New York chef Samantha Barnes is an unintentional YouTube star, thanks to an argument that got way out of hand (giving a whole new meaning to ‘flipping the finger’). She needs to get out of town for while, and as luck would have it, she’s just inherited her Aunt Ida’s run-down house on Cape Cod and the biggest puppy in town, punfully named Diogi. She’s also been handed the tasty job of writing restaurant reviews for the Cape Cod Clarion. What, as they say, could possibly go wrong? But when Sam discovers the body of a locally-infamous retired waitress floating just outside the Bayview Grill, the plot thickens faster than cornstarch in gravy.
Author Amy Pershing combines foodie fun with small town life in a boiling pot of intrigue. A Side of Murder is peppered with eccentric locals, quirky-fun friends—and teenage Sam’s romantic crush, now all grown up.
I will admit that after a year of living in Covid-induced isolation, I enjoyed living vicariously through Sam and her friends. I envied her intimate dinner parties, warm hugs and other instances of meaningful (and sometimes malevolent!) human contact.
The plot certainly has a lots of twists and turns, and there’s plenty of action, both on land and sea. The author hasn’t scrimped on descriptive prose either—If I could walk into this little Cap Cod community for real, everything would seem familiar. The story is told from a Sam-centric point of view, unfolding through her eyes and mind. We are eavesdroppers on her hopes, fears, memories, emotions, and thought-processes.
This first venture into what will become the Cape Cod Foodie Mystery Series will appeal to anyone who’s in touch with their inner Nancy Drew—and Julia Child. I enjoyed the little cooking tips sprinkled throughout the story, and I know I’ll be trying the recipe for Beach Shack Onion Rings, one of three recipes enjoyed by characters in the story and included for the readers. I’ll serve them with a good bottle of chardonnay, of course.
Thank you to author Amy Pershing, NetGalley, and Berkley Publishing Group for allowing me to read a digital advance review copy of this book. This review is my honest and unbiased opinion.