Here Comes the Body (A Catering Hall Mystery #1)
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 the woman inside fails to jump out . . . because she’s dead. Since some of her family’s associates are on the shady side, the NYPD wastes no time in casting suspicion on Mia’s father—especially considering that he and the victim had a previous encounter. Now, Mia’s going to have to use all her street smarts to keep him out of Rikers Island . . . Italian recipes included!

Here Comes the Body (A Catering Hall Mystery #1) Details

TitleHere Comes the Body (A Catering Hall Mystery #1)
Author
LanguageEnglish
ReleaseFeb 25th, 2020
PublisherKensington
Rating
GenreMystery, Cozy Mystery, Contemporary

Here Comes the Body (A Catering Hall Mystery #1) Review

  • James
    January 1, 1970
    Here Comes the Body is the first book in a new series entitled A Catering Hall Mystery and written by Maria DiRico, a pseudonym for author Ellen Byron. When I saw she was writing a new series, I had to get a copy of the debut, so I checked on NetGalley and got lucky! Then I saw it would be on a blog tour with one of my favorite companies, Great Escapes Virtual Tours... so... yeah, I had to read this one, and I'm so glad I did.Let's start with the setting: Astoria, Queens, New York City. I live Here Comes the Body is the first book in a new series entitled A Catering Hall Mystery and written by Maria DiRico, a pseudonym for author Ellen Byron. When I saw she was writing a new series, I had to get a copy of the debut, so I checked on NetGalley and got lucky! Then I saw it would be on a blog tour with one of my favorite companies, Great Escapes Virtual Tours... so... yeah, I had to read this one, and I'm so glad I did.Let's start with the setting: Astoria, Queens, New York City. I live in Manhattan directly across the East River from where this book takes place. The author mentions towns on Long Island, like Syosset, next door to where I grew up. The book is a perfect match for me... and like the charm of Byron's Cajun / Bayou series, this one will immediately make you feel like you're in an authentic place. And if I'm being honest, that might be the only thing about the book that gave me some concerns in the beginning - it was a little 'too much' in terms of the Italian NY mafia scene. I worried it would be a bit overkill, but by the middle of the story, I found it amusing and on par.Let's dish about the plot: Mia returns from Florida as a widow. Or her husband might still be alive, but she's no longer wanted for his disappearance and possible death. Her mobster father swears he didn't kill her husband either, but Dad's decided to go legit, and he and Mia run a catering hall together, despite the owner obviously being a Godfather. Dad deals with removing obstacles on the back end, Mia meets with the clients and attends the events. In their first one, a dead stripper fails to pop out of the cake for a bachelor party. Okay, she shouldn't have been dead when she popped out, but that's what happened... unfortunately, Mia's dad has a connection to the woman, so he is eventually arrested for the murder.Toss in Mia's old high school boyfriend who has a new girlfriend (they're in their late 20s / early 30s) yet seems to still think about her (he's also that Godfather's son, so yeah, that's gonna be a problem), a couple of unusual catering hall staff members, a nutty grandmother, a brother in prison, a charming friend with tons of connections (and an ex on the police force), and a cool supporting cast... you've got a hit for a new series. I look forward to reading more. I hope the mafia scene stays funny, and we get to see the hilarity of Mia's grandmother's Astoria neighborhood (fighting over religious items, holiday decorations, and renovations, oh my).This will definitely be a good one, and I recommend it to all cozy lovers and those who want to see a piece of NYC (whether it's Queens or Manhattan, because as the book confirms, BOTH are part of 'the city.' 4.5 stars... can't wait for more.
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  • Natalia R
    January 1, 1970
    Mia Carina, the daughter of former mobster, Ravello Carina, has moved back home to Queens after her cheating husband disappears in a boating accident. She wants a fresh start and is thrilled to be working at her father's catering hall. Unfortunately, her first event, a bachelor party, turns into a nightmare when a call girl is found dead inside the gigantic cake. When a check written by Mia's dad is found next to the body, he immediately becomes the main suspect. A few days later, another body Mia Carina, the daughter of former mobster, Ravello Carina, has moved back home to Queens after her cheating husband disappears in a boating accident. She wants a fresh start and is thrilled to be working at her father's catering hall. Unfortunately, her first event, a bachelor party, turns into a nightmare when a call girl is found dead inside the gigantic cake. When a check written by Mia's dad is found next to the body, he immediately becomes the main suspect. A few days later, another body is found and Ravello is suspected again. Mia is determined to prove her father's innocence and find the real culprit.Here Comes the Body by Maria DiRico is a fantastic start to a new series. It is an enjoyable and entertaining read, with plenty of laugh out loud moments, fun, engaging characters, and a puzzling murder mystery. Mia is smart, independent and has a good heart. Despite her confidence, she always acted responsibly and never put herself in dangerous situations. I wasn't sure how I was going to feel about the city setting but ended up loving it. Mia's neighbors were a hoot, and I enjoyed reading about the different cultures and food. The catering hall is a great setting for future mysteries and I forward to seeing what's in store for the characters. I will definitely be reading the second book.I received an ARC from NetGalley through Kensington Books. The opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.
