Amy Pershing is a lifelong mystery lover who spent every summer of her childhood on Cape Cod. She’s been an assistant editor at Viking Penguin, a restaurant reviewer for Playbill magazine’s Restaurant Reporter, and a journalist at the Rome (Italy) Daily American. Eventually, she went on to lead employee communications at a global bank. A Side of Murder is the first book in the Cape Cod Foodie mystery series.
Food, friends, and family
For Amy, food, friends and family are very important. As she put it, cooking for and/or sharing a meal with people you love is one of life’s great gifts.
When I was a child, food was a celebration. Not on a daily basis, of course. My mother had five kids to feed on a budget EVERY SINGLE NIGHT, and I do not blame her for the endless weekday dinners of scalloped potatoes and ham and tuna casseroles. But on Sundays and holidays, Mom went to town.
She worshipped St. Julia Child, and she was a firm believer that children will eat anything if you put enough melted butter on it (and she was right). Sunday dinners were a formal affair with candles, cloth napkins and the required “May I please be excused?” if we wanted to leave the table. I truly believe my mother thought Sunday dinner was her only chance to civilize her five little monsters.
And then there were the birthday feasts! Each of us got to choose our favorite meal, and the others had to lump it. Mine was leg of lamb rubbed with rosemary and garlic, parsley buttered potatoes, and asparagus with browned butter (I warned you about the butter!). Christmas dinner was delicious and unchanging (as all traditions should be): roast beef (a huge treat for a family of seven), baked potatoes with sour cream and chives, broccoli with hollandaise sauce, and hot fudge sundaes for dessert. I still make this same Christmas meal for my family every year. My mother is gone now, but in this way we continue to celebrate her legacy of food as a celebration of love.”
Cape Cod comes front and center
“I spent every summer of my childhood on Cape Cod, that fragile spit of land jutting out into the Atlantic Ocean from the coast of Massachusetts. It was magical. There was absolutely no attempt to try to civilize us. We kicked off our shoes the minute we hit the sandy soil of our little cottage by the bay and we did not put them back on until September. We learned to swim in the pond across the street, happily shivering in the cold morning fogs. We were dumped into fat little wooden sailboats of the local sailing club, where we made friends for life and grew to know and to love the blue waters of our bay.”
Amy said she always knew she would someday share Cape Cod in a book. As a mystery addict, she hoped it would be in a mystery. The series is, in a way, a dream come true for her.
“I have two wonderful sons, one working on his PhD thesis in African history and the other living in Singapore as a cybersecurity expert. I have no idea where all this intellectual firepower came from unless it was from my equally wonderful husband, who is the smartest, funniest, cutest guy I’ve ever known—and I’ve known him since high school!.”
In the Cape Cod Foodie mysteries, Amy’s protagonist is restaurant reviewer Samantha Barnes. “She comes by this expertise honestly,” Amy said. “I was able to indulge my inner foodie reviewing restaurants back in the late 1980s – when restaurants were theater and chefs were celebrities – under the tutelage of a future Gourmet magazine restaurant critic no less! I mean, what do you do when you’re young and broke and living in New York City and love great food? Obviously, you can’t actually pay to eat in those restaurants. But what if you got to EAT FOR FREE in those restaurants?! And all you had to do was write about it? Eating great food and writing about eating great food? That wasn’t a job. That was a dream come true.”
Like most authors, Amy worries that her Internet search history might someday be used against her. However, she did have a nice twist on the answer. “What would someone make of the query ‘coconut as a murder weapon’?”
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