A Day in the Life of Erin Murphy by Leslie Budewitz

Crime RibHere in Montana, we love our festivals. Summers are short and stunning—and in every corner of the state, we celebrate. The Festival of Nations. Mule Days. Homesteader Days. Buzzard Days—honoring ‘nature’s cleaners’. The Strawberry Festival. Rendezvous Days. Pow Wows. The Sweet Pea Festival of the Arts. Dog and Grog, celebrating hot dogs and cold beer. Lewis & Clark Reenactments. Music festivals: jazz, bluegrass, Celtic, guitar, Mozart. And on and on—not to mention Huckleberry Days in half a dozen towns, celebrating the tart, purple jewels Montanans fight the bears for every August.

So earlier this summer, not long after I came back to Jewel Bay to take over my family’s century-old general store, I talked the village merchants into starting a new festival. The Festa di Pasta, to kick off summer and celebrate the Merc’s transformation into a market filled with local foods and treats. A weekend celebrating Italian fare, with music in the streets and fun and games for all ages, seemed perfect. But when I found our former manager dead in the alley on opening night and my mother was accused of murder—well, not so perfect. (You can read how I managed to save both Fresca and the store, after confronting a chef bent on keeping his past a secret, challenging my old friend, now the local sheriff’s detective, and rescuing my new boyfriend and my shop assistant from permanent cold storage in Death al Dente.)

So when the 35th Annual Jewel Bay Summer Art and Food Festival rolled around, I decided to take a backseat. Sure, Fresca and Old Ned Redaway started the Festival, years before I was born, and yes, its success to vital to the village economy. And I’ll help—the tiny, unincorporated town would be nothing without its volunteers, and my family’s always been among the first to raise our hands. But I’m just going to enjoy the fun. I’ll scout for new vendors for the Merc. I’ll drool over the pottery—maybe even pick up a piece or two. I’ll be glad to assist the crew of the TV show Food Preneurs, in town to film the event and give the local cooks and artists some national attention. And I’ll eat my fill at the Grill-off, the friendly competition to see which village chef serves up the best steak. But that’s it. I’m not taking charge of anything.

But you know it doesn’t turn out that way. When the show’s producer is killed in a hit-and-run, Erin is drafted to step in. Then one of the contestants is attacked and dies. To keep the town’s reputation from crashing and burning on national TV, Erin must grill a few suspects to smoke out the killer. It might not be pretty, and it might not make Undersheriff Ike Hoover or Detective Kim Caldwell happy. But you know she’ll do it—as Fresca says, “Murphy girls don’t quit.” And you know that in the end, Erin will serve up truth and justice. All for the love of the Merc and Jewel Bay.


About Crime Rib (second in the Food Lovers’ Village Mysteries, July 1, 2014, Berkley Prime Crime):

“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 rep from crashing and burning on national television, Erin will have to grill some suspects to smoke out the killer…”

GIVEAWAY: Leave a comment by 6 p.m. eastern on July 22 for the chance to win a copy of CRIME RIB. (US entries only, please.)

About the author
Leslie Budewitz is the national best-selling author of Death al Dente, first in the Food Lovers’ Village Mysteries set in northwest Montana, and winner of the 2013 Agatha Award for Best First Novel. Crime Rib, LeslieBthe second in the series, was published by Berkley Prime Crime on July 1, 2014. Her Seattle Spice Shop Mysteries will debut in March 2015.

Also a lawyer, Leslie won the 2011 Agatha Award for Best Nonfiction for Books, Crooks & Counselors: How to Write Accurately About Criminal Law & Courtroom Procedure (Quill Driver Books), making her the first author to win Agatha Awards for both fiction and nonfiction.

For more tales of life in the wilds of northwest Montana, and bonus recipes, visit her website and subscribe to her newsletter.

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63 responses to “A Day in the Life of Erin Murphy by Leslie Budewitz

  1. I love the title and cover. This sounds like such a great book!

    brookeb811 at gmail dot com

  2. Dotty Kelley

    I like this new series. This one’s on my TBR list.

  3. Death al Dente is on my t-b-r list and this one sounds just as good.

  4. I would love to read this book—thanks for the opportunity to win a copy!

  5. Sounds like another great cozy. I like cozies with food based themes, and in addition, this one sounds funny.

  6. Debbie Carnes

    Sounds great, I love food cozies

  7. Sounds awesome!

  8. Becky Prazak

    Loved the first book and look forward to reading this one.

  9. sounds like a fun read, thank you for the chance to win :)

  10. What a fun book to read, thank you for the chance to win

  11. Another for the TBR collection

  12. Summers are short here too, lots of county fairs with good food. Thanks for the peek at the new title!

  13. Kathy Gonzales

    This is going on my wish list !

