A Spice Shop Mystery, Book #3
By Leslie Budewitz
Author website: http://www.LeslieBudewitz.com
In Seattle’s Pike Place Market, Spice Shop owner Pepper Reece is savoring her business success, but soon finds her plans disrupted by a killer in the latest from the national bestselling author of Guilty as Cinnamon.
Pepper Reece’s to-do list is longer than the shopping list for a five-course dinner, as she conjures up spice blends bursting with seasonal flavor, soothes nervous brides fretting over the gift registry, and crosses her fingers for a rave review from a sharp-tongued food critic. Add to the mix a welcome visit from her mother, Lena, and she’s got the perfect recipe for a busy summer garnished with a dash of fun.
While browsing in the artists’ stalls, Pepper and Lena drool over stunning pottery made by a Market newcomer. But when Lena recognizes the potter, Bonnie Clay, as an old friend who disappeared years ago, the afternoon turns sour. To Pepper’s surprise, Bonnie seems intimately connected to her family’s past. After Bonnie is murdered only days later, Pepper is determined to uncover the truth. But as Pepper roots out long-buried secrets, will she be digging her own grave?
I call Leslie Budewitz Spice Shop Mystery series my intelligent cozy reads. Not that other cozies are not intelligent and intellectually stimulating. They are. There is just something about the writing style and content of Leslie Budewitz’s Spice books that elevate the cozy to something even bigger, even more. Her protagonist Pepper Reece is not more intellectual than others in other reads, she is smart and spunky and caring of course. The books are just interspersed with community history and factual snippets that raise the bar. I am not saying that these are harder to read, not as much fun and don’t have the wonderful cozy feel, they just have more. Ok enough rambling, let me just say they rock. (intelligent phrasing right). Killing Thyme is wonderful and spicy for sure, filled with intrigue, mystery and family secrets. And for those of us with bad memories or who are new to the series, the author includes a wonderful character list at the beginning of the book. Easy access for when a character appears and I just could not remember who the heck they were.
Pepper actually has a full complement of employees at her Seattle Spice Shop, but that does not mean she is not still crazy busy. Among all the other work related problems and business, Pepper is expecting a visit from her mother Lena. Her upbringing was less than normal and more hippie commune, but was truly joyful. Her mother recognizes one of the new artisans in Pike Place Market and things go downhill from there. Both Lena and potter Bonnie Clay act oddly towards each other. Pepper just cannot figure out why. When Bonnie ends up dead things go from spicy to habanero hot. Secrets from Pepper’s family start to be unraveled and even her best friend Kristen seems to be hiding things. As Pepper starts to hunt for answers, she puts herself in danger. Can she find the killer before she becomes another victim?
Killing Thyme is not just a modern day mystery, it mixes in a mystery from the past with the touch of a pro spice blender (there are such things by the way). I loved how the older mystery held answers to the new murder and the facts surrounding both are twisted and entwined with each other. I had a hard time putting this book down. So plan on having enough time to finish this in one sitting. It flows with panache and intrigues with such energy that you feel as though you are right there in the mix. As a reader you also learn new things, thus my intelligent cozy. The author pulls from facts of the area and combines them with fiction with the most deft hand to turn out a truly tasteful bounty of mystery that satisfies all you could hope for in a read.
Author Leslie Budewitz is a truly adept writer who is able to draw the reader in with sights, scents and words. Her style is enjoyable and entertaining. Her characters are fully developed and grow with each installment. Their relationships are real, they deal with life in a true personal style that I as a reader can relate to with ease. Her storyline merges the modern day tale with history of the area and always keeps the reader enthralled. I personally did not do well in history and it sometimes scares me, but not the way this author weaves her tale. You do not have to have read the other two amazing books in this series to really get pulled in to Killing Thyme and enjoy it. I do suggest you read them as they are wonderful. Peppered with spice tidbits and accompanied with fabulous recipes, this book is a feast for the senses.
*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*