Intrepid Erin Murphy brings her detecting skills to bear when the jazz festival’s headlining guitarist is murdered in Leslie Budewitz’s latest mystery.
The Bigfork author’s descriptions are so true-to-life, I can almost taste the strawberry-rhubarb freezer jam and hear the wailing notes of the guitars (recipes provided, musical scores not). She sneaks in plenty of puns too, like “errors of outrageous footing,” while her nosy murder-solver gets busy in the quaint village of Jewel Bay.
Side stories continue from previous adventures, and quirky characters abound as the author unveils more family history. But thanks to skillful storytelling, first-time readers won’t have to backtrack to enjoy this one.
Jewel Bay certainly resembles Bigfork, minus the parking problems. Anyone familiar with the little burg at the north end of Flathead Lake will have fun figuring out the actual names of some of her settings along the shores of Eagle Lake. Budewitz uses the story to make a good case for retailer cooperation – just like Bigfork has accomplished.
I look forward to Erin Murphy’s next mystery and would cheerfully invite even the villains in for a glass of locally brewed beer and something crunchy.
Budewitz, who is also an attorney, received the 2011 Agatha Award for Best Nonfiction for her guide for writers, Books, Crooks & Counselors: How to Write Accurately About Criminal Law and Courtroom Procedure. She claimed a second Agatha for Best First Novel in 2013 for Death al Dente. Her other series, the Spice Shop Mysteries, is set in Seattle, where she practiced law for several years.
Treble at the Jam Fest is the fourth book in A Food Lovers’ Village Series. Bring on number five Leslie!
– LK Willis