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. Dianne B.Septem