Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Book Club Week! Party-Perfect Artichoke Dip #bookclubweek #bookgiveaway

by Leslie Budewitz

Welcome, readers – whether you’re bookclubbed or not!

Leave a comment for a chance to win a signed copy of BUTTER OFF DEAD!

When DEATH AL DENTE, my first mystery and first in the Food Lovers’ Village Mysteries, came out in August 2015, I went to my first book club meeting as an author. What a treat! The Mystery Book Club at Glacier County Library in Cutbank, Montana (population 2,987) welcomed me with a scarecrow chalkboard sign, custom bookmarks, a read-alike display—and in a terrific compliment I did not expect, the food from my book.

In the two years since, every book club I’ve attended, in a library or a private home, has served the recipes from my book. And that’s perfect, because each Food Lovers’ Mystery features a festival—a summer kickoff called the Festa di Pasta, a steak grill-off, and a foodie film festival—and the recipe section is designed so that readers can recreate the festival food at home. And in my Spice Shop Mysteries, Pepper and her pals meet every Tuesday for movie night—an excuse to eat and chat. And yes, I share their recipes.

Because what’s the point of reading foodie fiction if you can’t taste it yourself?

After that first book club experience, I’ve been careful to include finger food and other treats a hostess can easily make and serve. Filet with Huckleberry-Morel Sauce might work for some book clubs, but if yours is like mine, Huckleberry Chocolate Mousse and Spiced Glazed Nuts are better choices!

Here’s the scoop on my latest, BUTTER OFF DEAD (July 2015):

From the cover: “As the national bestselling Food Lovers’ Village mysteries continue, the merchants of Jewel Bay, Montana try to heat up chilly winter business with a new film festival. But their plans are sent reeling when a dangerous killer dims the lights on a local mover and shaker …

In an attempt to woo tourists to Jewel Bay and cheer up the townies, Erin Murphy, manager of the specialty local foods market known as the Merc, is organizing the First Annual Food Lovers’ Film Festival, popping with classic foodie flicks and local twists on favorite movie treats. But when her partner in planning, painter Christine Vandeberg, is found dead only days before the curtain rises, Erin suspects someone is attempting to stop the films from rolling.

To make matters worse, Nick—Erin’s brother and Christine’s beau—has top billing on the suspect list. Convinced her brother is innocent and determined that the show must go on, Erin must find who’s really to blame before Nick gets arrested or the festival gets shut down. And as the anniversary of Erin’s father’s death in a still-unsolved hit-and-run approaches, her own beau isn’t so keen on her leading role.
But the closer Erin gets to shining a spotlight on the killer, the more likely it becomes that she’ll be the next person cut from the program…”

The Billings Outpost called it “A tasty treat. ... The character development is top notch, and Erin is a truly likable heroine.”

BUTTER is the third in the Food Lovers’ Village Mysteries, but readers assure me it stands alone, and say they weren’t at all confused by starting with the third in the series. (Even better, some then read the first two!) I think any of the three makes a great choice for a book club because of the mother-daughter theme running through the series, the struggle over visions for the family business, which will be familiar to many readers, and the setting in NW Montana, near Glacier National Park.

And, of course, the food.

A few questions to spark the discussion in your book club:

1. Erin and Christine create the Food Lovers’ Film Festival to stir up a dash of mid-winter fun. Do you have a favorite food-related movie? Is there a food-related scene from a movie that sticks in your memory and always makes you laugh—or cry, or get hungry? Have you ever been inspired to recreate a dish you’ve seen in a movie?

2. A theme of BUTTER is the drive to collect. Do you have the collector gene? What’s the oddest collection you’ve seen? The most intriguing? The thing you tossed years ago that you wish you’d saved?

3. For years, Tom Murphy’s unsolved death has haunted his family—and it turns out, others in the community as well. Did the resolution surprise you? What does the incident say about perception, misunderstanding, and grief?

And a question for you:
I’ve been in a book club where the group chose the books and another where that month’s hostess chose the book. How does your club choose? Pros and cons? What book that you loved would you not have discovered without your book club?

Leave a comment, including your email address, by eight a.m Mountain, Thurs, Sept. 17, to be entered for a chance to win a signed copy of BUTTER OFF DEAD. If you’d like bookmarks for your book club, send me your land mail address and how many you need, at leslie at lesliebudewitz dot com

And besides the mousse and nuts, your book club might enjoy Erin’s Huckleberry Martinis or Margaritas, or her Jewel Bay Critter Crunch, both from BUTTER OFF DEAD.

This recipe isn’t in any of my books yet, but when Mr. Right and I are asked to bring an appetizer, this is our go-to. People always compliment me—but he’s the one who makes it! A secret of success: We bake it just before we leave home, and wrap the dish in a towel so it’s still warm when we arrive.

Mr. Right’s Party-Perfect Artichoke Dip

1 cup marinated artichokes (1 jar), in oil, chopped
1 cup shredded Parmesan
1 cup (scant) mayonnaise

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Mix ingredients in an 8 or 9 inch glass pie plate or square glass baking dish.

