Coffeehouse owner Maggy Thorsen has reluctantly travelled north with her business partner, Sarah Kingston, to cater a weekend writers’ retreat at Payne Lodge log cabin. Apparently the remote location deep in the Wisconsin forest has been deemed the perfect setting for penning the fictional blockbuster murder mystery.
Maggy’s no fan of the outdoors, but forest bugs become the least of her worries when lightning strikes the lodge during a storm and she and Sarah discover the body of the retreat’s organizer, editor of the local newspaper and president of the Brookhills Writers’ Club, Kate McNamara. It seems that Kate had annoyed many of the retreat’s attendees, but who hated her enough to plot her very real murder?
Wisconsin coffeehouse owner Maggy Thorsen's cousin, Jacque Oui, is in trouble. Big trouble! Not only is his cash-strapped Schultz's Market facing competition from a new grocery chain, but his supposedly ex-wife Paulette has arrived from Paris, spectacularly claiming that she and Jacque are still married, despite Jacque being engaged to Maggy's friend and star barista Amy Caprese.
When a huge fire rips through Schultz’s Market and a gruesome discovery is made in the shop's upper flat, Maggy is reluctantly drawn into her cousin's affairs. But where is he? With Jacque suddenly missing, can Maggy uncover the truth behind the disturbing events triggered by Pauline's arrival, or is she about to be scorched by a determined killer?
Publishers Weekly:Vividly drawn characters and dialogue crackling with wit propel the fair-play plot
Kirkus: The body count rises quickly as Balzo’s quirky cozy turns darker than a freshly brewed espresso
Maggy Thorsen's new neighbours, Philip and Vivian Woodward, are forging ahead with their plans for The Big Steep tea shop. Philip's enthusiasm to turn the neglected cottage once owned by Vivian's reclusive grandparents, the Koepplers, into a tea lover's paradise is infectious, but Vivian seems less excited. And when Maggy's sheepdog Frank arrives at Uncommon Grounds coffeehouse bearing a 'gift' he discovered in the Woodwards' compost heap, the tea shop project takes a chilling turn . . .
Lively, intelligent characters and Maggy's refreshingly anxiety-free relationship with her fiance, Brookhills County Sheriff Jake Pavlik, make this stand out from the cozy pack. This is a perfect entry point for newcomers ― Publishers Weekly
Connecting murders past and present provides a welcome challenge for coffeehouse cozy fans ― Kirkus Reviews
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Sandra Balzo turned to mystery writing after twenty years in corporate public relations, event management and publicity in Wisconsin. Any Pot in a Storm is her sixteenth Maggy Thorsen coffeehouse mystery and she's hard at work on number seventeen.