Thursday, May 19, 2016
Clouds in my Coffee
Clouds in my Coffee is the third Country Club Murders book by Julie Mulhern, and like the two previous books it's a fast paced, entertaining murder mystery. Ellison Russell is a recently widowed mother who lives on the high end in 1974 Kansas City and to say she's had a busy year would be an understatement. Having found a body in the country club pool, another under the bleachers at a game, and running over her husband with her car, you'd think she would be due a break. Well, not exactly. This time around it's Ellison who appears to be the target as there are several attempts on her life. Who would want to kill her? Looks like the stakes just got a little higher.
I enjoyed this book every bit as much as the first two. Mulhern has a breezy style and a wry delivery- we share Ellison's exasperation and dry wit as she navigates the minefield of the country club set and her own family dramas. If anything her family plays a larger role in this one, as her aunt and sister both come to visit- and when the bohemian aunt and her acerbic mother don't see eye to eye, you know the sparks are going to fly. Relationships get more complicated, family secrets come to light, and the mystery feels more dangerous because it hits even closer to home this time.
The other thing that's entertaining is the romance. Ellison has two very enthusiastic suitors- Anarchy Jones the detective and Hunter Tafft the well connected lawyer. Her mother of course prefers Tafft who fits right into their social strata, and both are sincere and good men from what we can tell. Ellison of course is a recent widow and not ready to take the next step yet, and I like how the romance (or potential romance) is a slow burn here. Jones or Tafft? After three books I still can't pick one- I go back and forth. I think she's a little in love with Jones myself, but she's attracted to Tafft as well. Time will tell.
This is a series I'll buy as long as Mulhern wants to write them. Ellison is a great character, the 70's setting adds a unique touch and the stories are fun and breezy. I almost feel like I know Ellison's family at this point, they're quirky but familiar, and there's never a dull moment. Good stuff.