A SIDE OF MURDER is the first book in the brand new Cape Cod Foodie Mystery series by Amy Pershing. Starting an inaugural book of a new series sometimes leaves me with trepidation since I don’t know the characters and often there’s too much backstory which can slow down the plot. However, Ms. Pershing hit this one out of the ballpark and I was captivated from the very first page! The author exhibits a great sense of timing with her zingy one-liners and the humor starts from the opening scene. Protagonist, trained chef Samantha Barnes, who loves to laugh, made me laugh right alongside which quelled any trepidation I might have had before starting the book.
Fleeing New York after an altercation with her ex went viral on YouTube, Samantha returns to her childhood home of Cape Cod. Moving into the falling down house she’s inherited from her Aunt Ida… along with a huge, untrained puppy named Dioge (D-O-G), she tries to decide what to do with her life. Her good friend (who’s editor of the Cape Cod Clarion) ropes Samantha into writing a restaurant review column. I love that Samantha’s parents were the editor-in-chief and senior journalist for the paper before they retired to Florida. This allows the reader to get a glimpse into her family even if they appear offstage. The setup also showcases the town and contributes to the appealing setting of Cape Code. Since Samantha grew up in the area, she still has close friends. They are equally well-developed, including Dioge, with their own quirks adding to the humorous interaction.
Samantha discovers the body of a former waitress (and all around mean person) at the restaurant she’s reviewing. She doesn’t believe law enforcement’s theory that it was an accidental drowning. Appearing on scene and giving support to her observations is the handsome harbormaster (and teen crush), Jason. Except he doesn’t want her to get involved so she channels her mother’s journalistic skills and ignores him. As evidence and clues pile up, the suspect list gets longer and longer. Ms. Pershing does an admirable job providing plenty of red herrings that kept me off track and guessing as the story progressed. With the final suspenseful reveal, all the clues popped into place and left me with a satisfied grin on my face!
Being a Cape Cod Foodie Mystery series, you can count on there being loads of food mentioned. What I enjoyed even more was the author’s tips interjected on dishes the protagonist fixed and ate during the book. The tips are helpful and are provided in a breezy manner that made me feel like I was sitting in the kitchen watching a friend cook. Ms. Pershing also includes several recipes at the back of the book. If you’ve followed my blog for long, you’ll know I’m a HUGE fan of cookies and you can never have too many recipes for chocolate chip cookies. I was intrigued with the author’s recipe for Sam’s Thin and Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies which relies on high-fat butter, such as a French or Irish Brand. Plus, the butter needs to be super soft which contributes to the spread and chew of the cookie. These cookies did not disappoint and they were gobbled up just as quickly as they cooled down. I’ll be adding this recipe to my cookie baking rotation to share with family and friends!
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?
A special thanks to Amy Pershing for providing a winner with a print copy of A SIDE OF MURDER. Contest ends Wednesday, February 24, 2021 at 11:59 pm PST and is limited to U.S. residents. Please use the Rafflecopter box located below to enter. The winner will be announced on this page and on Cinnamon & Sugar’s Facebook page, as well as notified by email (so check your spam folder!)
The trick here is to use high-fat butter, which usually means a French or Irish brand. Many supermarkets carry Irish Kerrygold butter, which works beautifully. Make sure the butter is really room temperature, which means so soft you can poke a finger through it. Also, if you use salted butter, you may want to skip adding any more salt to the batter.
Makes about 4 dozen cookies
- 10 ounces high-fat French or Irish butter, softened to room temperature
- 1-1/4 cups dark brown sugar
- 3/4 cup granulated sugar
- 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
- 2 teaspoons kosher salt (or 1 teaspoon table salt like Morton's)
- 2 large eggs
- 1-3/4 cups (10 ounces) all-purpose flour (plus another 2 tablespoons of flour set aside to coat chocolate chips)
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 8 ounces semi-sweet chocolate chips
Preheat oven to 350 degrees (F).
Combine butter, brown sugar, granulated sugar, vanilla, and salt in a bowl and cream on medium-high speed until light, about 3 minutes. Add the eggs and mix on medium speed until blended, about 2 minutes.
Whisk the flour and baking soda together in separate bowl, then mix into the dough at medium speed until well combined.
In another bowl, combine the chocolate chips with the extra 2 tablespoons flour. Use a spatula to stir the flour-coated chips into the dough by hand.
Drop the dough by slightly rounded tablespoons onto cookie sheets, preferably lined with parchment paper. To allow for spreading, 12 cookies per sheet works well.
Bake until golden brown, 8 - 10 minutes. Let the cookies cool for 5 minutes before transferring them to a wire rack to cool completely.
Bake a test cookie before baking the entire batch. If they spread out too thin for your liking, mix in 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour into the dough. Repeat with another test cookie.
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I was provided with an advance copy. All thoughts and opinions are my own.
Yes, I do read restaurant review columns. I read lots of reviews about a great many things. The cookies look fabulous! Awesome giveaway. Thank you for the chance!
I read reviews of restaurants I am thinking about trying. Thank you for the recipe, and this chance!
I do not review restaurants.?
Thank you for the recipe and giveaway!
Have a wonderful day!!!
I do read restaurant review columns, and I leave reviews on websites, especially if I loved the food!
Yes. I read and write restaurant reviews on web sites.
