Clouds in My Coffeeby Julie Mulhern

Published May 10th 2016 by Henery Press

5 Stars

Synopsis: When Ellison Russell is nearly killed at a benefactors’ party, she brushes the incident aside as an unhappy accident. But when her house is fire-bombed, she’s shot at, and the person sitting next to her at a gala is poisoned, she must face facts. Someone wants her dead. But why? And can Ellison find the killer before he strikes again? Add in an estranged sister, a visiting aunt with a shocking secret, and a handsome detective staying in her guesthouse, and Ellison might need more than cream in her coffee…

My Review: Clouds in my Coffee is the third Country Club Murders book by Julie Mulhern, and I believe it is the best one yet. Ellison Russell is a recently widowed mother, who found out her husband was not only cheating on her, but was rather kinky at that. She is a member of the County Club set and does not need to worry about money at all. She seems to stumble onto or run over dead bodies and has enough accidents that her mother is on speed dial at the hospital. This addition to the series does not so much have her stumbling onto dead bodies as it does having her avoid becoming a victim herself. After almost being killed several times (4 times in this book) and having a woman die at her table at her mother’s gala, Ellison is put under police protection.

This book introduces another family member, Aunt Sis, and lets us get to know her sister Marjorie a lot better. As they both end up as houseguests at Ellison’s place. Her aunt can be as haughty as her mother, but she is often described in the story as an aging hippie. She wears her hair in a greying ponytail and caftans are her formal wear. Marjorie is involved in a midlife crisis and there is another man involved in her life. Relationships get more complicated, family secrets come to light, and the mystery feels more dangerous because it hits very close to home. Of course we can not forget about the romance, or near romance in the story. Ellison is being pursued by two very eligible bachelors. Anarchy Jones the detective and Hunter Tafft the well connected lawyer. Her mother is pushing Hunter, as he is part of their social circle, but it seems Aunt Sis is rather fond of Anarchy. Unfortunately due to her trust issues with men, Ellison is not ready for a relationship with either man, but it does not stop her kisses and the tingling she gets from both of them. This is a fun part of the story that I look forward to in each book. It is a touch decision and each man offers different things to Ellison.

Ellison is a great character. She is tough, strong, independent, loyal, loving and supportive to her family and the kind of person I would love to have as a friend. I love the setting in the 70s. I lived it and this hits so true, it also adds a different touch to this cozy series. The stories are fun, the family is quirky, the Country Club set is snobby and I wish that I was there! A great series that I would recommend to cozy mystery readers as well as anyone who loved the the 70s. The publisher generously provided me with a copy of this book via Netgalley.