Kathy: In HUMMUS AND HOMICIDE Lucy Berberbian returns to the Jersey Shore and is helping out in her parents' restaurant, the Kebab Kitchen. I enjoy a lot of Mediterranean cuisine as well as boardwalk fun snacks. Of these two types of food, what's one dish you could never pass up?
TK: This is a hard choice. I enjoy lots of food. But I can never pass up a good shish kebab. I love the marinated and grilled meat and vegetable skewers. When I’m on the boardwalk, I always go for a good slice of pizza and funnel cake. It’s my boardwalk comfort food.
Kathy: Lucy's parents have added a hummus bar to their restaurant. Are you a huge hummus fan? What's your favorite flavor and how best do you like to eat it?
TK: Yes, I love hummus. My favorite flavor is traditional hummus. I eat it with pita bread or vegetables. See below for my award-winning recipe!
Kathy: Lucy also has to deal with former high school mean girl who has grown into nasty woman. Did you ever have to deal with mean girls?
TK: Of course! Who hasn’t? I enjoyed high school and had a great group of friends. Almost all of us still keep in touch. But there were one or two mean girls in the school. We learned to ignore them. I now have two young girls, and when they go to high school, I’ll teach them not to pay attention to rude people.
Kathy: What first drew you to cozy mysteries?
TK: I’m an avid reader and have always loved cozies. I have an entire bookshelf of my favorites. I love the small town, amateur sleuth that uses her brains and ingenuity to solve crimes. I still enjoy reruns of Murder She Wrote.
Kathy: Do you write in any other genres?
K: Yes, I write historical romance as Tina Gabrielle. I’m a fan of Jane Austen and the Regency time period. I’m an attorney by profession, and I wrote an award-winning Regency Barrister series. I enjoyed researching how barrister’s handled cases and worked at the Inns of Court.
Kathy: Tell us about your series.
TK: Lucy Berberian leaves her Philadelphia law firm and returns home to her family and their Mediterranean restaurant, Kebab Kitchen, at the Jersey shore. Things are looking up, until Lucy’s former high school rival turns out to be the new town health inspector. A crazy day turns deadly when her rival eats at the hummus bar, then drops dead in the parking lot. Suddenly, as suspect number one, Lucy’s in big trouble.
Kathy: Do you have a favorite character? If so, who and why?
TK: Lucy, my amateur sleuth. She’s great fun and has to solve a murder after she serves her former high school rival her last meal.
Lucy’s best friend, Katie Watson, is quirky and a great character. Katie’s married to an Ocean Crest beat cop, and she’s obsessed with crime fighting television shows. She is Lucy’s partner in solving crime.
Kathy: Did you have a specific inspiration for your series?
TK: Yes. The book takes place at a Mediterranean restaurant. I grew up in the restaurant business, and my Armenian-American parents owned a restaurant for thirty years in South Jersey. I worked almost every job—rolling silverware and wiping down tables as a tween, to hosting and waitressing as a teenager. The tips helped pay for my prom gown.
Kathy: What made you decide to publish your work?
TK: I always wanted to publish a cozy mystery and this is a dream come true. I’m very grateful to my agent and editor at Kensington.
Kathy: If you could have a dinner party and invite 4 authors, living or dead, in any genre, who would you invite?
TK: Agatha Christie, Jane Austen, Abraham Lincoln, and Eloisa James.
Kathy: What are you currently reading?
TK: BAKE SALE MURDER by Leslie Meier. I’m enjoying this cozy mystery!
Kathy: Will you share any of your hobbies or interests with us?
TK: I love to cook. Cooking isn’t always possible when I’m rushing to get the kids to their activities, but if I have time I enjoy it.
I like to swim laps. I can’t jog, even though my amateur sleuth does. Instead, I find the warm water and repetitive motion of swimming relaxing. I’ve solved plot problems while swimming the breaststroke.
Kathy: Name 4 items you always have in your fridge or pantry.
TK: 1. Tahini to make hummus
2. Minced Garlic to make a lot of Mediterranean dishes
3. Romaine lettuce, tomatoes, and cucumbers because I love salads
4. Extra virgin olive oil to make salad dressing and many other things.
5. Chocolate! I added this because life is too short, and I need a bit every day.
Kathy: Do you have plans for future books either in your current series or a new series?
