Welcome to my stop on the Great Escapes Virtual Book Tour for A Side of Murder (A Cape Cod Foodie Mystery) by Amy Pershing. Stop by each blog on the tour for interviews, guest posts, spotlights, reviews and more!
Beautiful Cape Cod, Massachusetts, is known for seafood, sand, surf, and, now…murder.
A Side of Murder (A Cape Cod Foodie Mystery)
by Amy Pershing
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A Side of Murder (A Cape Cod Foodie Mystery)
1st in Series
Publisher: Berkley (February 23, 2021)
Mass Market Paperback: 320 pages
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?
Guest post: Finding the Road to Your Dream (Hint: You’re Probably Already On It)
A few years ago, I said goodbye to the corporate world to write mystery novels. I had no manuscript, no agent, no publisher. All I had – after much soul searching and a firm talking to by my really smart husband — was a conviction that I was finally ready. This wasn’t me going back to travel the road not taken. This was me taking the next turn in the road I had taken.
Early on in A Side of Murder, Samantha Barnes — derailed from her career as a successful young chef in Manhattan and more than a little conflicted about returning to her hometown on Cape Cod — is convinced that she’s wasted the past ten years of her life. But her older and wiser friend Helene is having none of it:
“Don’t be ridiculous,” Helene said briskly as she dried her hands on a kitchen towel. “You did not waste the last ten years of your life. You honed your craft and built a career. You learned about life and you learned about love. You are a better, wiser, more compassionate person for the challenges you’ve faced. You are exactly where you should be, when you should be.”
When I wrote those words, I knew them to be true. Because I had lived them.
I’d always wanted to write mysteries. From my first Nancy Drew, I was hooked. I was lucky to have a mother who understood my addiction, because she shared it. It was my mother who gave me my first Nancy Drew, my first Agatha Christie, my first Sue Grafton.
Maybe someday, I thought, I would write mysteries!
My mother was also a foodie. It was my mother who taught me that you cannot put too much butter on anything and when in doubt, consult Julia Child. She also knew that though reading fed the mind, it was a solitary pursuit. But good food — prepared with love and shared with those you loved — was community.
Maybe someday, I thought, I would write mysteries for foodies!
And it was my mother who every summer packed me and my four siblings (and various dogs and cats) into our Volkswagen bus and drove us to Cape Cod, where we joined our vast – and extremely loud — extended family sailing, swimming, clamming and, of course, eating.
Maybe someday, I thought, I would write foodie mysteries set on Cape Cod!
This dream persisted until I graduated from college, when I quickly realized that writing in a garret does not pay the rent on that garret. Luckily I landed a publishing job in New York, where I learned about plot structure and the hard work that goes into writing a clean sentence.
I also managed to snag an unpaid gig (unless you count all the great free food!) reviewing restaurants under the tutelage of a future Gourmet magazine restaurant critic. From him I learned that food prepared with imagination and respect (and, yes, love) — whether a to-die-for taco or a meltingly tender seared duck breast – is a gift from the chef to you.
Okay, now I had it: A foodie mystery set on Cape Cod starring a chef!
I was all set to go… And then two beautiful little boys changed everything. Nobody, I told myself, ever built up a college fund writing romantic foodie mysteries set on Cape Cod (and I was definitely right about that!).
So I moved into working as a speechwriter and consultant in employee communications, working from home until the boys were in their teens, when I signed on to lead employee communications at a global bank. Life was good, despite the challenges of failing elderly parents and the Great Recession (you remember the Great Recession, right?). But family and food got us through.
And then, with the final college tuition bill paid and our grown sons finding their own lives, I began to fret. Had I put the dream off for too long? I asked my (incredibly understanding) husband. Had I wasted the last 25 years of my life? This is a rotten question to ask your husband after raising two terrific kids and more than two decades of a really fun marriage, but I was counting on that incredibly understanding thing he does.
He looked at me like I was crazy.
“You did not waste the last 25 years of your life,” he said. “You honed your craft and built a career. You fed and nurtured your family. You learned about life and you learned about love. You are a better, wiser, more compassionate person for the challenges you’ve faced. You are exactly where you should be, when you should be.”
And with this blessing, I waved goodbye to the corporate world to write mysteries full time. And not just any mysteries — romantic foodie mysteries set on Cape Cod starring a chef! (Okay, an ex-chef, but still.) It took enormous time and effort, but eventually I had a manuscript, then a wonderful agent, and (thanks to said agent) finally a wonderful publisher.
My advice to others like me, who are finally ready to reach for their dream, whatever it might be? Go for it. You have a wealth of experience to draw from. You are exactly where you should be, when you should be.
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.
Enter the giveaway
A Side of Murder Tour Participants
Ascroft, eh? – CHARACTER INTERVIEW
I’m All About Books – SPOTLIGHT
Maureen’s Musings – SPOTLIGHT
Christy’s Cozy Corners – GUEST POST
I Read What You Write – CHARACTER GUEST POST
The Avid Reader – REVIEW
Moonlight Rendezvous – REVIEW
Sapphyria’s Book Reviews – SPOTLIGHT
Literary Gold – CHARACTER GUEST POST
Books a Plenty Book Reviews – REVIEW
Socrates Book Reviews – SPOTLIGHT
Novels Alive – REVIEW AND GUEST POST
Mysteries with Character – AUTHOR INTERVIEW
Ruff Drafts – RECIPE
Mystery Thrillers and Romantic Suspense Reviews – SPOTLIGHT
My Reading Journeys – REVIEW
Cozy Up With Kathy – REVIEW, AUTHOR INTERVIEW
ebook addicts – SPOTLIGHT
Diane Reviews Books – GUEST POST
Melina’s Book Blog – REVIEW
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