Spread smooth. Bake for 30 minutes, until golden brown. Serve warm with a basket of baguette slices, tortilla chips, or toasted pita chips. (Oops! I was so excited to eat the goop---as we call any dip at our house---that I forgot to take a picture of the baked dip before we'd eaten 2/3 of it. I promise, you'll understand after one bite.)

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 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 on her website or on Facebook.


  1. kat8762@aol.com. I haven't found a book club that sparks my interest. I am entering Year 2 of my retirement and have a different schedule, or should I say no schedule, and many friends are unable to really commit. So, I enjoy posting reviews on various sites, and texting the authors. Fun!

  2. I really love going to my cozy mystery book club. We read a lot of great books, eat great food and laugh a lot. For our Christmas meeting everyone brings a dish from a cozy mystery.

    gibsonbk at hiwaay dot net

  3. The Artichoke Dip looks interesting (I can not recall ever eating artichokes). Thank you for sharing the recipe and the giveaway!

  4. I love artichoke dip. This recipes looks delicious.

    My last book club was not a cozy mystery club so I think I missed out on some fun. The food was always about chocolate and wine, and the hostess selected the book, the food and ran the meetings like the schoolteacher she was. Very educational but not too much fun. I think it would be great to discuss a book while sampling recipes from it.

    Thanks for the giveaway. Great series, both of them.

  5. I love the title! Hope to get a chance to read this first in the series book :)
    jslbrown2009 at aol dot com

  6. I belong to a mystery readers' group and we've been meeting for 24 yrs. We bring treats to share at each meeting, so there is always food. We don't discuss a particular book, as a rule, an author so each person can read the book of his/her choice from that author. I haven't read the Food Series but have read the Spice series. Enjoy the spice series a great deal as have learned a lot about spices. dbahn@iw.net

    1. 24 years? Wow, Dianne, that's fabulous! Interesting format, to discuss different books rather than one the entire group has read.

  7. Our book club is fluid - people read books from our Little Free Library, bring them back and we have impromptu meeting! cheers@marjimmanor.com

  8. The dip sounds good but I couldn't eat it because of the cheese.
    sgiden at verizon(.)net

  9. This looks really good! stclairck@gmail.com

  10. I love the fact that you forgot to take the pic before eating - that is exactly what I would do, too - lol! It looks yummy, and I look forward to trying it. :-) nicolev.girldetective@gmail.com

    1. I won't tell you how often Mr. Right has to tell me "what about the camera?" when we're testing a recipe for a book!

  11. I wouldn't refuse the filet with huckleberry morel sauce, but the mousse and nuts would be mighty fine, too.
    I can see why the goop is so popular--it's rather like fettuccine Alfredo. Lethally good!
    libbydodd at comcast dot net

  12. Fun to hear about your book clubs -- and the food! Keep those comments coming!

  13. There is talk of our neighborhood organizing a book club, and I think that would be great. Currently, my book club participation is online groups. Thanks for the giveaway! dmskrug3(at)hotmail(dot)com

  14. There are no book clubs around my area. I love that there are recipes at the back of the book. I love to cook and finding new recipes for my family to try and to take to gatherings.
    Can't wait to read this book.
    I find new books and authors via emails, Facebook, Twitter. I've found so many authors and books this way.

  15. Wow I think that is a great recipe as i have tasted it but never had the recipe for making it. I can't wait to read this book sounds so good like the recipe . ptclayton2@aol.com

  16. Love anything with artichokes, so this is very tempting! Not in a book club yet,but hope to explore that possibility when I retire in a little over a year from now.I think Mr.Right needs to travel the country making terrific recipes like this artichoke goop for book club members everywhere! (Of course, you would have to come along and do research for a traveling mystery series!)

    1. Excellent ideas all around!

      The funny thing about him making this recipe is that I introduced him to it when we were dating; he started making it on his own, and now it's one of his signature dishes! (He created the filet with huckleberry morel sauce in CRIME RIB, too!)

  17. I feel like I read too slow to be part of a book club so I've not tried it. But since I read different books than all but one of my friends, it would be nice to have someone to talk to that is genuinely interested instead of boring my husband. haha.

    1. Some book clubs are pretty insistent that members actually read and finish the book, others are more flexible. Maybe you can put together a group that meets your needs. And serves good food!

  18. I'm stashing this recipe away until my artichoke-loving friend visits. She'll be so thrilled!

  19. I don't belong to a book club. I love the scene in Mrs. Doubtfire where she is cooking and her blouse catches on fire. The use of the pan lids to smother it is hilarious. I would love to be able to read this book. robeader53@yahoo.com

  20. One of my favorite dips. Yum. I do hope to visit Glacier soon. No book clubs for me. I do share bookmarks with library, friends and family. bobbipad@gmail.com

  21. Thank you for this wonderful giveaway! Having recently moved into a new neighborhood and just getting to know my neighbors, there has been talk of forming a book club wherein the hostess would choose the book. pattie.tierney@gmail.com

  22. Thanks for the chance to win. I have never been in a book club, due to schedule, etc. Would love to win. janngrogan@yahoo.com

  23. Culinary cozies are my favorite! I was in a mother-daughter book club when my daughter was in elementary school. One of my cherished memories! Thanks for the giveaway. Fingers crossed!
    Scouts579 (at) aol (dot) com