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  • Linda 📚
    January 1, 1970
    An exciting debut for cozy author Ellen Byron writing as Maria DiRico! Protagonist Mia Carina returns to her old Queens, NY neighborhood as an event planner for her mafiaso father’s catering business. Dear old dad, Ravello Carina, is trying to live an honest life using Belle View Banquet Manor as a legitimate business with no mob ties. However, it’s impossible to escape the past, and a murder during a bachelors party threatens to disturb the much-needed peace in the Carina Family’s lives.I An exciting debut for cozy author Ellen Byron writing as Maria DiRico! Protagonist Mia Carina returns to her old Queens, NY neighborhood as an event planner for her mafiaso father’s catering business. Dear old dad, Ravello Carina, is trying to live an honest life using Belle View Banquet Manor as a legitimate business with no mob ties. However, it’s impossible to escape the past, and a murder during a bachelors party threatens to disturb the much-needed peace in the Carina Family’s lives.I enjoyed the laugh-out-loud moments; all the dysfunctional families involved; Mia’s cat, Doorstop; the secondary cast of likable characters being introduced for the first time—especially the Belle View kitchen staff; and how the seasoned author pulls all the loose threads together to tie the multiple mystery links up tightly! The perpetrator reveal and motive was interesting. Delicious recipes added after the story ending.I honestly reviewed a galley arc provided by Kensington Publishing. Thank you.
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  • Mark Baker
    January 1, 1970
    Mia Carina has returned home after her adulterous husband’s mysterious disappearance to work in the family business. Or, I should say, the family’s new business. Her father, reputed mobster Ravello, has recently acquired the Belle View catering hall in the Queens borough of New York City, and Mia is going to help him run it as a 100% real business. Her first week on the job, Mia is in charge of a bachelor party when disaster strikes. Not only does the stripper not jump out of the cake, she’s Mia Carina has returned home after her adulterous husband’s mysterious disappearance to work in the family business. Or, I should say, the family’s new business. Her father, reputed mobster Ravello, has recently acquired the Belle View catering hall in the Queens borough of New York City, and Mia is going to help him run it as a 100% real business. Her first week on the job, Mia is in charge of a bachelor party when disaster strikes. Not only does the stripper not jump out of the cake, she’s dead in the cake. With the police showing interest in the new business and especially her father, Mia begins poking around, hoping to figure out what happened. Can she do it?The mob? New York City? Yes, this is indeed still a cozy. While those are the elements that help make up this different take on the genre, they only help provide the background. The heart of the book is still a great puzzle and charming characters. Mia already knows some of the supporting players in the book, and we can tell right away how much they love each other. The rest of the characters are entertaining, and the suspects are strong. The plot weaves in some interesting directions before we reach the logical and satisfying conclusion. We get some great humor as Mia deals with a return home that isn’t as smooth as she thought it would be. Being a culinary cozy, we get some delicious sounding recipes at the end and a fun party idea. I took advantage of a lazy Sunday afternoon to finish this book, and I enjoyed every page of it. I’m already anxious for the sequel. It would be a mistake to refuse this excellent debut.NOTE: I received an ARC of this book.Read my full review at Carstairs Considers.
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  • LORI (Dollycas) CASWELL
    January 1, 1970
    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 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”.______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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  • Leslie aka StoreyBook Reviews
    January 1, 1970
    I'm a huge fan of this author's other series written under the name Ellen Byron because of my Cajun connections. So, of course, I wanted to check out a new series and was intrigued by the family with mob connections. Let's just say it makes for some humorous situations sprinkled throughout when people learn who Mia's father is and his connections.Mia arrives back in Astoria to assist her father in running a legitimate business - a catering hall. The building has seen better days but has a lot of I'm a huge fan of this author's other series written under the name Ellen Byron because of my Cajun connections.  So, of course, I wanted to check out a new series and was intrigued by the family with mob connections.  Let's just say it makes for some humorous situations sprinkled throughout when people learn who Mia's father is and his connections.Mia arrives back in Astoria to assist her father in running a legitimate business - a catering hall.  The building has seen better days but has a lot of potential despite being so close to La Guardia airport.  Mia is basically thrown into the deep end as she takes over several events that lead to deadly results.  Considering who her father is, he does not escape scrutiny by the police.  Clues and red herrings are peppered throughout the story and had me stumped and I did not figure out who the criminals really were in this case.This series is going to be a lot of fun and I already like Mia's brother Posi who is trying to go viral as a sexy convict.  It isn't working but gotta give him an A for effort!  Mia's grandmother and the "army" are a hoot especially when it comes to the Virgin Mary statues in their yards.  Don't mess with their statues.  Then there is a past love with Jamie who keeps ending up as Mia's Uber driver.  Sure he has a girlfriend, but I'm thinking that relationship might fizzle in future books.There are some delicious recipes at the end of the book worth trying out next time I have time to experiment.We give this book 5 paws up and look forward to the next book.
