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Publisher's Summary

Springtime in Seattle's Pike Place Market means tasty foods and wide-eyed tourists, and Pepper's Spice Shop is ready for the crowds. With flavorful combinations and a fresh approach, she's sure to win over the public. Even better, she's working with several local restaurants as their chief herb and spice supplier. Business is cooking - until one of Pepper's potential clients, a young chef named Tamara Langston, is found dead, her life extinguished by the dangerously hot ghost chili - a spice Pepper carries in her shop.

Now, stuck in the middle of a heated police investigation, Pepper must use all her senses to find out who wanted to keep Tamara's new café from opening - before someone else gets burned….

©2015 Leslie Ann Budewitz (P)2016 Tantor

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

Overall

  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
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Performance

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Story

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Terrific book

Likable characters and engaging plot. The reader is fantastic! I would recommend this to cozy mystery lovers.

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

kept me guessing!

I have been enjoying the spice shop mysteries a lot. Budewitz throws in some great twists to give an unexpected ending. her characters are well rounded and fun to get to know.
The voice for this book is perfect, she sounds like a Pepper! I really enjoyed it!!

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

great spicy murder mystery !

loved it! There was a murder mystery plus cooking spices and teas and cooking tips.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Good story

At first, was not impressed, too wordy, too many characters but by mid story had grown really interested. Good twists and turns without being too intense.

4 of 5 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

Great culinary mystery

In Guilty as Cinnamon by Leslie Budewitz, Pepper Reece owns the Seattle Spice Shop in the Pike Place Market, where she has developed a clientele of restaurants to supply with the spices they use in their cooking. One day she helps Tamara Langston as she prepares to open her own restaurant as a competitor of her boss, Alex Howard, as Tamara gets everything prepared before she is ready to tell her boss. But Pepper’s problem employee tells Alex anyway, and when Pepper goes to the location of Tamara’s new restaurant to try to make things right, she finds Tamara dead.

As she still works hard to keep her business running, Pepper also investigates the case, partly because she feels she owes it to Tamara and partly because Alex, whom she dated briefly, has been arrested for the crime and begs Pepper to get to the truth, just as she had done six months earlier in the first book, Assault and Pepper. The case that begins as a bad dream turns into a nightmare when Pepper gets hints that the murder weapon was the ghost spice, the hottest spice on record and one included in Pepper’s twice-weekly shipment to Alex. So could Pepper have supplied the murder weapon herself? It’s enough to make get feel responsible for locating the killer.

This book is full of flavor in many ways. The vivid depictions of the spice shop and Pikes Place Market bring everything to life. I felt I could actually smell the many blends of spices that Pepper and her employees concoct to create numerous flavors. Having the ghost pepper serve as the murder weapon also just adds to this cornucopia of senses, something I don’t usually expect to find in a book.

The characters in this book do not have the same roundness and flavor as the spices and Pikes Place Market. We do learn a lot about Pepper herself and what gives her drive in life. But we don’t really get to know the other characters very well. We see Alex, the detective pair Spencer and Tracy, other people in the restaurant world, and Pepper’s cop ex-husband, but we don’t really get to know them. I want to connect to the other characters in my books, either positively or negatively, but I don’t get that sense in this book. For a book that immerses me so effectively in the surroundings, I am actually rather surprised at the lack of character development in the book. Even the dog, Arf, who shows great potential for creating delight in the reader, comes close but not quite close enough to meeting this standard.

The book also goes off on a strange tangent on the topic of hunting ghosts. In general, I don’t like the addition of the paranormal to my cozy mysteries, but I will accept such topics if the ghosts don’t take up too much space in the books and do not make the books feel creepy. But though the paranormal details in this book are not overly intense or eerie, they seem to arise out of the blue and don’t fit well with the plot of the book.

The audio edition of this book is read by Dara Rosenberg. Her performance suits the voice and attitude that I sense in the character of Pepper, who gives a first person narration of the book. I am certain that I would not have felt the vibrancy of sensory stimulation that I experienced in this book without such an effective narrator or even as a book read on my own instead of audibly.

Despite my stated reservations, I really did enjoy this book. Each chapter begins with a quote that I really enjoyed. Most books that start with a quote don’t catch by attention with the this, and I find myself merely bearing the opening quote in order to get to the meat of the bike book. But I found the quotes that open each chapter to be lively and suit the text. The plot took some fascinating turns, catching by attention dramatically. I give this book four stars!

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • Debbie
  • Toney, Alabama
  • 01-10-18

Classy Seattle, History, Mystery and Adventure

The second in the Spice Shop series is just as good as the first one . . . Pepper Reece is busy running her shop, supplying clients with what they need, both individuals and restaurateurs in Seattle's Pike Place Market area. Helping a new business owner, Tamara Langston who is getting ready to open her own restaurant, after serving as long time chef in another local establishment, Pepper agrees to meet Tamara at her new place. . . but finds her lying dead in the floor . . . Rumors swirl around the death, including the spotting of ghosts of centuries past, Pepper sets out to discover the truth about EXACTLY what killed Tamara. Short handed at her spice shop and trying to find the right new hires to replace a newly fired employee for being horribly rude to a customer and another (great) employee leaving to pursue his first love: music, Pepper is working herself silly. Friends step up to the plate to help, while ex-husband, Tag, warns Pepper about delving into the clues about the murder. I love the atmosphere, Pepper's dog, Arf, the weird, yet wonderful people of the market . . . and to my own astonishment, I'd love to visit Seattle . . . I love cooking, culture, books . . . and mysteries . . . and in this series, my cravings are satisfied. The tales are clean, tasteful (in more ways than one) . . . and I'm always happy with the resolution . . . what a great listen!

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

I love Seattle and food!

Seattle and spices and cooking! There is nothing better. I enjoyed every minute. From Sacramento, this was full of wonderful recognition and delightful mystery. Such Fun.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Mystery without the gore!!

Nicely written. Nicely read. Refreshing, original story line?. Looking foward to book three about Ms. Pepper and Alf.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Better than the first

Assault and pepper is good and got me stated on the series and now the second one is even better and has me hooked.

2 of 3 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Great series!

The story and the narrator are both wonderful. I can’t wait to listen to the rest of the books in the series. A fun cozy mystery without all the blood guts and gore of the hard core mysteries.