printed copy

Here Comes the Body: A Catering Hall Mystery

Maria DiRico

ISBN 9781496725349
Publish Date 2/25/2020
Format Paperback
Categories Cozy, Kensington
List Price: $7.99

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ePub

After her philandering husband’s boat went down, newly single Mia Carina went back to Astoria, the bustling Queens neighborhood of her youth. Living with her nonna and her oversized cat, Doorstop, she’s got a whole new life—including some amateur sleuthing . . .

Mia is starting work at Belle View, her father’s catering hall, a popular spot for weddings, office parties, and more—despite the planes that occasionally roar overhead on their way to LaGuardia and rattle the crystal chandelier. Soon she’s planning a bachelor party for a less-than-gentlemanly groom. But it goes awry when the gigantic cake is wheeled in and a deadly surprise is revealed . . .

Since some of her family’s associates are on the shady side, the NYPD wastes no time in casting suspicion on Mia’s father. Now, Mia’s going to have to use all her street smarts to keep him out of Rikers Island . . .

Italian recipes included!

About Maria DiRico:

Maria DiRico was born in Queens, New York, and raised in Queens and Westchester County. She is first-generation Italian-American on her mother’s side. On her father’s side, her grandfather was a low-level Jewish mobster who disappeared in 1933 under mysterious circumstances. She also writes the award-winning, bestselling Cajun Country Mystery series under the name Ellen Byron.

Average Customer Review

Based on 1 review


Customer Review

News Series Off To Great Start (Saturday, February 29, 2020)
Reviewer: LORI/Dollycas

Dollycas’s Thoughts

Readers are introduced to Mia Carina and her family. She has come home to Queens after her being cleared in her husband’s suspicious death with her cat lovingly named Doorstop. They have moved into her Nonna’s upper apartment. She will be working with her father, former mob enforcer, Ravello Carina, at a business he recently acquired. Belle View is a hot spot for weddings, bachelor parties, and family reunions. Even local support groups meet there.

Mia’s first event is a bachelor party complete with a stripper popping out of a cake. But the woman inside the cake does not “pop” as planned, in fact, the woman inside the cake is not the woman hired for the party but someone who accused Ravello of not paying his debt to her the day before and she won’t be “popping” anywhere. Someone left her dead body along with a check for a million dollars signed by Ravello inside the cake.

The police think the case is a slam-dunk but Mia is determined to prove her dad’s innocence. When a second body is found behind Belle View Mia knows she has to pull out all the stops to keep her dad safe and the business running, even if she needs to reach out to her extended “family”.

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The underlying theme of this series is the mob and its connections to Mia’s family. I thought this may be too heavy of a topic for a cozy mystery but Maria DiRico makes it work with a light tone and a lot of humor, although some of the innuendo does tip over the line just a bit.

The author brings us an Italian family with connections. Mia, glad to be home but not totally sure if her New York family took care of her creep of a husband, Adam Grosso, or not. She was cleared to leave Florida and she did. Working for her father isn’t going to be easy, not because of the mob, but because of the over the top clients and their loony requests. Mia showed more patience than I ever could. She comes up with some great ideas too.

Moving in with her grandmother Elisabetta feels right even though most of her furniture looks like it came from a bordello. Her dad has spent enough time behind bars and promises the Belle View is a legit business. Mia’s brother Posi, is still behind bars but is able to give her some advice as she investigates. She reconnects with her old friend Jamie and old feelings start to immerge until she learns he has a girlfriend. Jaime’s dad is high up in the “organization” though and she just may need his help.

Being the first book in a new series, we get to know the main characters pretty well, but there is a lot of room for growth. My favorite being Nonna Elisabetta. A true Italian believing food can solve any problem. She makes sure Mia is always well fed. She had me grinning ear to ear.

I was captivated by Mia and Jamie’s relationship and am looking forward to how it develops. Will, there be a real romance or will they commit to the “friend zone”? Jamie does remind me a little bit of my son, same name, different spelling 😉

Mia is a smart sleuth. It was fun to tag along with her as she dealt with twist after twist. Sometimes the debut book in a series has a less complex mystery to solve while taking time to fully introduce the cast of characters. That is not the case here at all. The mystery was complex. Every time I thought I had everything all figured out there was a twist that proved me wrong.

The subplots were blended wonderfully into the story. I really appreciated Mia’s huge heart as she dealt with a real estate predator. Nonna’s neighborhood sounded delightful and close-knit and the realtor was really ticking off both me and Mia. Some of Mia’s comebacks were just priceless. The author descriptions of the area painted clear pictures of the homes, right down to the sculptures in the yards and their holiday decorations.

Here Comes the Body has this series off to a fine start. The characters are memorable and feel very true to life. The mystery was well-plotted and interesting with a large dose of humor. There are also some yummy sounding Italian recipes at the back of the book. It truly was an enjoyable getaway!


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