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Authors: Leslie Budewitz

Tags: #Cozy Mystery (Food/Beverage)

[SS01] Assault and Pepper

BOOK: [SS01] Assault and Pepper
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Assault and Pepper

“A potpourri of spices, a mélange of murder—Pepper and her crew serve up a tantalizing mystery and a fragrant treat for the senses.”

—Connie Archer, national bestselling author of the Soup Lover’s Mysteries

“There’s a savvy new amateur sleuth in town, and her name is Pepper Reece.
Assault and Pepper
is a smart blend of zesty characters, piquant spices, and scrumptious food. Set against the intriguing Seattle backdrop, this well-plotted whodunit is the perfect recipe for a great read.”

—Daryl Wood Gerber, national bestselling author of the Cookbook Nook Mysteries

“Leslie Budewitz writes her new Seattle Spice Shop Mystery,
Assault and Pepper
, with a dash of humor and a half-turn of charm that will leave readers smiling.”

—J. J. Cook, national bestselling author of
Fry Another Day

“An iconic Seattle setting, a smart and capable heroine, and a
investigation . . . what mystery reader could want more? Budewitz combines it all with effortless finesse.”

—Victoria Hamilton, national bestselling author of the Vintage Kitchen Mysteries

“Parsley, sage, rosemary, and . . . murder.
Assault and Pepper
, the scintillating first book in Leslie Budewitz’s new Spice Shop Mystery series, will add zing to your reading.”

—Barbara Ross, author of the Maine Clambake Mysteries


Death al Dente

“Seldom does a new author hit all the right notes in a first book, but Leslie Budewitz does. Convincing characters, a believable plot, the right dash of romance, and a deft use of words all come together to create a seamless and satisfying read.”

—Sheila Connolly,
New York Times
bestselling author

“Small-town charm and big-time chills. Jewel Bay, Montana, is a food lover’s paradise—and ground zero for murder! A dizzying culinary delight with a twisty-turny plot! I’m totally enamored of Leslie Budewitz’s huckleberry chocolates, Shasta daisies, and Cowboy Roast coffee.”

—Laura Childs,
New York Times
bestselling author

“An intriguing sleuth who loves gourmet food, family, and her hometown, plus recipes to die for distinguish a delectable mystery.”

—Carolyn Hart,
New York Times
bestselling author

“The first book in a delicious new series. Leslie Budewitz has created a believable, down-to-earth heroine in Erin Murphy, who uses her sleuthing skills and the Spreadsheet of Suspicion to catch a killer. The supporting cast of characters, from Erin’s mother, Fresca, to her cat, Sandburg, are charming. I’m looking forward to my next visit to Jewel Bay.”

—Sofie Kelly,
New York Times
bestselling author

“Clever, charming, and completely yummy. Leslie Budewitz cooks up a delectable mystery! A tempting concoction of food, fun, and fatalities that will have you racing through the suspenseful pages . . . then heading for the kitchen to try out the irresistible recipes. More please!”

—Hank Phillippi Ryan, Agatha, Anthony, and Macavity award-winning author

“The first in a new series is strong enough to stand outside the confines of its genre . . . This is Budewitz’s first novel-length mystery, and it’s a good one . . . engrossing and satisfying.”

—Fresh Fiction

“Always love finding a new author and a brand-new series. Well, let me tell you, Leslie Budewitz does not disappoint. This was a delicious read that I finished in one sitting. There were plenty of red herrings to keep the plot moving. I loved the main characters and can’t wait to read the next book in the series. Leslie, hope you are busy plotting and writing so I will not have to wait long. There are some very yummy recipes included, too.”


“Yummy . . . With the eccentric people that make up the rest of the cast, this book is enjoyable.”

—RT Book Reviews

Berkley Prime Crime titles by Leslie Budewitz

Food Lovers’ Village Mysteries



Spice Shop Mysteries



Published by the Penguin Group

Penguin Group (USA) LLC

375 Hudson Street, New York, New York 10014

USA • Canada • UK • Ireland • Australia • New Zealand • India • South Africa • China

A Penguin Random House Company


A Berkley Prime Crime Book / published by arrangement with the author

Copyright © 2015 by Leslie Ann Budewitz.

Penguin supports copyright. Copyright fuels creativity, encourages diverse voices, promotes free speech, and creates a vibrant culture. Thank you for buying an authorized edition of this book and for complying with copyright laws by not reproducing, scanning, or distributing any part of it in any form without permission. You are supporting writers and allowing Penguin to continue to publish books for every reader.

Berkley Prime Crime Books are published by The Berkley Publishing Group.

BERKLEY® PRIME CRIME and the PRIME CRIME logo are trademarks of Penguin Group (USA) LLC.

For information, address: The Berkley Publishing Group,

a division of Penguin Group (USA) LLC,

375 Hudson Street, New York, New York 10014.

eBook ISBN: 978-0-698-14053-0


Berkley Prime Crime mass-market edition / March 2015

Cover illustration by Lesley Worrell.