Yes, I do read reviews on restaurants. Especially if I am wanting to check out a place to have a birthday party at or take my family to celebrate any special occasion. The chocolate chip cookies look great! I LOVE chewy cookies! And…I LOVE the cover of the book! Such a pretty background and the dog is adorable! Thanks for the chance!
Thanks Dawn! As the author, I love the cover, too!
I do read restaurant reviews for new places and especially when traveling. That way I have an idea if it’s a place we would enjoy and what to expect. On vacations, it’s a better way of finding a suitable place than throwing a dart at the phone book yellow pages.
Yes I do especially for service.
I don’t generally read restaurant reviews but I will research and read reviews of a place I’ve never been before and am interested in trying
I sometimes read them about one that has recently opened.
No, I do not read them.
i read restaurants reviews on yelps
No I don’t read reviews.
No I have been to a sit in restaurant for about 2 or more years.
I don’t read restaurant review columns. I prefer to experience the restaurant myself. Congratulations on your new release!
I don’t read them. We just go to local places we know where there is good food and service.
I do not read restaurant reviews.
I don’t read restaurant reviews unless it’s a new one that I’ve never been to.
This sounds like a great book and I can’t wait to read it. Thanks for the chance.
Thanks, Brenda! I hope you enjoy the book!
I can’t say I do read a lot of restaurant reviews, but I do read a lot of book reviews. The book sounds wonderful as well as the food. Thanks for the chance.
Thanks, Rose! I hope you love the book!
When I’m going to a new restaurant I always read reviews so that I know what to order and if it is any good.
I only read a few because I don’t get to eat out.
Oh my goodness I wish that they would post them in our paper here in eastern Dubuque but when I lived in Ca near SF they did and I loved them. It is always interesting to see what they say and the rating the restaurant got and if there was a bias in them!
I read restaurant reviews sometimes. If a photo is with the article, I am more likley to read it. Thanks for bringing to my attention.
I do not read restaurant reviews. I love this cover. Mysteries set by the sea are my favorite.
Hi Sue! I think you just might love A Side of Murder!
I don’t read restaurant review columns. Sometimes I’ll read online reviews when searching for new to me restaurants in my area.
If it’s a new place I want to try sometimes I do.
I read restaurant reviews. I’ve moved a lot over the last 20 years so I always check out reviews.
Yes I do read restaurant review columns.
I read some review’s on restaurants, Love these books, Thanks for your great generosity.
We don’t have restaurant review columns. There aren’t a ton of restaurants around, and usually no new ones going up so everyone has their favorites already. The biggest argument is over which area pizza place is better- Steve’s or George’s. (P.S. It’s Steve’s!)
Yes I do read restaurant reviews but I try to keep in mind that everyone has different experiences when eating out. Thank you!
I rarely read restaurant reviews unless I’m am trying to decide between a couple of new ones that I want to try, that may sway my decision. Thanks for the recipe and congrats on your release!
Sometimes I do!
Yes, I do.
I read reviews but with a large grain of salt. It’s particularly frustrating that my local paper tends to post reviews of restaurants a bit north of us, not nearby.
I do read restaurant review columns. I like learning about new restaurants and what kind of a menu they have.
Every once in a while do I read a restaurant review
no i don’t.
I do when I’m in a new town!
I don’t read restaurant review columns.
Thank you for the giveaway and recipe! I do not read restaurant review columns for a couple of reasons. I don’t eat out all that often and I’m also very picky so I tend to stick to my few favorites.
Yes, I quite often read restaurant reviews, especially when we are travelling
I read them occasionally, especially if it’s for a new restaurant that I’m thinking about trying.
No I don’t read restaurant review columns. But thank you for a chance to win a print copy of A Side Of Murder.
I do read them to get a general idea, but I still try to have an open mind should I decide to try a restaurant.
I do not read restaurant review columns. Thanks for the chance!!
nice recipe. what does the imported butter do (add fat)? can american butter be substituted?
Hi nbo! You’re exactly right! Imported butter tends to be higher in fat. But American butter can certainly be substituted.
and i occasionally read restaurant reviews, mostly for entertainment
What does the imported butter in the recipe do – add fat? Can American butter be substituted, and if so, what amount should be used?
Yes, the imported butter adds additional fat. If you use American butter, the cookies will still be delicious but might not be quite as thin as this recipe. If substituting American butter, I wouldn’t add additional butter but perhaps use 1 tablespoon of flour less than the recipe calls for. I’m sure the cookies will still be amazing!
Great suggestion on the flour, KIm!
I read and give restaurant reviews all the time! I love to discover new food and to share that with others 🙂
Me, too, Brittani!!!
Thank you for the opportunity, I love finding new authors/series!
I hope you love this one, Cathy!
I do read restaurant reviews when I read a local newspaper, but I don’t read a local newspaper much these days.
Sounds like a great new series. I do check reviews but I also realized they can be biased.
Thanks, Emily! I hope you enjoy the Cape Cod Foodie series! And yes, you do have to hope for an objective restaurant review.
I often read restaurant review columns, but I also check out online reviews from customers to look for consistency or not. It can often put a whole different spin on a restaurant and gives me a better feel for what to expect.
Yes, I did read the review, the book sounds great
I have read a few but not intentionally looking for any reviews.
I do sometimes.
I do read reviews sometimes
No, I don’t.