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Seattle Spice Shop owner Pepper Reece probes murder while juggling a troubled employee, her mother’s house hunt, and a fisherman who’s set his hook for her.

As owner of the Spice Shop in Seattle’s famed Pike Place Market, Pepper Reece is always on the go. Between conjuring up new spice blends and serving iced spice tea to customers looking to beat the summer heat, she finally takes a break for a massage. But the Zen moment is shattered when she overhears an argument in her friend Aimee’s vintage home decor shop that ends in murder.

Wracked by guilt over her failure to intervene, Pepper investigates, only to discover a web of deadly connections that could ensnare a friend—and Pepper herself.

Bestselling author Leslie Budewitz met up with The Big Thrill to discuss her latest cozy mystery, CHAI ANOTHER DAY:

What do you hope readers will take away from this book?

I hope readers will enjoy strolling through Seattle’s Pike Place Market with a virtual cup of something hot and spicy while they investigate along with Pepper Reece, as she probes a murder she fears she could have prevented, uncovers secrets about those she thought she knew well, and readies herself for another adventure of the human heart. And I hope they’ll get hungry and enjoy making a few of the recipes included.

What attracts you to this book’s genre?

The heart of an amateur sleuth mystery is, in my opinion, the sleuth’s use of her particular skills, her standing in the community, and her ability, as an amateur, to see and understand what professional sleuths might miss to solve the crime. A cozy is, ultimately, a celebration of community, and the role of each individual in healing rifts and wounds.

No spoilers, but what can you tell us about your book that we won’t find in the jacket copy or the PR material?

Although a big part of the appeal of the cozy is its light-hearted tone, the cozy is also a terrific vehicle for exploring social justice issues. Each of my Spice Shop mysteries does so, in a subtle way, and CHAI ANOTHER DAY continues that theme.

Was there anything new you discovered, or that surprised you, as you wrote this book?

Weather’s become an increasingly dramatic part of life in the Pacific Northwest, and I had a great time making the extreme summer heat Seattle has experienced the last couple of years a key part of the story.


Leslie Budewitz is the best-selling author of the Seattle Spice Shop and Food Lovers’ Village mysteries. The fourth Spice Shop mystery, CHAI ANOTHER DAY, will be published by Seventh St. Books in June, 2019. “All God’s Sparrows” (Alfred Hitchcock Mystery Magazine), her first historical fiction, was nominated for the 2018 Agatha Award for Best Short Story. Death al Dente, the first Food Lovers’ Village mystery, won the 2013 Agatha Award for Best First Novel; her guide for writers, Books, Crooks & Counselors, won the 2011 Agatha Award for Best Nonfiction. A past president of Sisters in Crime, Leslie currently serves on the Mystery Writers of America board. She lives in NW Montana.

To learn more about Leslie and her work, please visit her website.