Leslie Budewitz wrote Killing Thyme. It is the third book in the Spice Shop Mystery series. The is a series after this diyhomegoddess’s own heart. I hope to get to read more. It’s a unique place, a unique sleuth, and loads of fun.
I like the idea of the repeating cast introductions at the beginning of the book. That way you have an idea of who is in the story except for the murderers, victims and suspects. The characters are described pretty well, so you can imagine what they look like.
Pepper Reece (no, that is not her real name, but only her BFF, and probably her ex know what her real name is) is a great character. She is struggling with her spice shop she purchased after leaving the corporate world. She stumbles through the mysteries, finding clues and red herrings by accident and on purpose. Just like a true amateur sleuth should. I like that she is not “perfect”, she fails all over the place.
Tag Buhner is the cop you love to hate. He’s Pepper’s ex. He’s a hottie who seems to be obsessed with her. Why is it the ex-husbands are always falling over the wives. It is happening a lot lately; I think it is getting overdone.
The other cops (yes, there are more than one!) Spencer and Tracy are the annoying cops we love in this kind of mystery. They have different personalities, and their emotions are definitely shown.
The other merchants and the shop employees are minor characters, but they make consistent appearances, and are imagined enough that you will remember them.
Lena, Pepper’s mom, is seriously out there. You get where she is coming from because of the story, but without this story, she doesn’t seem to realistic.
The family friends from the past I felt were not quite as developed, possibly because this is their only appearance in the series so far.
And of course Arf, the dog, who can be a hero in his own right.
The Setting Descriptions
The story is based in Seattle. The descriptions are fully developed, to where you can imagine where the story takes place. But, the descriptions don’t go on and on, begging to be skipped.
On top of that, there is history of Seattle sprinkles throughout the story. That makes it really fun.
The Merchant’s Market is the basis for this story, and it definitely lends itself to being a character.
Most of the time there were enough dialogue tags where you could tell who was speaking.
Seattle is one of those melting pot cities, but I didn’t notice too much diversity in the language. Like phrases from back East, unusual actions, etc. It’s not a bad thing, because you knew there was diversity, but it didn’t really come out.
There wasn’t pages and pages of dialogue, it was well ratio’d with the action, exposition, and other parts of the story.
The pace is a little slower than normal cozies because there is a lot of thinking going on by Pepper. But not so slow that you want to put it down.
There are plenty of breathers in the story. Some stories it is constant action, going up and up and up. But Leslie Budewitz makes sure it is the roller coaster ride a story should be, to give the heart and brain a break occasionally.
The Plot Critique
There are so many clue and red herrings is this story. It keeps you guessing what is going to happen next. Who is the murderer? Will someone else get killed? What pickle will Pepper get into next?
Occasionally I leapt from one setting to the next, without realizing I’d moved. Not all the time, but enough to notice. Maybe some transitions?
The shop talk is fun. There is occasionally a drama going on, which gives you a breather. You get a little bit of knowledge about the spice world without realizing you are being lectured. Bonus!
The sub plots are plentiful in the story, with all being connected to the main characters or story itself. There was no weird sub plot added for filler sake.
Pepper kept having to go back and rehash things with the other characters, because they were all (especially Lena) being very uncooperative with her. Yay! A sleuth who doesn’t get everything from a person the first time grilled. Reminds me of Columbo. Good job!
In each of Leslie Budewitz’s books, you get snippets at the beginning of each chapter. It can be a quote from a song , a quote from a book, or information about a specific spice. None of these are out there, they all have something to do with the theme of the book or setting.
The recipes are great. I especially like the spice discussions. Learning combinations of spices to make a curry, or italian blend are great. Last night I made the cocoa rub for steaks for dinner, tweaking it to the family’s non-spicy desires.
I don’t know what spice shop she uses, but you can check out this one if you want fresh spices online. It’s like the internet version of her setting. Or see if you have a good one where you live. Any diyhomegoddess needs a good spice contact.
You can find out more about her here. Her website has more recipes
The Spice Shop Mysteries
- Assault and Pepper – 2015
- Guilty as Cinnamon – 2015
- Killing Thyme – 2016
- Chai Another Day – coming May 2019!
Also, she has another series I have yet to start, The Food Village Mysteries:
- Death Al Dente – 2013
- Crime Rib – 2014
- Butter Off Dead – 2015
- Treble at the Jam Fest – 2017
- As the Christmas Cookie Crumbles – coming June 2018!
I will tell you, I had an idea of who the killer was, but didn’t know why until the end. Just a vibe I got from the person, like the person seemed guilty of something odd.
I give this a 4 star rating. Read it and tell me what rating you give it.