from the Spice Shop Mysteries by Leslie Budewitz
I am a lucky woman. I have been blessed in so many ways, but one of the very best is though my friends.
Pepper Reece and I were born two weeks apart in the same house to parents who were best friends until my mother’s death a few years ago. (Pepper wasn't her name back then; you’ll have to read Killing Thyme to find out what's on her driver's license.) My father and her parents remain close—our dads are on their annual fishing trip up into Prince William Sound, in Canada, right now. They are a model of lifelong friendship worth following.
Not that ours hasn’t been tested. (As I said, read Killing Thyme.) But Pepper is loyalty itself, and if our friendship ever ended, I would devastated. And when she bought the Spice Shop and needed a hand, and a friendly face, I jumped at the chance. My girls adore her dog, Arf, and love his visits.
And she so admires what Pepper has done with Seattle Spice in the Pike Place Market, making the venerable business started in the early 1970s, right after the voters saved the Market from “urban removal,” into a vibrant shop that mixes new and old into a spicy (sorry–not sorry!) blend that’s perfect for the times.
But something happened between Maddie and Pepper years ago, and our friendship has never been the same. I still see each of them, but rarely together. What happened, they’ve never said, and neither has ever uttered a harsh word about the other—at least not to me. I don’t need to know, but I would like to know how to get them back together.
Because friendship truly is the spice of life.
Tell me about your dearest friend, and one lucky reader will win TWO books -- winners' choice, TWO copies of the same title or TWO different titles, from the first four Spice Shop mysteries, one to read and one to share! (Leave your email address to enter; US addresses only; winner will be chosen Monday, June 29.)
And I'm celebrating independent booksellers! Order a book from an indie -- online or locally -- then pop over to my Facebook page and tell me about it. When the chaos ends and bookstores reopen, I'll choose a winner of a book of mine or a bookstore gift card.
From the cover of THE SOLACE OF BAY LEAVES, Spice Shop Mystery #5 (Seventh St. Books), coming in ebook and audio July 21, 2020 (in paperback October 20):
Pepper Reece never expected to find solace in bay leaves.
But when her life fell apart at forty and she bought the venerable-but-rundown Spice Shop in Seattle’s Pike Place Market, her days took a tasty turn. Now she’s savoring the prospect of a flavorful fall and a busy holiday cooking season, until danger bubbles to the surface ...
Between managing her shop, worrying about her staff, and navigating a delicious new relationship, Pepper’s firing on all burners. But when her childhood friend Maddie is shot and gravely wounded, the incident is quickly tied to an unsolved murder that left another close friend a widow.
Convinced that the secret to both crimes lies in the history of a once-beloved building, Pepper uses her local-girl contacts and her talent for asking questions to unearth startling links between the past and present—links that suggest her childhood friend may not have been the Golden Girl she appeared to be. Pepper is forced to face her own regrets and unsavory emotions, if she wants to save Maddie’s life—and her own.
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. 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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