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Peppermint Barked

A Spice Shop Mystery

Published by Seventh Street Books
Distributed by Simon & Schuster

A Dickens of a Christmas turns deadly . . .  

Pepper Reece, owner of the Spice Shop in Seattle’s Pike Place Market, adores Christmas, and though she skips the Victorian costumes that go with this year’s Dickensian theme, she’s thrilled to celebrate the past and present in such a magical place. It’s a treat to help customers find the perfect stocking stuffers and season their holiday meals to perfection. Stir in a tasty staff competition—a peppermint bark-off—and Pepper almost forgets to be nervous about meeting her fisherman boyfriend’s brother for the first time. 

But when a young woman working in her friend Vinny’s wine shop is brutally assaulted, it’s clear that trouble haunts the revelers. A ghost of the past, rattling its chains, or a contemporary Scrooge? 

The attack on Beth upsets everyone at the Spice Shop, but none more than Matt Kemp. Pepper is baffled by the retail veteran’s reaction, but he’s keeping his secrets to himself. Then Vinny’s ex-wife ratchets up her demands that the eccentric wine merchant buy her out of the shop. He’d love nothing more—nothing, that is, other than fulfilling his dream to expand his shop into the empty space next door. Paying her off might well cost him that chance.

As Pepper helps unload a delivery, she notices a costumed caroler. Could he be the man she spotted arguing with Beth in the Market the day before the attack? When Pepper is shoved to the ground in a parking lot late one night, the same night Beth dies, she’s convinced that the mysterious singer is involved. To find the link, she’s got to talk Vinny into letting her help him, and persuade Matt to open up. But the Market itself may hold the final, deadly clue

Leslie Budewitz blends her passion for food, great mysteries, and the Northwest in two cozy mystery series, the Spice Shop Mysteries, set in Seattle’s Pike Place Market, and the Food Lovers’ Village Mysteries, set in NW Montana. Leslie is the winner of three Agatha Awards—2013 Best First Novel for DEATH AL DENTE, the first Food Lovers' Village mystery; 2011 Best Nonfiction, and 2018 Best Short Story, for “All God’s Sparrows,” her first historical fiction.  Her work has also won or been nominated for Derringer, Anthony, and Macavity awards. A past president of Sisters in Crime and a current board member of Mystery Writers of America, she lives and cooks in NW Montana.

  • Publisher: Seventh Street Books (July 19, 2022)
  • Length: 240 pages
  • ISBN13: 9781645060703

More books from this author: Leslie Budewitz