Monday, May 27, 2013

The Winds of Change

by Ned Redaway from Death al Dente, first in the Food Lovers' Village Mysteries, by Leslie Budewitz, coming in August 2013

First of May, the snowbirds come back and the tourists start to roll in to Jewel Bay. You can set your watch by it. That first big RV – motor coaches, they call ‘em – rolls in to town, pulling some gold-plated SUV behind it, and town perks up like a daisy when the sun comes out after a thunderstorm.

You can count on it.

And spring – well, nearly summer now – brings other things. Festivals. By jingo, this town’s got ‘em. Fourth of July. The Apple Festival. The Christmas Tree Festival. And the biggie, Summer Fair, the art festival Tom and Fresca Murphy, and me, and a handful of others started –  gosh, it ain’t really 35 years now, is it?
Well, maybe so. It’s older than my boy Ted, who works here with me in Red’s Bar.

Speaking of Ted, Fresca Murphy told me her girl Erin’s coming home. She’s taking over running the Merc. ’Bout time, though a course, I didn’t tell Fresca that. Fresca is smart and good-looking and one hell of a cook, but she don’t know much about retail and don’t care that much, neither. Now, Erin, she’s as smart and sassy as her mother -- my Ted's had a crush on her since, oh, first grade at least. She's been out in Seattle – some kind of big-deal grocery buyer for that big company, what’s it called? SavClub, that’s it. They got those big warehouse stores where you can buy everything from salmon to snow tires. Anyway, Erin knows about running a store. The Merc is part of village history – might be the oldest building in town, older than Red’s anyway. Twere a grocery for decades, until everybody started moving up to the highway, oh, maybe 40 years ago, and the village sorta took a nose dive. That’s when the artists started moving in and the food people after them, and we started all these festivals to keep things moving. And by jingo, it’s worked.

But the Merc’s a bit behind the times. Since I’m right next door, and cause I’ve known the family for more decades than I care to admit, I don’t mind admitting I care about the place. I want to see its doors swinging open and folks coming out with bags in their hands and smiles on their faces. And a course, I want ‘em to come over next door for a burger and a beer or something stronger.

Erin can make things happen. She’s a Murphy girl.

You can count on it.

What are you looking forward to this summer?

(Death al Dente, first in the Food Lovers' Village Mysteries, debuts from Berkley Prime Crime in summer 2013. The series is set in a small, lakeside resort community in Northwest Montana, on the road to Glacier Park. Guess where my author, Leslie Budewitz, lives! Leslie is also a lawyer and won the 2011 Agatha Award for Best Nonfiction for Books, Crooks & Counselors: How to Write Accurately About Criminal Law & Courtroom Procedure (Quill Driver Books, 2011). Visit her at and, and now at )

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  1. I am so happy you're back.

  2. So are we! This site's a great watering hole!

  3. Food and mysteries, what could be better?


  4. Nisi, you got it on the nose, by jingo!