Wednesday, June 27, 2018

Big hearts and big trouble under the Big Sky -- @LeslieBudewitz

by Detective Oliver Bello, from AS THE CHRISTMAS COOKIE CRUMBLES, the 5th in the Food Lovers’ Village Mysteries by Leslie Budewitz

I’m new in Jewel Bay, and some days it seems like every other person I meet wants to remind me of that.

A few years ago, my wife and I came to Montana on vacation. Hiking in Glacier National Park, site seeing in Yellowstone, the bison, the lakes, the stream fishing – I loved it all. So last year, when she threw me over for my partner—eighteen years he and rode the same patrol car together—and I knew it was time to get out of Miami, I remembered that vacation and how much I loved the big mountains, the big vistas, and the big-hearted people under the Big Sky. Turned out this county had an opening for a detective. I met the qualifications, I met the sheriff, and I made the move.

Now, moving from one of the country’s biggest cities to one of its smallest is not without its challenges. Winter is a big one, I admit. We don't get much snow in south Florida. Northwest Montana, on the other hand ...

But the biggest problem is that those same big-hearted townspeople seem to see every crime as a puzzle for them to solve. The worst is the woman who runs the Merc, Erin Murphy. Smart gal, I admit. But she can NOT keep her nose out of police business. Just because I don’t know what everyone had for breakfast or who went to grade school with who doesn’t mean I don’t know a thing or two about murder.

And I’ll solve this case, too. As soon as I buy a pair of snow boots.

Readers, what surprised you most about making a big move? Or if you live in a small town like Erin and I do, do you enjoy the newcomers? 

"Budewitz's finely drawn characters, sharp ear for dialogue, and well-paced puzzle make Jewel Bay a destination for every cozy fan." - Kirkus Reviews

From the cover of AS THE CHRISTMAS COOKIE CRUMBLES, Food Lovers' Village Mystery #5 (Midnight Ink, June 2018, available in trade paper, e-book, and audio): 

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.

Swing by my website and join the mailing list for my seasonal newsletter. And join me on Facebook where I announce lots of giveaways from my cozy writer friends.


  1. I actually live in the same house I grew up in. I did move to IN for about 8 years. It was different, but I adapt easily. Or at least I used to, lol. Love this series, this book and this setting.

  2. Oh, what a joy that must be! Thank you for the kind words, dear Kay!

  3. I've made two long distance moves. Each new place is different, but not so different that it wasn't easy to adapt to.

    1. Good going! I hope Detective Bello has some of your resilience...

  4. People in the state I've lived in the past 36 years aren't very warm and friendly, open to people who didn't grow up here or not part of their family. Having said that, know that I live in a large city in a state known for its niceness. I do have friends, but they are like me, not having grown up here or no longer have family nearby.

  5. We moved last year from what most call a small town (population around 10,000) to a very small town (we live in the county seat and the population is less than 3,000). The biggest adjustment I guess would be the friendliness of the folks and almost lack of crime. Folks don't just pass you by but say hello and sincerely ask how you are doing. I've known of one lady who forgot her purse in her unlocked car all day and found it just as she left it several hours later. We love it it and are so glad we took the leap and moved. Was lot more work than either hubby or I imagined but one baby step at a time and we made it.
    2clowns at arkansas dot net