cleo Coyle's  
Coffeehouse Mysteries were born.


Above is an interactive map. Look for the blue pushpinwhich marks Cleo's former address. Click the plus sign (lower left corner) to zoom in closer and explore the East Village. Click on the blue pushpin to learn more.

My apartment was also located across the street from a small city park that was (at the time) notorious for drug dealing--and crime found its way across my own doorstep. But there were so many good things about living in New York and even in that building, including that little ground floor shop.

For those of you reading our Coffeehouse Mysteries, you know where this is going. The friendly little coffee shop and bakery on the ground floor of my old address offered a warm and cozy oasis, smack in the middle of the big-city land of not-so-nice noir. 

I've lived, worked, and hung out in many New York neighborhoods since those early years, including the picturesque, historic West Village, where I chose to set The Coffeehouse Mysteries that I now write in collaboration with my husband. But it was my early experience, back in 1985 NYC, seeing and feeling that odd juxtaposition of cozy and noir, which inspired the unique voice and vision of the series. And, of course, that's where the idea for the "OD Squad," headed by NYPD Detective Mike Quinn first began, too. 


In 2010, I wrote an essay about these early inspirations for the Coffeehouse Mystery series, "Brewing up Murder," which was published by Mystery Readers International's Mystery Readers Journal and featured on its "Mystery Fanfare" blog. You can...

Read my original 2010 essay, 
"Brewing up Murder" by
clicking here or on the mini
Mystery Fanfare logo below...

Eat (and read) with joy!

New York Times bestselling author
of The Coffeehouse Mysteries and
Haunted Bookshop Mysteries

This is me -- Cleo (Alice) 
with my husband Marc.

Visit our online coffeehouse here.
And follow us at these links...

Now on Sale
Our New 
Coffeehouse Mystery!

It will hold a space on my 
BEST READS list for this year.

—Lori Boness Caswell, 
Escape with Dollycas into a Good Book

To Learn more or Buy:


Barnes & Noble

+ Many More Pre-Order Links

"The powerhouse writing duo that makes up
Cleo Coyle has done it again with this
19th installment of the Coffeehouse Mysteries.
What do I love about these books? EVERYTHING…
HONEY ROASTED needs to be on every mystery
lover’s to be read list."

Fresh Fiction

"Red herrings pop up at every turn and
relationships aren’t what they seem.
Coyle knows how to please cozy 

Publishers Weekly

"Coyle's latest Coffeehouse mystery is
a honey of a tale....A primer on bees,
coffee, and some of New York's most
unusual and exciting areas make for a

—Kirkus Reviews

and fast-paced…This is one of the best books
in the series and I can’t wait to see what
adventures await Clare and her friends."

—Dru Ann Love, award-winning reviewer,
Dru's Book Musings

Click here or on the image
above for the recipe guide
to Honey Roasted.

Get a free Title Checklist of Cleo's
Coffeehouse Books in Order
Click here 
or on the image below.


Click the link above to jump to our
recipe post and learn how to enter
our active comment giveaway.


~ Cleo


  1. Hello, everyone, thanks for dropping by today. I'm happy to reply to comments here, but they will not be part of our giveaway. To join our active comment giveaway, you'll need to CLICK HERE to learn more.

    Have a lovely Sunday, everyone!

    ~ Cleo
    Sign up for Cleo’s free Newsletter

    “Where coffee and crime are always brewing…”

  2. I really enjoyed reading the coffee house origin story. Congratulations on the release of your latest book!

  3. Congratulations on #19, Cleo -- what a terrific title! And I love the origin story1

  4. Great story.
    NYC is truly an amazing place. We lived on West 11th in the east village for several years. It was such a wonderful little village in such a big city.
    Thanks for years of terrific reading.

  5. Congratulations on the new release! I love the background for the story, too.

  6. Thank you for filling us in on how the coffee cozies were born. I love the books! Your story could be a movie. :) My brother lived in Brooklyn from 2005-2018. I loved visiting him because he always had a "tour" of the city ready for me.