I’ve been riding with the bike patrol for years now, long before my ex-wife bought the Spice Shop in Pike Place Market, and I love the job. People are always amazed that we bike the hills and the cobblestone streets all day, every day, but it’s easy – just a matter of training and experience. And the bikes let us go places and follow people we wouldn’t be able to do on foot or in a car. That's especially helpful in the Market, with its narrow alleys and clogged streets.
When Pepper started working here, the job got both harder and better. I did her a big, bad wrong that I will never quite forgive myself for, even though she seems to have forgiven me. Most of the time, anyway. I like seeing her, though I try not to cruise past the Spice Shop more often than necessary.
But Pepper has a way of getting herself into the thick of things, and while she also has a way of getting out of trouble and solving other people’s problems – well, it’s a good thing, a great talent, and one I deeply appreciate as a police officer. But it puts her in danger, and that causes me all kinds of trouble.
Because even though we’ve both moved on, and I’ve accepted that we’ll never get back together, she still matters to me more than just about anyone.
And as long as I’m pumping these city hills and gliding these city streets, I’ll be watching her.
Been to Seattle? Got a favorite memory?
From the cover of CHAI ANOTHER DAY, Spice Shop Mystery #4 (Seventh St. Books, June 2019):
Seattle Spice Shop owner Pepper Reece probes murder while juggling a troubled employee, her mother's house hunt, and a fisherman who's set his hook for her.
As owner of the Spice Shop in Seattle's famed Pike Place Market, Pepper Reece is always on the go. Between conjuring up new spice blends and serving iced spice tea to customers looking to beat the summer heat, she finally takes a break for a massage. But the Zen moment is shattered when she overhears an argument in her friend Aimee's vintage home decor shop that ends in murder.
Wracked by guilt over her failure to intervene, Pepper investigates, only to discover a web of deadly connections that could ensnare a friend - and Pepper herself.
Leslie Budewitz is the author of the Food Lovers’ Village Mysteries and the Spice Shop Mysteries—and the first author to win Agatha Awards for both fiction and nonfiction. Her first historical short story, "All God's Sparrows," won the 2018 Agatha Award for Best Short Story; read it on her website. A past president of Sisters in Crime and a current board member of Mystery Writers of America, she lives in northwest Montana with her husband, a musician and doctor of natural medicine, and their cat, an avid bird-watcher.
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