TK: Yes! There are two other books in my Kebab Kitchen cozy mystery series, and I had great fun coming up with titles. HUMMUS AND HOMICIDE, STABBED IN THE BAKLAVA (9/18), and ONE FETA IN THE GRAVE (2/19). All the titles are puns on food and reflect the light and funny feel of the cozy mysteries.
Kathy: What's your favorite thing about being an author?
TK: So many things! I enjoy creating my own world. When I’m writing, I focus on the characters, their emotions, and their world. I enjoy plotting the mystery and adding those fascinating red herrings. And when I’m in my writing zone, it’s wonderfully satisfying. It’s the best job.
As promised, here’s my secret hummus recipe. I make it weekly at home for the kids and the husband. It can be served as a dip with wedges of pita bread or vegetables, and goes well with broiled or grilled meat. It can also be used as a healthy alternative to mayonnaise on sandwiches.
Tina’s award-winning hummus:
1 can (15 ounces) chick peas
3½ teaspoons tahini (sesame seed puree)
3 cloves minced garlic (1½ teaspoons)
1 teaspoon salt
5 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons lemon juice
Drain can of chick peas and reserve ¼ cup fluid. Mix tahini thoroughly before using to incorporate oil that separates during storage. Using a food processor or blender, combine and blend all ingredients until smooth. If hummus is too thick, add a few tablespoons of reserved fluid from chick peas and blend again. Pour into serving platter. Enjoy!
Tina Kashian is an attorney and a former mechanical engineer whose love of reading for pleasure helped her get through years of academia. Her law cases inspired an inquiring mind of crime, and since then, Tina has been hooked on mysteries. Tina spent her childhood summers at the Jersey shore building sandcastles, boogie boarding, and riding the boardwalk Ferris wheel. She also grew up in the restaurant business, as her Armenian parents owned a restaurant for thirty years. Tina still lives in New Jersey with her supportive husband and two young daughters. Please visit her website at www.tinakashian.com to join her newsletter, receive delicious recipes, enter contests, and more!
You can also connect with Tina at:
A Kebab Kitchen Mystery
When Lucy Berberian quits her Philadelphia law firm and heads home to Ocean Crest, she knows what she’s getting—the scent of funnel cake, the sight of the wooden roller coaster, and the tastes of her family’s Mediterranean restaurant. But murder wasn’t on the menu…
Things are slow in the off-season in this Jersey Shore town, but Lucy doesn’t mind. She doesn’t even mind waitressing at the Kebab Kitchen. Her parents have put in a new hummus bar, with every flavor from lemon to roasted red pepper. It’s fun to see their calico cat again, and to catch up with her old BFF, who’s married to a cop now.
She could do without Heather Banks, though. The Gucci-toting ex-cheerleader is still as nasty as she was back in high school…and unfortunately, she’s just taken over as the local health inspector. Just minutes after eating at the Kebab Kitchen—where she’s tallied up a whole list of bogus violations—she falls down dead in the street. Word on the grapevine is it’s homicide, and Lucy’s the number one suspect…
“A delectable read.”
--Bestselling Author Shelley Freydont
HUMMUS AND HOMICIDE by Tina Kashian
The First Kebab Kitchen Mystery
After being passed over for promotion yet again, Lisa Berberian quits her job as a patent attorney in Philadelphia and returns home to the Jersey Shore for an extended visit. Despite a warm welcome from friends and family, who are pleased to have her helping out in the family restaurant, Lisa has a run in with her old high school nemesis, who has just taken over from her father as health inspector. Although her father never found fault with the Kebab Kitchen, Heather amasses numerous bogus citations. What could be worse than that? Heather being found dead behind the restaurant, with her death being ruled suspicious. Will the detective put his grudge against the Berberian family aside and find the real killer or will Lisa be charged with murder?
The first Kebab Kitchen Mystery is all about family and coming home. It's about sticking together, even after being apart; a balance between nostalgia and moving with the times. Richly detailed writing makes me feel as if I'm in the midst of all the action while plenty of humor and the right amount of drama flavor this tasty mystery.
Lisa is a smart likable protagonist with a good head on her shoulders. Although charged by her father to solve the murder, Lisa knows when to investigate and when to call in the professionals. The rest of the characters are as interesting and varied as the flavors of hummus Angela creates, some traditional, some spicy, some tart, and some a bit nutty.
HUMMUS AND HOMICIDE is the start of a delectable new mystery series. I urge you all to dig in!