A Cup O’Murder

Written by Lori Thiessen

While doing some research in the library, I came across a ‘keywords in title heading’ for ‘coffeehouse’. A list came up which included a murder mystery series written by Cleo Coyle. I had no idea that there was a fictional series like this. I haven’t read any of them yet but googling the main character’s name, Clare Cosi, I discovered she’s a barista in New York who happens to solve murders in her spare time. Sounds like it would make for fun reading.

Coffeehouses or coffee have often featured in literature since they became a prominent part of society. Alexander Pope, 18th century English poet, wrote in his famous Rape of the Lock that:

Coffee (which makes the politician wise,
And see thro’ all things with his half-shut eyes)
Sent up in vapours to the Baron’s brain,
New strategems, the radiant Lock to gain.

Charles Dickens mentions coffeehouses or coffee rooms in at least two of his many works, namely Nicholas Nickelby and Little Dorrit. I must admit that I’m not that familiar with Beat Poetry so I’ve no idea if Allen Ginsberg, Jack Kerouac or others mentioned coffee or coffeehouses in their poetry but I wouldn’t be a bit surprised if they did. It was the place for them to discuss their counter-culture ideas. A sense of place, of belonging however slight, is incredibly important in writing as in life, in my opinion.

As I recall, pulp fiction the like of which Dashiell Hammett wrote, often has at least one scene in a coffee shop whose coffee was as black as the heart of the dame sitting across from the protagonist.

Q: What other books feature a coffee shop or café?

Until Next Time,

May your coffee always be freshly brewed!


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