A Side of Murder

Cape Cod Foodie Mystery #1

By Amy Pershing

ISBN# 9780593199145

Author’s website: amypershingauthor.com

Brought to you by OBS Reviewer Daniele


A food writer must investigate the death of an old enemy in this witty and exciting new cozy mystery series set in beautiful Cape Cod, Massachusetts, known for seafood, sand, surf, and, now…murder.

Samantha Barnes was always a foodie. So when the CIA (that’s the Culinary Institute of America) came calling, she happily traded in Cape Cod for the Big Apple. Soon the young chef is a rising star in the city’s food scene—until a feud with another chef (her ex) boils over and goes viral. So when Sam inherits her Great-Aunt Ida’s 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 new harbormaster is none other than her first love. Nonetheless, Sam’s looking forward to testing her inner food critic at the Bayview Grille—and indeed the seafood chowder is divine. But the body floating in the pond outside the eatery was not on the menu. Though the drowning is called an accident, Sam is certain it’s murder. And as she begins to stir the pot, it becomes terrifyingly clear that she may be writing the recipe for her own untimely demise. (Goodreads)


A Side of Murder is full to the brim with everything I want in an escape from the real world…a beautiful setting, a charming canine, glorious talk of food, intriguing characters, humor, and murder to solve.  It is a strong debut that will keep readers guessing until the very end.

After a very public fight with her hothead significant other is captured on video and goes viral, totally turning chef Samantha’s life and career upside down, she jumps at the opportunity to return home to Cape Cod, MA.  Inheriting her aunt’s home could not have come at a better time even if it includes rambunctious puppy Diogi.  Though she has plans to spiff it up to sell quickly, she easily falls back into a relationship with her high school friends and takes a temporary job as restaurant critic for the local newspaper.  Things get rocky when she finds her former coworker Estelle deceased.  The police are calling it an unfortunate accident, but Sam cannot shake the feeling that there is more to her death and decides to investigate on her own.

A Side of Murder is entertaining and a quick, breezy read.  As is sometimes the case with the first book in a series, there is a lot of back story and character introductions to get through, and this makes the pace of the book somewhat uneven. At times, the mystery takes a backseat, but it gains momentum in the second half of the tale.  It feels natural for protagonist Sam to look into the crime since she knows the victim and the potential suspects.  The mystery is well thought out and executed.  There are plenty of red herrings, twists and turns, and I enjoyed investigating alongside Sam. 

Sam is a thoughtful and intelligent sleuth.  I really enjoy her sense of humor.  Her friends add variety and are all engaging.  I particularly like her next door neighbor Helene, and she provides a welcome source of sage advice for Sam.  Sam has not seen harbormaster Jason, her first big crush, since their fateful kiss many years ago, and, as expected, their first encounters are awkward.  However, it felt awkward to me how quickly things change between them.  I am curious to see how their relationship progresses.

A Side of Murder is great fun.  Highly recommended.