from the Food Lovers’ Village Mysteries by Leslie Budewitz
A Pondera restaurant owner called police to report that a panhandler was engaging in various theatrical actions to passing drivers.
Shoppers at the Jewel Bay grocery store reported a couple arguing loudly in the parking lot. The couple told sheriff’s deputies that they were splitting up, and having “one last argument.”
An employee of a local jewelry store contacted law enforcement to report there were two males in the store allegedly asking customers for smiles. She was advised to give them one and suggest they leave.
A woman called the sheriff’s depart to report that her children might have stolen candy the night before and requested an officer scare them so they wouldn’t do it again. Dispatch advised the caller that doing so would portray law enforcement in a negative light and said the matter should be handled by the caller and her husband.
A Jewel Bay woman woke to a mysterious light shining on her house, and called the sheriff’s office to report a possible alien invasion. Turns out a local construction crew was getting an early start on the day’s work and setting up floodlights.
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In Jewel Bay---Montana's Christmas Village---all is merry and bright. At Murphy’s Mercantile, AKA the Merc, manager Erin Murphy is ringing in the holiday season with food, drink, and a new friend: Merrily Thornton. A local girl gone wrong, Merrily’s turned her life around. But her parents have publicly shunned her, and they nurse a bitterness that chills Erin.
When Merrily goes missing and her boss discovers he’s been robbed, fingers point to Merrily—until she’s found dead, a string of lights around her neck. The clues and danger snowball from there. Can Erin nab the killer—and keep herself in one piece—in time for a special Christmas Eve?
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. A past president of Sisters in Crime, 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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