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'Espresso' is Christie homage

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‘Murder on the Orient Espresso'

Author: Sandra Balzo

Publisher: Severn House, 208 pages, $20.17

'American Coyotes' Series

Traveling by Jeep, boat and foot, Tribune-Review investigative reporter Carl Prine and photojournalist Justin Merriman covered nearly 2,000 miles over two months along the border with Mexico to report on coyotes — the human traffickers who bring illegal immigrants into the United States. Most are Americans working for money and/or drugs. This series reports how their operations have a major impact on life for residents and the environment along the border — and beyond.

By Oline H. Cogdill
Saturday, Jan. 4, 2014, 9:00 p.m.
 

A smooth plot percolates in Fort Lauderdale author Sandra Balzo's eighth mystery about coffeehouse owner Maggy Thorsen.

In this charming series, Balzo has set a tone for likable characters, wry humor and stories that look at the trials and tribulations of being a small-business owner.

In “Murder on the Orient Espresso,” Maggy and her boyfriend, Sheriff Jake Pavlik, leave their hometown of Brookhills, Wis., to attend a writers conference in South Florida. On their first night, the group boards a train to re-enact Agatha Christie's “Murder on the Orient Express.” And like Christie's classic, the group is stranded, only this time it's a rainstorm and the setting is the Everglades.

Balzo weaves in a vivid view of South Florida landscape while delivering an original plot that pays homage to Christie.

Oline H. Cogdill is a staff writer for the Sun Sentinel (South Florida).

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