Death Al Dente (Food Lovers' Village Series #1)

Death Al Dente (Food Lovers' Village Series #1)

by Leslie Budewitz

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The town of Jewel Bay, Montana—known as a Food Lovers' Village—is obsessed with homegrown and homemade Montana fare. So when Erin Murphy takes over her family’s century-old general store, she turns it into a boutique market filled with local delicacies. But Erin’s freshly booming business might go rotten when a former employee turns up dead…

Murphy’s Mercantile, known as the Merc, has been a staple in Jewel Bay for over a hundred years. To celebrate their recent makeover as a gourmet food market, Erin has organized a town festival, Festa di Pasta, featuring the culinary goods of Jewel Bay’s finest—including her mother Fresca’s delicious Italian specialties.

But Erin’s sweet success is soured when the shop’s former manager, Claudette, is found dead behind the Merc on the Festa’s opening night. With rival chef James Angelo stirring up rumors that Fresca’s sauce recipes were stolen from Claudette, Erin’s mother is under close scrutiny. Now Erin will have to hunt down some new suspects, or both her family and her store might wind up in hot water…


Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780425259542
Publisher: Penguin Publishing Group
Publication date: 08/06/2013
Series: Food Lovers' Village Series , #1
Pages: 304
Sales rank: 191,081
Product dimensions: 6.70(w) x 4.20(h) x 0.80(d)
Age Range: 18 Years

About the Author

Leslie Budewitz is passionate about food, great mysteries, and her native Montana. A writer and a lawyer, her first book, Books, Crooks and Counselors: How to Write Accurately About Criminal Law and Courtroom Procedure, won the 2011 Agatha Award for Best Nonfiction and was nominated for the 2012 Anthony and Macavity awards. Leslie loves to cook, eat, hike, travel, garden, and paint—not necessarily in that order. She lives in northwest Montana with her husband, Don Beans, a doctor of natural medicine, and their Burmese cat, Ruff, an avid bird-watcher.

What People are Saying About This

From the Publisher

“Small-town charm and big-time chills. Jewel Bay, Montana, is a food lover’s paradise—and ground zero for murder! A dizzying culinary delight with a twisty-turny plot! I’m totally enamored of Leslie Budewitz’s huckleberry chocolates, Shasta daisies, and Cowboy Roast coffee.”—Laura Childs, New York Times bestselling author

“An intriguing sleuth who loves gourmet food, family, and her hometown, plus recipes to die for distinguish a delectable mystery.”—Carolyn Hart, national bestselling author of Dead, White, and Blue

“Clever, charming, and completely yummy. Leslie Budewitz cooks up a delectable mystery! A tempting concoction of food, fun, and fatalities that will have you racing through the suspenseful pages…then heading for the kitchen to try out the irresistible recipes. More please!”—Hank Phillippi Ryan, Agatha, Anthony, and Macavity award-winning author

“The first book in a delicious new series. Leslie Budewitz has created a believable, down-to-earth heroine in Erin Murphy, who uses her sleuthing skills and the Spreadsheet of Suspicion to catch a killer. The supporting cast of characters, from Erin’s mother, Fresca to her cat, Sandburg, are charming. I’m looking forward to my next visit to Jewel Bay.”—Sofie Kelly, bestselling author of the Magical Cat Mysteries


