Leslie Budewitz is the three-time Agatha Award winner and bestselling author of the Food Lovers’ Village and Spice Shop mysteries, continuing with the 6th installment, PEPPERMINT BARKED (July 19, 2022). Seattle Spice Shop owner Pepper Reece investigates when a young woman working the Christmas rush in her friend’s Vinny’s wine shop is brutally attacked, on the busiest shopping day of the year.
She also writes standalone moody suspense as Alicia Beckman, beginning with BITTERROOT LAKE and continuing with BLIND FAITH (October 2022). A photograph. A memory. A murdered priest. A passion for justice. A vow never to return.
Two women whose paths crossed in Montana years ago discover they share keys to a deadly secret that exposes a killer—and changes everything they thought they knew about themselves.
What a delight it is to be able to return to the Spice Shop, a fictional shop in Seattle’s very real Pike Place Market, a place I fell in love ages ago as a college freshman. I made it my mission to eat my way through the place, and since it’s constantly changing, I’ll never be done!
The Market is especially fun at Christmas, when every merchant, restaurateur, and daystaller pulls out all the stops to celebrate the season. I great fun recreating the joy of the place in my mind and on the page, and sharing it with you. Of course, it wouldn’t be a mystery without a murder, and without intrepid Pepper Reece to solve it.
I’ve often said that a recurrent theme in my books is a woman’s search for identity. In PEPPERMINT BARKED, I flipped that script, looking at identity from a male perspective. Several males, in fact. And of course, there are recipes for Christmas favorites. Just for you, readers, I tested home-brewed peppermint mochas on a 90+ degree day.
And what about Alicia’s upcoming standalone, BLIND FAITH? It’s my first novel set largely in my hometown of Billings, Montana, and involves a contemporary cold-case investigation and a historical story that spans more than thirty years. It explores identity, yes, along with memory, revenge, justice, friendship, and family. It was challenging to write—at one point, my office closet doors were covered in sticky notes in three different colors—but I love how it turned out, and I hope you will, too.
I’m also the author of the Food Lovers' Village Mysteries, set in fictional Jewel Bay, Montana. DEATH A DENTE, first in the series, won the 2013 Agatha Award for Best First novel. I’m the proud owner of two other Agatha teapots—2018 Best Short Story for “All God’s Sparrows,” set in Montana Territory in 1885, and 2011 Best Nonfiction (2011) for BOOKS, CROOKS & COUNSELORS: How to Write Accurately About Criminal Law & Courtroom Procedure, drawing on my thirty-plus years as a lawyer. My books and short stories have also won or been nominated for Derringer, Anthony and Macavity awards.
As a lawyer, I’ve represented individuals seeking damages for terrible wrongs, employers looking to do the right thing, and clients ranging from commercial fishermen to radio stations and even a major league baseball team. Currently, I handle mediations and help lawyers in over their heads. I’m a board member of Mystery Writers of America and past president of Sisters in Crime. I love to cook, eat, hike, travel, garden, and paint—not necessarily in that order. My husband Don Beans, a doctor of natural medicine, our gray tuxedo cat, an avid bird watcher, and I live in northwest Montana.
For regular updates, please visit my website, http://www.LeslieBudewitz.com, and click on the newsletter tab to sign up for emails about new releases, launch parties and other fun goings-on, and book giveaways. Subscribers get a free download of "The End of the Line,” a short story inspired by an odd sight on a trip to Greece.
Readers are my favorite people. Drop me a line at Alicia@AliciaBeckman.com or Leslie@LeslieBudewitz.com. Join me at my website, LeslieBudewitz.com, or on Facebook at Leslie Budewitz & Alicia Beckman.