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Honestly, this talk about ghosts is a little overblown, don’t you think?

If any house should be haunted, it would be the one I grew up in—a rundown mansion on Seattle’s Capitol Hill owned by my friend Kristen’s family. Her great-grandparents built it, and she and her family live there now—after an attic-to-cellar redo that made the local papers and no doubt chased away any spectral forces still in residence. My family lived there, too, until the summer she and I turned twelve. I never saw any unexplained swirling mists except when the radiator went kaput. Flickering lights, yes, but the place had knob-and-tube wiring. Odd noises, sure, but what would you expect from a communal household with four adults, five kids, and who knows how many friends coming and going for meetings, meals, and meditation practice?

So when my staff and even my customers started speculating about a ghost in the Spice Shop building, I put an end to it. The Pike Place Market does have a well-documented history of hauntings: Jacob, the young boy who hung around the bead shop after hours, sorting the beads into his own peculiar patterns, cadging coins and bits of paper. Legend says he’s one of the orphaned stable boys who worked in the Market after its founding in 1907, in exchange for food, a blanket, and a place to sleep. There’s Arthur Goodwin, nephew of one of the founders, who is often seen in the windows of the Economy Market Building, dancing in his black suit and top hat. And of course, ghost hunters still prowl for spirits in the Butterworth Building, once a notorious mortuary rumored to—well, we’ll just let those rumors be. I like to sleep at night, and so do you.

I’m a practical woman. I keep an open mind. But no one has ever documented a ghost, a spirit, a specter, a haunting in my building. And I don’t think they ever will. There’s no proof that anyone ever died here, except the man who was killed outside our door last fall, and I don’t think he’d be coming back to haunt us.

The only ghosts I believe in are ghost peppers—bhut capsicum, in botanical speak. Hotter than blazes. “Bhut” is Hindi for ghost—maybe because they make you see things. So hot, I don’t let my employees touch ’em—I bag the devils myself. Got a speck on an eyelash once, and wanted to stick my head in a tub of cold water and leave it there.

But we have no ghosts.

I just wish I knew why the red silk lamp in the corner dims and glows and dims again—and no one can see it but me.

GUILTY AS CINNAMON (Spice Shop Mystery #2,

on the shelves December 1, from Berkley Prime Crime)

Pepper Reece knows that fiery flavors are the spice of life. But when a customer dies of a chili overdose, she finds herself in hot pursuit of a murderer…

From the cover …

 Murder heats up Seattle’s Pike Place Market in the next Spice Shop mystery from the national bestselling author of Assault and Pepper.

Springtime in Seattle’s Pike Place Market means tasty foods and wide-eyed tourists, and Pepper’s Seattle 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…

About the author

Leslie Budewitz is the author of the Food Lovers’ Village Mysteries and the Spice Shop Mysteries—and the first author to win Agatha Awards for both fiction and nonfiction. She fell in love with the Pike Place Market as a college student in Seattle, and still makes regular pilgrimages. The president of Sisters in Crime, she lives in northwest Montana with her husband, a musician and doctor of natural medicine, and their cat Ruff, a cover model and avid bird-watcher. Connect with her through her website and blog, www.LeslieBudewitz.com, or on Facebook, www.Facebook.com/LeslieBudewitzAuthor

Series: Spice Shop Mysteries (Book 2)

Mass Market Paperback: 304 pages

Publisher: Berkley (December 1, 2015)

ISBN-10: 042527179X

ISBN-13: 978-0425271797