  14. Sounds great, I can’t wait to read it.

  15. Andrea (aka Rokinrev)

    I have read others in the series. This should be as good

  16. Enjoyed DEATH AL DENTE and plan on reading the next book in the series. It would be fun to win the second book.

  17. Cynthia E. Blain

    I most definitely would like to read this book as Death A la Dente was just terrific. Can’t wait to order this second book in the series.

    Cynthia

  18. Alicia Farage

    Would love to win this as I loved your first.

  19. Makes me want to move to Montana. Count me in.

  20. Waving from Montana! Thanks for all the kind words — and your interest in CRIME RIB. I can’t take credit for the title — my publisher’s genius copy dept came up with it — but I love it, too. Makes me grin every time!

  21. This sounds great, I love all the reviews!!

  22. I have to add this to my TBR list – win or lose!

  23. Sharleen Wells

    This book sounds so good! Can’t wait to read it

  24. This book sounds intriguing. Thanks.

  25. Sandy Taylor

    Sounds yummy. Looking forward to the new book and now I have to find Death Al Dente. There’s something wonderful about finding a series that just seems to click.

  26. I love this type of series! Can’t wait to start reading it. Heading over to get the first book in the series now. Thanks for the chance to win.

  27. Patti Smith

    This is a great series!

  28. So nice to hear from readers who liked Death al Dente. I’ll tell you the truth: I think Crime Rib is a stronger book, and I hope you find it just as much fun!

  29. Really enjoy the premiss of your book, though how someone can plan a competition while renovating makes my head spin. Though it might be a great way to get delicious food without cooking it.

  30. I really enjoyed Dente. I am looking foreword to reading this new one. Thanks

  31. Leslie Budewitz

    Ronna, too funny! Yes, all that and running a shop does get Erin going a bit. And as you know, she’s pretty much always thinking about food — selling it, cooking it, eating it, and of course, celebrating it!

  32. kayekillgore

    I would like this series.

    kaye.killgore@comcast.net

  33. New series for me sounds perfect.

  34. i need to catch up on this series!!
    thank you for the giveaway!!!!

  35. sounds both funny and interesting. Would love a start to the series.

  36. Carol Edwards

    What a great looking book, love a chance to read it.

  37. Vickie Williams

    This looks like a fun book to read!

  38. Food, festivals and mystery, this sounds terrific!

  39. Looks like a great cozy mystery.

  40. Melody Gonser

    Sounds like an enjoyable book to read. Seems like it is quite different than law. Thank you.

    • Leslie Budewitz

      Melody, people often expect me to write legal thrillers b/c of my long career in law, but writing mysteries with food is a lot more fun!

  41. donnadurnell2013

    Hubby just grilled us steak for our supper tonight. Think he’d be a good contestant for the Jewel Bay Summer Art and Food Festival’s grill off — but I sure wouldn’t want him killed off!
    We have Western Heritage Days the end of September. I think festivals and celebrations are fun.
    Looking forward to getting to read CRIME RIB. And I need to go back and get DEATH AL DENTE also.

  42. Nancy Roessner

    I’ve had this series on my radar. This book sounds like a lot of fun!

  43. I have never heard of your series but look forward to reading them. Always looking for new authors to enjoy. Thanks for the hours of enjoyment to come. cheryl primce

  44. I want to go to that Buzzard Days festival. Sounds like fun.
    suefarrell.farrell@gmail.com

  45. loved the first book, excited about more to come………..

  46. I’d love to hear about the cover. What mischief are those animals getting into?!

    • Isn’t the cover fun? Mr. Sandberg, the cat, does not come to festival — too busy at home chasing mice and watching birds. Pepe, the Scottie, belongs to Erin’s mother Fresca. And Duke, the Retriever, belongs to one of the chefs competing in the grill-off. He and Erin share a few tense moments, eventually bonding over their love of wildlife — no spoilers, but it’s one of my favorite scenes!

  47. Sounds like a very good cozy mystery. Will have to check these out.

  48. Love the title. Can’t wait to read.

  49. Anita Yancey

    I love the title and setting for this book. It sounds like a great read. Thanks for this chance to win it.

  50. Barbara Tobey

    I need to read this book to put myself into the cover.

  51. I so enjoyed Death al Dente and am anxious like to read Crime Rib!

  52. I so enjoyed Death al Dente and am anxious to read Crime Rib!

  53. So looking forward to reading this series.

  54. There’s nothing like settling back, after a day of work reading what others tell me to read, and escaping into a mystery novel. I’ve enjoyed your inspirational newsletter and will continue reading Death al Dente tonight. After that, on to Crime Rib. Being that I love food and mysteries, I’m hooked.

  55. Thanks to all of you for the kind words — too many to reply to each. So glad you’re enjoying my books — writing them is a joy and sharing them with you a privilege for which I am most grateful.

  56. Thanks Leslie for interacting with my readers.

    Contest is closed.