Wednesday, February 24, 2021

A Side of Murder - Cozy Mystery Review

Goodreads:  A Side of Murder (Cape Cod Foodie Mystery #1) by Amy Pershing

Rating: Liked It!
Source: Publisher

Description:  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.
Genre:  Mystery - Cozy

Why I Picked This Book:   I love a foodie cozy and can never resist picking up the first book in a new series.  Plus, I love that there's a dog on the cover!  

My Impression:  I do love a cozy where the victim is one that most people would have cheerfully pushed in front of bus.  Estelle Kobolt is one of those victims.  When Estelle's body is found floating outside a local restaurant no one is particularly sad about it.  Same Barnes is back in town after a particularly mortifying career and personal life meltdown and happens to stumble on the body and gets pulled into the investigation right from the start.  

The setting plays a huge part in the book. A book set in a small coastal town isn't unusual in cozy mysteries but in this book Cape Cod is pretty much a character and I could all but smell the salt.  As well Sam's career and training as a chef aren't simply window dressing. She knows her craft and spends quite a lot of time thinking or talking (and in some cases writing) about food and knows her stuff.  If you expect your books to be all mystery all the time you might find this a bit frustrating.  However, if you love a cozy with a good setup you will be a happy reader.  The mystery was enjoyable and did keep me guessing and engaged even if it wasn't front and center on every page.

What kept me from absolutely loving this book was that I just didn't connect with Sam.  She can be very wishy washy and judgmental.  She lets people push her around a bit and struggles to make decisions on her own and her dismissive attitude towards her friend Jenny set my teeth on edge a time or two.  There was also a heavy use of foreshadowing language (ie "If she had only known" "we didn't notice then that it was gone") which also got a bit old.  Still, this book was a fun read and I think this is a series with a lot of potential.

Would I Read More of this Series/Author?  I will definitely pick up the second book.  I'm curious to see where the series goes.

Would I Recommend this Book?  If you enjoy a cozy this was a good one!

* I received this book in exchange for an honest review.  As always my opinions and impressions are completely my own. *


  1. Sounds like a series I'd enjoy because I too love a foodie cozy and dogs!

    "I do love a cozy where the victim is one that most people would have cheerfully pushed in front of bus". LOL!

  2. I love the sound of this one! Thanks for sharing.

  3. It could improve as the series goes on and it does have enough to at least invite reading #2.