Friday, September 27, 2019

Change is the Only Constant @LeslieBudewitz

by Pepper Reece, from 
the Spice Shop Mysteries by Leslie Budewitz

Cities are always changing. One of the biggest changes in Seattle in decades is happening right out my windows. Pretty amazing, I will tell you. It’s the demolition of the Viaduct, an elevated highway that’s run along the waterfront for decades. I adore my loft – part of a 1920s warehouse conversion – but I can tell you, I didn’t buy it for the views! Moss-covered concrete highway walls? A peek-a-boo view of the Olympic Mountains from the cramped little mezzanine above my bedroom? (“Meditation space,” the builder called it. Wonder when was the last time he meditated.)

Image result for bertha knight landes
But now – wow. For years, downtown’s been dominated by Big Bertha, the largest tunneling machine ever built.

Named for Bertha Knight Landes, the first woman mayor of a major city, elected mayor of Seattle in 1926. (She campaigned on a platform of “municipal housekeeping.” After clamping down on bootlegging, dance halls, and reckless driving, Mayor Landes was not re-elected, and the city did not elect another woman mayor until 2017.) Finally, the tunnel is done, the highway’s been moved, and the last stretch of the viaduct is coming down this month.

Here's a great video of the viaduct's removal.

I find myself sitting and staring for what seems like hours. The mountains. The sky. The sunsets. Orange, pink, purple, sliding into deep blue as the sun sinks behind the Olympics. I can see the harbor with its giant cranes that look like something out of Star Wars, plucking containers off barges and moving them to land like they were Legos. The lights on Alki Beach in West Seattle.

But lights cast shadows. When walls come down, who knows what we’ll see?

I think the changes are just beginning.

What changes are afoot in your neck of the woods? 

From the cover of CHAI ANOTHER DAY, Spice Shop Mystery #4 (Seventh St. Books): 

 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 winner of Agatha Awards in three categories. Death al Dente, the first Food Lovers' Village Mystery, won Best First Novel in 2013, following her 2011 win in Best 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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  1. Just returned from my first visit to Seattle, inspired by the Spice Shop Mysteries, and was there to see the final section of the viaduct come down. What a great city and a fantastic place to visit! Now to go back and read the series from the beginning. Thanks for the hours of reading pleasure.

    1. Oh my gosh, thank you! I am SO GLAD you loved the city and that my books inspired your travels! I'm working on the 5th Spice Shop book right now -- out next spring!