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Death Al Dente 4.2 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 20 reviews.
Dollycas More than 1 year ago
Erin Murphy has come home to Jewel Bay to manage the family general store and revitalize it by providing what the community wants, products made in Montana. She even convinces the town to add a festival to start the summer season, Festa di Pasta. She chairs the committee and organizes the first evening’s party featuring the culinary goods of Jewel Bay’s finest—including her mother Fresca’s delicious Italian specialties. The party takes an awful turn when a woman is found dead behind the store just outside a gate where the party is being held. The woman, Claudette, is a former employee of Fresca’s, who left town recently with a married man. Rumors start to fly. Fingers are pointed. People start to take sides. Erin’s friend Kim is the officer in charge of the investigation. Erin can’t believe Kim actually thinks Fresca is the prime suspect. Erin decides to do a little investigating of her own. She better be careful or she could be the killer’s next target… Dollycas’s Thoughts Glacier Mercantile (The Merc) sounds like a perfect small town store going through some growing pains as Fresca still wants to do things her way and Erin is trying to modernize both the store itself and the bookkeeping. Change is always hard. A murder certainly adds some unneeded pressure to the situation. I have to say Erin is a wonderful protagonist. She has layers that are just starting to be revealed. She couldn’t wait to leave Jewel Bay behind a few years ago but working side by side with her mom is just the place she needs to be now. She is excited about the opportunity to use what she learned as a buyer for a huge grocery chain to make The Merc and the other shops in Jewel Bay a place were locals and tourists will want to shop. The author has surrounded her with an eclectic group of supporting characters. Fresca’s recipes will make your mouth drool!! Erin’s friend Kim is in a bind trying to stay impartial. I think she is going to have that problem a lot because with cozy mysteries you know the next book is going to put Erin in the middle of another crime. Tracy works at The Merc and sure loves her Diet Pepsi and she keeps a can right on the counter next to the register. Diet Pepsi is not a home grown product so it drives Erin crazy. I can’t wait to get to know her better. Several other Jewel Bay residents were introduced to us readers as well. Budewitz has also written a great mystery. There were clever twists that keep me engaged. It is hard to to delve deep into a whodunit and lay the proper foundation for stories going forward but this author has pulled it off. I can’t wait to shop again at The Merc!!
PamMcC More than 1 year ago
When Erin Murphy comes home to help her mom, Fresca, by managing the Merc (Murphy’s Mercantile), she has a lot of ideas to bring the shop up-to-date. She’s working to involve the surrounding shops to bring the best in local foods and goods to the community and the tourists who come to Jewel Bay, Montana for something unusual and tasty. On the opening night of the Festa, where great food, music, and community are gathering, a former employee of the Merc shows up dead. Rumors point to Erin’s mother and it looks like the local law enforcement is following up, so Erin investigates on her own. This is the first in a series and introduces colorful characters with interesting backgrounds. It will interest the reader to know that author, Leslie Budewitz, shares some background with her characters. This was a very enjoyable audio book and is also in print.
Carstairs38 More than 1 year ago
Erin Murphy is back home in Jewel Bay, Montana, to help run the family general store. She's helping run a new event to help bring tourists to town, but it gets off to a rough start with a family friend is found murdered behind the shop on opening night. Who could have done it? This debut just wasn't quite ready. While Erin and a few core characters are well developed, the rest of the cast is fairly flat. Likewise, the plot moved forward in fits and starts, although there were some interesting twists. Overall average, and I'll think hard before I continue on to the next one.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is a wonderful book! Hard to put down, ignore your family, forget to wash clothes, read until your eyes are closing kind of book. Great recipes too!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I loved the characters, the story, and the RECIPES!!
BeagleGirl123 More than 1 year ago
I "read" this via Audible. Nicely narrated by Rebecca Mitchell, Death al Dente is the first book in Leslie Budewitz' Food Lovers' Village series. Set in Jewel Bay, Montana, Erin Murphy has returned home to run her family's store, the Merc, when her mother's friend and former employee, Claudette, is found dead the first evening of the inaugural Festa di Pasta, and Erin must investigate to clear her mother's name. Clear, concise mystery, and very well-written, I really enjoyed it and am looking forward to the next book, which I'm downloading even as I type this! 5 stars!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Interesting characters, nice mystery, some humor and dialog that's mouth watering!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
aLibrarian More than 1 year ago
I loved this book - the plot and setting were not only believable, but completely engaging. All the characters seemed like real people, and I really appreciated the one Hmong character thrown in (such an underrepresented population), even though he was really just a side character. My one (quite small) complaint was there were enough characters that I would have appreciated a character guide in the beginning, just so I could remember who ran which store and was related to whom. . . but I'm also a tired teacher the last month of school so it's probably just me.
Chuck56 More than 1 year ago
Good enough, though very slow developing plot and characters. A nice read if you have time to kill.
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CheliD More than 1 year ago
Erin Murphy comes home to Jewel Bay to help her mother and shortly after her return convinces the local merchants to plan a festival to start the summer season - Festa di Pasta. The inaugural event is marred when a returning resident is found dead in the alley behind the party. It doesn't help Erin that the person was her mother's former employee who left with a married man. Fingers start to point in all directions - Erin's mother for possibly being angry a being left in the lurch, the married man, the angry wife - but the police seemed to think that Erin's mother is the prime suspect. Enlisting her friends and family to help find the answers, Erin delves into the secrets of the town to clear her mother. I love the character of Erin who is trying not only to help her mother but also her hometown - working to utilize and sell homegrown items as much as possible. The author has woven a clever mystery while at the same time introduced us to some very interesting characters.
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This has become one of my favorite cozy mysteries. I love the town folk, the family dynamics and the main characters. I am now off to read the second book in this series.
Curlyqsusie More than 1 year ago
This was a cute easy read murder mystery. I know I will enjoy the 2nd one when it is released.