Murder is bad for business in a Montana town that depends on the tourist trade.
Visitors who come to Jewel Bay for the stunning natural setting on a large lake and events like the annual Jazz Festival and Workshop spend their money at specialty shops like the Merc, where Erin Murphy sells everything from homemade jam and candy to pottery and jewelry. Always happy to support anything that will increase her bottom line, Erin is hosting a pre-festival party in the courtyard she shares with Red’s Bar. The food and drink are a hit. So is well-known guitarist Gerry Martin, whose set with his student Gabrielle Drake and local Dave Barber is a crowd pleaser. But Erin sees some nasty undercurrents during the performance. So when her boyfriend, Adam Zimmerman, and his best friend, Tanner Lundquist, find Gerry’s body in the river the next day, she’s not all that surprised. Tanner actually saw someone push Gerry off a nearby cliff but was too far away to identify the culprit. Erin, who’s had prior experience with murder (Butter Off Dead, 2015, etc.), decides to do a little sleuthing on her own. At least it will give her a break from the turmoil in her own life, from her mother’s impending remarriage to Adam's announcement that Tanner’s leukemia has returned. Erin soon learns that Gerry had a lot of enemies, both professional and private. But which of them could have been desperate enough to resort to murder?
The fourth entry in Budewitz’s series is a pleasing read with a thoughtful heroine, a plethora of red herrings, and some foodie tips though nothing to set it above many another culinary cozy.