Assault and PepperWhen my life blew up—when I stumbled over my now-ex husband, Mr. Bicycle Cop, practically plugging coins into Miss Meter Maid (I can’t bring myself to say “parking enforcement officer”) and then the job I loved, managing staff HR for a huge law firm, disappeared when said law firm imploded in a scandal of court-ordered sanctions, embezzlement, and criminal charges—well, when all came tumbling down, I hardly imagined finding salvation in cinnamon and bay leaves.

But that’s the magic of spice. And of Seattle’s Pike Place Market, a place where anything can happen. It’s been a year and a half now, and I can honestly say I’ve never been happier. There is no typical day in the Market—a wild and wooly collection of 300 merchants and restaurants, 200 daystall vendors, and more than 200 residents, along with 10 million visitors a year, in nine acres in the heart of the city. The motto isn’t “where the eccentric is common-place”—but it ought to be!

What do I love best? Impossible to say. The spices themselves, magical, jewel-like ingredients from all over the globe that can be combined in as many different ways as there are cooks. (A map of the world hangs by the front door, with pushpins marking the sources of our supplies.) Working with the cooks themselves, from the tentative beginners unsure of the difference between oregano and marjoram, cinnamon and cassia, to the old pros and commercial accounts, looking for the best, the tastiest, the new and unusual.

The tourists. No recipes or shopping lists for them, but they buy pounds of our signature citrus-and-spice tea, cinnamon sticks, lavender from the Olympic Peninsula, and Puget Sound Sea Salt. And our gift boxes—the perfect hostess gift. (Oh, and our new wedding registry. Nearly forgot. Some days, I wish I could forget it! But we have the loveliest of shower and wedding gifts!)

The employees. I admit, a challenge at times. But when you mix together the right crew—well, the balance is as perfect as any curry or Italian blend.

The space itself. The Market was started in 1907 as a place where the farmers could sell directly to the housewives. Our building dates to the 1930s and it’s an Art Deco gem with a Northwest accent—salmon-pink exterior stucco and forest green trim and awnings. Inside, wood plank floors and high ceilings, clerestory windows, and spice, spice, spice.

So swing by and let us serve you a sample cup of spice tea. Drink it in and let your senses lead you around this marvelous place. Spice is the variety of life, yes, and also one of its true pleasures. I’m so happy for the opportunity to share it with you.

You can read more about Pepper in Assault and Pepper, the first book in the NEW “Seattle Spice Shop” mystery series, published by Berkley Prime Crime.


Pepper Reece, owner of the Seattle Spice Shop, thinks she can handle any kind of salty customer—until a murderer ends up in the mix. . .

After leaving a dicey marriage and losing a beloved job in a corporate crash, Pepper Reece has found a new zest for life running a busy spice and tea shop in Seattle’s Pike Place Market. Her aromatic creations are the talk of the town, and everyone stops by for a cup of her refreshing spice tea, even other shopkeepers and Market regulars.

But when a panhandler named Doc shows up dead on her doorstep, a Seattle Spice Shop cup in his hand, the local gossip gets too hot for Pepper to handle—especially after the police arrest Tory Finch, one of Pepper’s staffers, for murder.

Tory seems to know why she’s a suspect, but she refuses to do anything to curry favor with the cops. Convinced her reticent employee is innocent, Pepper takes it on herself to sniff out some clues. Only, if she’s not careful, Pepper’s nosy ways might make her next on the killer’s list. . .

Includes Delicious Recipes!

spice mugGIVEAWAY: Leave a comment by 12 p.m. eastern on March 12 for the chance to win a print copy of Assault and Pepper. The giveaway is open to U.S. residents only. Winner will be notified within 48 hours after giveaway closes and you will have three days to respond after being contacted or another winner will be selected. Make sure to check your SPAM folder. Bonus prize from the author: a Spice Shop mug and a bag of Market Spice tea.

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, and the sequel, Crime Rib (2014), from Berkley Prime Crime. Assault and Pepper, first in her Seattle Spice Shop Mysteries debuts 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. Find her also on Facebook and on Twitter.

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