The Solace of Bay Leaves

Seventh Street: Prometheus. (Spice Shop, Bk. 5). Oct. 2020. 248p. ISBN 9781645060178. pap. $15.95. M
Pepper Reece and her best friend, Kristen, are on a double date in Seattle’s Jazz Alley when they each receive a text from widow Laurel Halloran asking them to come to her houseboat, where the police are waiting. Laurel’s husband, Patrick, an assistant U.S. attorney, was murdered three years earlier, shot in their home, and the police and the FBI are still investigating. Now, there’s been another shooting with the same gun in the same neighborhood. Maddie Petrosian, a developer who went to school with Pepper and Kristen, is in the hospital in a coma. Pepper, the owner of the Spice Shop in the Pike Place Market, has been accidentally involved in enough investigations in the last year that the police expect she’ll look into this one. Even while Pepper runs her business and pries into neighborhood secrets that could have led to the murders, she examines her own feelings in this complex, well-developed mystery.
VERDICT The character-driven mystery by the award-winning author of Death al Dente is darker than many cozies. Readers attracted to unusual settings and mature, introspective amateur sleuths will appreciate this intricately plotted story depicting the impact of murder on the family and community.
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