Cover design by Ben Perini.

This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents either are the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously, and any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, business establishments, events, or locales is entirely coincidental.

PUBLISHER’S NOTE: The recipes contained in this book are to be followed exactly as written. The publisher is not responsible for your specific health or allergy needs that may require medical supervision. The publisher is not responsible for any adverse reactions to the recipes contained in this book.



For Lita

Let others debate whether variety or humor is the spice of life.

I know it’s friendship.

Acknowledgments and Historical Note

A writer setting a story in a real place must ask indulgence from readers who know and love it. I have attempted to be as accurate as possible, while portraying a city in flux—as they always are—the city where I imagine Pepper Reece and her friends at work and play.

The removal of Seattle’s Alaskan Way Viaduct—the elevated highway above the waterfront—and its replacement with a tunnel began in 2012 and is scheduled for completion in 2016. At this writing, proposals are being considered for a south entrance to the Market on the site once home to the Municipal Market, destroyed by fire decades ago. But nothing ever happens exactly as planned, so my portrayal and the city’s evolution may not be perfectly in sync.

The Spice Shop occupies the Garden Center Building. To keep the herbs and spices safe from heat and light, I have replaced the large plate windows along Pine Street with clerestory windows and given the shop a side door—both changes not likely to be approved in real life, given the Market’s listing on the National Historic Register. While most of the Market is owned by the city and managed by the Public Development Authority, a few buildings remain in private ownership, including this one, although not on these pages. At this writing, all Market shops mentioned are still in business in the locations described. Alex and his restaurants are fictitious; sadly, so are Café Frida and the Diego Lounge.

The Market was saved from urban renewal by Seattle voters, led by the Friends of the Market and visionary architect Victor Steinbrueck. His
Market Sketchbook
remains a treasure. I have also drawn inspiration from
Soul of the City: The Pike Place Public Market
by Alice Shorett and Murray Morgan, and
An Insider’s Tour of the Pike Place Public Market
by Michael Yaeger, illustrated by Sarah Clementson.

As a college student and later as a young lawyer, I shopped and ate in the Market weekly, but there’s no substitute for inside knowledge. Thanks to Mercedes Yaeger of Market Ghost Tours for sharing her insights and experiences as a child—and adult—of the Market. Her book,
Seattle’s Market Ghost Stories
, is a treat. Thanks also to the other merchants who chatted with me, and to Emily Crawford of the PDA and Detective Renée Witt of the Seattle Police Department for answering questions. Of course, I made the mistakes all by myself.

For Pepper’s loft, I added upper floors to the Pittman Automotive building at the corner of Union and Western, which currently provides rooftop parking on Western and houses an antiques market on the Alaskan Way side. For spicy detail, Pepper and I both refer frequently to
The Spice and Herb Bible
by Ian Hemphill and
The Spice Bible
by Jane Lawson.

Lita Artis and Ken Gollersrud provided critical ground support and hospitality. Thanks to Lita and to Katherine Nyborg for reading a draft and sharing their perspective as longtime residents of the Emerald City.

My writer friends, at home and away, gave me their ears, examples, and encouragement. It’s a pleasure to work with other professionals—and a joy to propose an idea they instantly love, as both my agent, Paige Wheeler, at Creative Media Agency, Inc., and my editor, Faith Black, at Berkley Prime Crime, did. Thanks to Robin Barletta at Berkley Prime Crime for jumping into the project with enthusiasm, and to all of you for helping bring this magical place to life—and ink.

And as ever, thanks to Don Beans, aka Mr. Right, always willing to wander any Market street or alley, eat any food, and talk about it all the way home.

Inventory—Aka the Cast


Pepper Reece—

Sandra Piniella—
assistant manager and mix master

Tory Finch—
salesclerk and artist

Zak Davis—
salesclerk and musician

Reed Locke—
part-time salesclerk and college student

Kristen Gardiner—
part-time salesclerk, Pepper’s oldest friend




Laurel Halloran—
restaurant owner, caterer, houseboat dweller

Seetha Sharma—
the newest member

Gabe Halloran—
Laurel’s teenage son and honorary member


Angie and Sylvie Martinez—
aka the orchard girls

Yvonne Winchell—
grows the best flowers in the Market

Jane Rasmussen—
founder and former owner of Seattle Spice

Doc aka Damien Finch—
the mysterious newcomer

Sam and Arf—
a man and his dog

Jim and Hot Dog—
Sam’s friends

Marianne Finch—
Damien’s wife

Ken Griffey—
Damien’s partner

Alex Howard—
restaurateur Pepper may or may not be dating

Fabiola the Fabulous—
graphic designer

Keyra Jackson—
Tory’s sculptor friend and neighbor

Jen the Bookseller and Callie the Librarian—
Pepper’s former law firm employees

the wine merchant


Officer Tag Buhner—
on the bike beat, Pepper’s former husband

Detective Cheryl Spencer—

Detective Michael Tracy—

BOOK: [SS01] Assault and Pepper
9.42Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

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