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Cleo Coyle | Escape to Washington in Cleo Coyle’s new Coffeehouse Mystery

December 7, 2015

How does a hard-working single mother and coffee shop manager go from befriending the First Lady and catering a glittering party at the Smithsonian to being placed on the FBI’s Most Wanted list?

For our amateur sleuth, Clare Cosi, it begins when the President’s college-age daughter becomes a fan of her freshly roasted coffee. Then the young woman mysteriously vanishes, a State Department employee collapses in the shop, and Clare is fit for a frame of kidnapping and homicide.

These capital crimes are the last thing she expects to be accused of when she relocates to our nation’s capital, but Clare must solve both mysteries—and discover who framed her—or she may discover firsthand Washington is murder.

If you are new to our long-running Coffeehouse Mystery series, don’t hesitate to pick up DEAD TO THE LAST DROP. You can read it as a stand-alone story, and if you like the ride, you have fourteen more in our series to enjoy. But don’t miss this Washington entry. It’s embedded with twists, turns, and hidden secrets about our nation’s capital that were inspired by my own experiences while living, studying, and working in D.C.

To read the prologue and first chapter, click here.

Credit: Black Magic Cake photo by Alice Alfonsi

DEAD TO THE LAST DROP is also a culinary mystery, with an appendix of more than 25 wonderful recipes, including a fantastic version of Black Magic Cake with a “secret ingredient” chocolate frosting to die for.

To see the book’s free Recipe Guide, click here.

Here are some of the places Clare Cosi will take you on her visit to Washington…

Credit: White House photo courtesy HiraV, Wiki Commons

Clare makes two trips to this grand destination, one at the request of the First Lady, who shares a private lunch with her in the Diplomatic Reception Room, a magnificent oval-shaped space famously redecorated by Jacqueline Kennedy and once used by Franklin D. Roosevelt for his legendary fireside chats.

Credit:Cox’s Row of Georgetown courtesy Library of Congress

This picturesque neighborhood boasts some of the finest examples of Federal period architecture in the country. Thomas Jefferson, Alexander Graham Bell, and John F. Kennedy are among the past residents. It’s here that Clare lands a posh housesitting gig on “Cox’s Row” in a charming mansion that was once part of the Underground Railroad.

Credit: Dorothy’s Ruby Slippers courtesy Wiki Commons

A glittering black-tie party brings Clare to “America’s Attic,” the nickname of the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History. Clare witnesses a fateful meeting here, in front of Dorothy’s ruby slippers from The Wizard of Oz, one of the many fascinating artifacts that celebrate American culture, creativity, and cuisine. Yes, cuisine! As a master roaster and expert on the bean, Clare is asked to contribute her ideas to one of the museum’s newest exhibits, Coffee and the Presidency.


This fictional location is based on a real jazz club in Washington called Blues Alley. The mouthwatering menu of our Jazz Space becomes an important plot point in DEAD TO THE LAST DROP, and the recipes for many of the menu’s items are included in the book. You can even visit our Jazz Space online. Come to our website to learn more.

CLEO’S NEWSLETTER: Contests, recipes, news, fun facts, and videos. To sign up, simply write an e-mail that says “sign me up” and send it to CoffeehouseMystery@gmail(dot)com You will receive a reply with links to past newsletters that include free recipes.

TITLE CHECKLIST: Get a free title checklist with mini summaries of all 15 Coffeehouse Mysteries. To download the list as a PDF document, click here.

coyle-author-picCLEO COYLE is a pseudonym for Alice Alfonsi, writing in collaboration with her husband, Marc Cerasini. Both are New York Times bestselling authors of the Coffeehouse Mysteries, now celebrating over ten years in print. Alice has worked as a journalist in Washington, D.C., and New York City, and has written young adult and children’s books. A former magazine editor, Marc has authored espionage thrillers and nonfiction for adults and children. Alice and Marc are also bestselling media tie-in writers who have penned properties for Lucasfilm, NBC, Fox, Disney, Imagine, and MGM. They live and work in New York City, where they write independently and together, including the national bestselling Haunted Bookshop Mysteries.

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