The Ghost and the Candelabra

By Leslie Budewitz

Assault and Pepperin my new mystery series, the Seattle Spice Shop Mysteries — debuting in March 2015 from Berkley Prime Crime, with ASSAULT & PEPPER — questions of ghosts flit around the plot and characters like a mist off Puget Sound. In writing ASSAULT & PEPPER and its sequel, tentatively titled GUILTY AS CINNAMON, I’ve been recalling real life ghost stories I’ve heard over the years.

My favorite is this: My friend Cath suffered from several health conditions that at times put her on crutches or in a wheel chair. During a time when she had good mobility, she bought an older home on Seattle’s Capitol Hill and set about remodeling it. Flanking the fireplace in the living room were sconces with detachable electric “candles.” Cath noticed that one or both were regularly turned upside down. During an extended health challenge, she was on crutches. Several times, she dragged herself over to the fireplace and righted the sconces, only to find them turned upside down again. After a few weeks of this, she finally decided she had a ghost, and it was time for a talk. “Look,” she said, “I’m on crutches.The lights don’t work when you mess with them, and fixing them is a real pain. A real pain. You don’t have to leave — just stop messing with the sconces.”

ghosts2She never did figure out who her ghost was — but the lights never went out again.


LESLIE BUDEWITZ is the author of the Food Lovers’ Village Mysteries (Death al Dente, winner of the 2013 Agatha Award for Best First Novel, and Crime Rib, July 2014) and the forthcoming Seattle Spice Shop Mysteries, starting with Assault & Pepper in March 2015, both published by Berkley Prime Crime/Penguin Random House. Visit her online at, on Facebook as Leslie Budewitz Author, or on Twitter, @LeslieBudewitz.

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