Author Guest Post-To Eat or Not to Eat, That is the Question
If I have a patron saint, it is surely Julia Child. After all, it was St. Julia of Child who famously said, “People who love to eat are always the best people.” I like that quote so much that I used it to open A Side of Murder, the first in the Cape Cod Foodie mystery series. It is, in fact, a clue. If a character doesn’t love to eat, you might want to pay attention. It doesn’t mean they’re the villain of the piece. But it just might mean that maybe they aren’t the best people.
After all, our heroine, Samantha Barnes, loves, loves, loves to eat. Sam was once an up-and-coming New York chef until an unfortunate YouTube video went viral. So she retreats home to Cape Cod, where she finds herself with a falling down house (not great), a ginormous puppy (also not great) and a job writing restaurant reviews (TOTALLY great). Unfortunately, on her very first assignment, she promptly finds a dead body. Not that it puts her off her food. It takes a lot to put Sam off her food.
Sam also finds herself attracted to two very different men. How will she decide? Here’s another clue: One swoons over her thin and crispy chocolate chip cookies. The other eats egg white omelettes.
Here is Sam with Bachelor #1, harbor master Jason Captiva, on a boating picnic:
I began pulling the chicken and coleslaw out of the cooler as Jason tossed the anchor over. Aunt Ida’s kitchen hadn’t run to plastic forks or paper plates for the slaw (I wasn’t worried about the chicken. Everybody knows fried chicken should be eaten with your fingers), so I’d put in two blue willow salad plates and two monogrammed silver forks.
Jason raised his eyebrows a bit. “Pretty fancy.”
“Here,” I said, grinning at him and pulling out a roll of paper towels. “I had hoped for monogrammed napkins, too, but this was the best I could come up with.”
“A shame,” he said. “Really lowers the tone.”
We ate in companionable silence, wiping our greasy fingers on the paper towels and taking deep gulps of lemonade. As we bobbed quietly under the dome of the sky, the crystal water and shining dunes in the distance glowing in that clear light that you only get on the Cape, it seemed to me that we could have been the only two people on earth. I wanted to hold the moment, savor it. Maybe, like, forever.
It is a scientific fact that men are immune to atmosphere.
While I was going all poetic, Jason was pushing his plate away and reaching for the cookies. “Oh, man,” he said, munching happily. “I haven’t had a homemade chocolate chip cookie in I don’t know when.”
And here is Sam with Bachelor #2, real estate developer Trey Gorman, at the local diner:
Thursday morning dawned clear and brisk. I was looking forward to meeting Trey for breakfast at Nellie’s Kitchen.
As I pushed open the door to Nellie’s, I could have sworn Trey gulped when he saw me come into the diner dressed more for cocktails than pancakes.
“Wow, you look great!”
I looked down at my outfit as if to say “What this old thing?” “Thanks,” I said breezily, batting my mascara at him. “You look great, too.”
Which was true. He was wearing a pair of pretty darn tight jeans and a crisp white cotton shirt casually rolled up at the cuffs. My eyes somehow got snagged on the golden hair on his forearms, and I had to pull them away like reluctant toddlers in front of an ice cream store.
“I’m starving,” I announced, plopping myself down on the red pleather seat of the stool next to his.
“I’m starving, too,” Trey said meaningfully. It was a good line. The problem was I’d never much gone for guys with good lines. Uh‑oh. What had I gotten myself into?
I ordered a nice big stack of banana and walnut pancakes with bacon on the side. Trey ordered an egg white omelet.
“That’s what you eat when you’re starving?” I asked, dabbing at the melted butter and maple syrup dripping down my chin with a paper napkin manifestly inadequate for the job.
He nodded. “No red meat, no dairy, no carbs, no sugar.”
I wasn’t sure how to respond to someone for whom food was the enemy. Food was my friend. What do you turn to when you can’t turn to a grilled cheese sandwich?
“Well, good,” I said finally. “That leaves more for me.”
I mean, really, which would you choose?
About A Side of Murder
A Side of Murder (A Cape Cod Foodie Mystery)
1st in Series
Publisher: Berkley (February 23, 2021)
Mass Market Paperback: 320 pages
Digital ASIN: B087PL9HHF
Beautiful Cape Cod, Massachusetts, is known for seafood, sand, surf and now … murder.
Samantha Barnes was always a foodie. And when the CIA (that’s the Culinary Institute of America) came calling, she happily traded in Cape Cod for the Big Apple. But then the rising young chef’s clash with another chef (her ex!) boils over and goes viral. So when Sam inherits a house on the Cape and lands a job writing restaurant reviews, it seems like the perfect pairing. What could go wrong? Well, as it turns out, a lot.
The dilapidated house comes with an enormous puppy. Her new boss is, well, bossy. And the town’s harbor master is none other than her first love. Nonetheless, Sam’s looking forward to reviewing the Bayview Grill—and indeed the seafood chowder is divine. But the body in the pond outside the eatery was not on the menu. Sam is certain this is murder. But as she begins to stir the pot, is she creating a recipe for her own untimely demise?
“Cape Cod provides a stunning background for a debut that offers the ideal combination of mystery, romance, and recipes.” Kirkus Reviews
“An exquisite Cape Cod setting, a shamed but resilient chef, murderous secrets, and a long-buried but still steaming romance… Amy Pershing’s debut mystery will leave you longing for a seaside vacation, complete with fried clams and the next book in her charming series.” Lucy Burdette, national bestselling author of THE KEY LIME CRIME
“This is one of the freshest, funniest murder mysteries I’ve ever read. I fell absolutely in love with Samantha Barnes — the brave, sarcastic, crime-solving, relatable heroine we’ve all been waiting for. A Side of Murder is a rich, satisfying meal that delights from beginning to end, and Amy Pershing is a wonderful and clever author.” Elizabeth Gilbert, #1 New York Times bestselling author of EAT PRAY LOVE and CITY OF GIRLS
“A delicious mystery lovingly set in Cape Cod featuring a cast of charming characters. Amy Pershing writes with a fresh fun voice that will delight cozy fans. Chef turned restaurant critic Samantha Barnes proves a clever sleuth whose helpful cooking tips will be a big hit with culinary readers.” Krista Davis, New York Times bestselling author of the DOMESTIC DIVA mysteries
About Amy Pershing
Amy Pershing is a lifelong mystery lover and wordsmith who spent every summer of her childhood on Cape Cod. In her previous incarnations she was an assistant editor at Viking Penguin, a restaurant reviewer for Playbill magazine’s Restaurant Reporter, and a journalist at the Rome (Italy) Daily American before eventually going on to lead employee communications at a global bank. A few years ago (with the final college tuition bill paid), she waved goodbye to Wall Street in order to write full time (and spend more time sailing on Cape Cod!). A Side of Murder is the first book in the Cape Cod Foodie mystery series featuring Samantha Barnes, a disgraced but resilient ex-chef and the world’s most reluctant YouTube star. While Sam tries to balance her new job as the local paper’s “Cape Cod Foodie” with her complicated love life, a posse of just-slightly-odd friends, a falling-down house and a ginormous puppy, she also discovers a new talent – a propensity for falling over dead bodies … and for solving crime.
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