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Leslie Ann Budewitz Books In Order

Publication Order of Food Lovers' Village Books

Death Al Dente (2013) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Crime Rib (2014) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Butter Off Dead (2015) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Treble at the Jam Fest (2017) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle

Publication Order of Spice Shop Mysteries Books

Assault and Pepper (2015) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Guilty as Cinnamon (2015) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Killing Thyme (2016) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle

Publication Order of Non Fiction Books

The Cozy Cookbook (with Avery Aames, Ellery Adams, Connie Archer, Laura Childs, Cleo Coyle, Victoria Hamilton, B B Haywood, Julie Hyzy, Jenn McKinlay and Paige Shelton) (2015) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle


Leslie Ann Budewitz is an American author who combines her passion for food and mystery to write mystery novels. Born in Montana, Budewitz attended Notre Dame Law School and Seattle University. She went on to practice law in Seattle for a few years before heading back to her home state of Montana. She still practices employment law and civil litigation in Montana, though she says killing people in books is much more fun.

A national best-selling author, Budewitz is best known for the Spice Shop Mystery series and the Food Lovers Mystery series of novels that are set in northwest Montana. The books focus on two women Pepper Reece and Erin Murphy, who she asserts share her passions and knack for running into trouble.

As a legal practitioner, it is no surprise that her first book was Books, Crooks & Counselors: How to Write Accurately About Criminal Law and Courtroom Procedure. The book got a nomination for the 2012 Macavity and Agatha Awards, and won the 2011 Agatha Award for Best Nonfiction. In 2013, she became the first author to win both the Agatha Awards for nonfiction and fiction, after her nonfiction work Death al Dente the first novel of the Food Lovers Village mysteries walked away with the Agatha Award for Best Novel in 2013.

A strong believer in helping up and coming writers succeed as authors, Leslie Ann Budewitz is the head the Sisters in Crime (SinC) and is also one of the founders of the Guppies two groups that offer support and advice to independent or unpublished writers. She is also actively involved in Montana Women Writers, the Authors of the Flathead, and Mystery Writers of America writer guilds.

When she is not writing, she loves to paint, garden, travel, hike, cook, and eat. She lives in northwest Montana with her Burmese cat named Ruff, who is an avid bird watcher and a book cover model, and her husband Don Beans a doctor of natural medicine and a singer songwriter.

Summary of Death Al Dente by Leslie Ann Budewitz

The first book of the Food Lovers’ Village Mystery, the novel is set in the fictional village of Jewel Bay Montana. Due to its obsession with homemade and homegrown food, it is also known as Food Lovers’ village. As such, it is only practical that Erin Murphy who takes over the running of her father’s general store converts it into a boutique market that is chock full of home-grown cuisine. However, she is rudely awakened from the bliss of a booming business when a former employee is the victim in a gruesome murder.

Mercantile Murphy, alias Merc has been a popular fixture in the little town of Jewel Bay for over a century. To celebrate its transformation into a gourmet food market, Erin organizes the Festa di Pasta festival another old town ritual to commemorate the event. The festival features a range of delicious culinary dishes from Jewel Bay, including some of her mother’s best Italian recipes.

Erin success with her business and organizing the festival is soured when Claudette her former shop manager is discovered dead behind the Murphy Mercantile on the eve of the Festa festival’s opening. It gets worse when James Angelo a rival chef starts spreading rumors saying that Erin’s mother Claudette stole her Italian recipes from Claudette, putting her under great pressure. It is now up to Erin to hunt down the suspect if her store and family are to survive the suspicion labelled against them.

Death Al Dente is a competently written book that shows why Leslie Ann Budewitz won the Agatha Award for Best Novel. While the story of a heroine trying to solve a murder to save her family and business is a common one, Budewitz does it in quite a thrilling way to leave the reader turning the page in anticipation of what happens next.

If you like any culinary mystery novel, then this is one of the best out there. Written in the style of Jesse Ashworth, Stephen Stanley, or Goldy Schults, Ann Budewitz gives the book a local feel and creates a connection with the reader that no other writer in the genre does. Set in a fictional town, the author develops a setting and paints it so clearly that you can almost picture yourself walk with Erin through the town’s streets as she tries to solve her mystery. She also throws in some titillating food imagery and engaging character, all of which combine to make for one awesome page-turner.

Summary of Crime Rib by Leslie Ann Budewitz

Erin Murphy the owner of Gourmet food market is determined to get some national attention to Jewel Bay, the town that makes Montana’s finest cuisine. Her plans to become some type of culinary celebrity are extinguished when a murder rudely steps in to ruin everyone’s day.

One of the most popular cooking shows on national TV Food Preneurs has just agreed to feature Jewel Bay in its next screening. There is not a single person in town not preparing their close-ups, including all the staff at Glacier Mercantile alias the Merc. Erin is the busiest of all, engaged in remodeling her backyard to make it into a relaxing dining area. This is the place where Jewel Bay’s best chefs are going to go head to head in a steak cooking competition to be aired on the next episode of the TV program.

Her plans go pear shaped when one of the cooks that is to feature in the cookout turns up dead. With all the preparations for the TV episode, finding out who had or did not have a motive to kill the top contestant is going to be hard. To save the town’s reputation from being torn to shreds on national TV, Erin has to take action by grilling everyone she can think of, until she gets to the bottom of the murder.

One of the best things about the novel is that Budewitz is very skillful in making you imagine all that excellent cuisine in Jewel Bay and feel like all you need to do is go to Montana. The spreadsheet she makes for the murder suspect resonates a lot if you are one for the logical detective mystery thrillers. She lists down all the classic detective procedures we have come to expect in such scenarios such as motive, weapon, and opportunity. She then proceeds to solve them one by one, which makes for some interesting reading.

Book Series In Order » Authors » Leslie Ann Budewitz