4 star rating
Crime Rib
A Food Lovers’ Village Mystery, Book #2 
By Leslie Budewitz
ISBN# 9780425259559
Author’s Website:

Brought to you by OBS reviewer Andra



Gourmet food market owner Erin Murphy is determined to get Jewel Bay, Montana’s, scrumptious local fare some national attention. But her scheme for culinary celebrity goes up in flames when the town’s big break is interrupted by murder . . .

Food Preneurs, one of the hottest cooking shows on TV, has decided to feature Jewel Bay in an upcoming episode, and everyone in town is preparing for their close-ups, including the crew at the Glacier Mercantile, aka the Merc. Not only is Erin busy remodeling her courtyard into a relaxing dining area, she’s organizing a steak-cooking competition between three of Jewel Bay’s hottest chefs to be featured on the program.

But Erin’s plans get scorched when one of the contending cooks is found dead. With all the drama going on behind the scenes, it’s hard to figure out who didn’t have a motive to off the saucy contestant. Now, to keep the town’s reputation from crashing and burning on national television, Erin will have to grill some suspects to smoke out the killer . . . (Goodreads)


A thoroughly delightful cozy.  Definitely combining some of my favorites…a good mystery and food!  I quite enjoyed the author listing “The Cast” at the beginning.  A great way to review the names and hopefully keep them straight throughout the story – all in one place.

The story starts off with a small town in Montana preparing for a summer festival.  There is to be a cook-off during the festival that is being filmed and right off the bat trouble ensues….and the producer of the TV show filming the cook off – Stacia – must make a controversial decision. She must inform two of the chef’s that they must submit alternate recipes.  Later that evening, Stacia is found on the road…an apparent victim of a hit and run.  Now the story continues on with Erin filling in for the now deceased Stacia (TV show producer in town for the televised cook off).  As I was reading I thought…really….that was the murder?  Hmmm…not sure if this is exciting enough for my tastes…but give the author a chance, see if the mystery level increases.

On filming day for the cook-off we see three chefs competing:  Drew, Amber, and Kyle

·         Drew – the home town chef at the Jewel Inn;

·         Amber – co-owner and chef, Bear Grass B & B; and

·         Kyle – head chef at Eagle Lake Lodge.

Gib – obnoxious host of the TV show.  He is totally wishy washy….going from obnoxious to perfectly congenial, when the situation suits him.  He is truly a great actor for the screen, turning his charm on and off at his will.  We learn that there is more of a past with Gib and Drew.  Hmmm. Keep that in the back of one’s mind.

The cook off happens (and is filmed) and then a break occurs while Gib deliberated, to figure out the winner of the cook-off. Unfortunately, something happens and Drew is fatally assaulted.   Now we have a murder I can sink my teeth into!  And of course, the list of potential suspects is long enough that the amateur sleuth in Erin emerges and a cozy murder mystery is born!

I truly enjoyed the word plays and innuendo’s…for example:

“Who could do that to Stacia’s things?  She’d be rolling over-well, metaphorically speaking.” 

Brought a wonderful chuckle out of me.  Or how about when she referred to the underbelly of Food Lovers’ Village…

”that underbelly was probably soft and cream-filled.” 

Erin’s love interests:  Adam Zimmerman, hunky Wilderness camp director (and great hubby material guy) and Rick Bergstrom, the hunky grain salesman.  Lucky girl….TWO hunky guys…what’s a girl to do.  Though right off the bat I give mega credit to Adam…he shows much more interest in Erin.  And then there is the abruptly ended date with Rick.  I was taken aback that he spoke his displeasure for Erin investigating the murder of Drew, offending Erin but if Rick is truly controlling, good for Erin on leaving abruptly.  A woman must make her own decisions.  So who will she choose in the end?  Time will tell.

I loved Erin’s discourse on purchasing local goods:

“When you buy local, more of the money stays put. Transportation costs decrease, the carbon footprint goes down, and you feed your neighbors and yourselves. That’s economic power, for social good. We can’t rely solely on local goods-not in this climate-but we can do a lot.” 

So true!

And there was no shortage of comic relief….Erin’s 5 year old nephew trying to explain to Adam what happened to his auntie after she interrupted a fight –

“Auntie got punched in the face and her arm’s all bloody and her buttes hanging out of her pants.” 

Out of the mouths of babes ….brought a hearty chuckle to this reader!

I loved when Erin thought…

”If I was torching my love life for the sake of investigating, then it was time to get out and snoop and spy.  Or whatever.  But first, a quick session with the Spreadsheet of Suspicion, updating what I knew and what I didn’t.”

Being a spreadsheet kind of gal myself….I could totally relate:) .

Now, I am certainly NOT going to spoil everything by letting you know “who dunnit it”….so…get reading this delightful book yourself!

I am definitely going to want to go back and read the first book in this series….and it goes without saying…any further publications.

*OBS would like to thank the publisher for supplying a free copy of this title in exchange for an honest review as part of their ongoing blog tour*