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  • Yvonne
    January 1, 1970
    Mia Carina leaves Florida after her husband goes missing. She is accused of doing something to create his disappearance. Since her father is an alleged mobster, all fingers are pointed in her direction, but without proof she is free to return to her family home in Queens, New York. Her father is managing a catering hall called Belle View and Mia is ready to help his business.At Mia’s first event - a bachelor party - things don’t go as planned. When the big cake - complete with a stripper - is Mia Carina leaves Florida after her husband goes missing. She is accused of doing something to create his disappearance. Since her father is an alleged mobster, all fingers are pointed in her direction, but without proof she is free to return to her family home in Queens, New York. Her father is managing a catering hall called Belle View and Mia is ready to help his business.At Mia’s first event - a bachelor party - things don’t go as planned. When the big cake - complete with a stripper - is brought in, nobody jumps out. Mia looks for herself and discovers a dead woman in the cake. A woman who is connected to her father. The police immediately jump to the conclusion that Mia’s dad murdered the woman. It’s up to Mia to prove them wrong.This story is off to a rousing start. There’s action, humor, mystery and a huge cast of quirky characters. The story moves at a fast pace. It kept me laughing and guessing until the end. I was engrossed in the plot until the wee hours of the night. I, also, enjoyed the setting as I’m a native New York and the author’s descriptions made me feel as if I was in the center of the story.I’m so looking forward to the next book in this fun series.FTC Disclosure: I voluntarily reviewed an Advance Reader Copy of this book from NetGalley and the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review. All opinions expressed are my own.
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  • Gloria
    January 1, 1970
    Here Comes the Body starts a new series with interesting, sometimes quirky, funny, and likable characters, a great setting, and a murder mystery or two to solve. Mia Carina grew up Queens in a mob Family with a capital F. She has moved back home from Palm Beach, Florida to live with her nonna in the old Italian neighborhood and work with her father after her cheating husband has disappeared in a boating accident and assumed dead. Her father, Ravello Carina is making a fresh start from his Here Comes the Body starts a new series with interesting, sometimes quirky, funny, and likable characters, a great setting, and a murder mystery or two to solve. Mia Carina grew up Queens in a mob Family with a capital F. She has moved back home from Palm Beach, Florida to live with her nonna in the old Italian neighborhood and work with her father after her cheating husband has disappeared in a boating accident and assumed dead. Her father, Ravello Carina is making a fresh start from his illegal activities to run a catering and event planning business owned by his old mobster boss. Mia's first event is a bachelor party that goes wrong when the stripper in the cake is missing but a different woman's body is found and her dad is implicated. A couple of days later, another body is discovered and Ravello is suspected again. Mia is determined to find the real killer and her investigation reveals some powerful people may be involved. There are many questions to answer, clues to decipher, and figure out why certain people continue to show up in the midst. Interspersed with lots of food and culture, this is an entertaining read with a mystery to unravel that kept me guessing and finding the solution not what I expected. Mia is rekindling old friendships, including a former boyfriend who would have been a better husband, and putting the past behind her, making a fresh start. Ravello is anxious to be a better person and maybe even finding romance. I am looking forward to more in the series.I received a complimentary ARC from Kensington Publishing and NetGalley. All thoughts and opinions stated are mine only.
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  • The Cozy Review
    January 1, 1970
    On Sale February 25th, 2020Here Comes The Body is the first book in a new cozy series from Kensington Books. Written by veteran author Ellen Byron using the pseudonym, Maria Derico, “A Catering Hall Mystery.” Mia is an interesting character with quarks that make her instantly likable. Her father, Ravello, and brother, Posi as well as other members of the family and employees, adds a great deal of entertainment and make this new cozy book come to life. Even though this is the first book in a new On Sale February 25th, 2020Here Comes The Body is the first book in a new cozy series from Kensington Books. Written by veteran author Ellen Byron using the pseudonym, Maria Derico, “A Catering Hall Mystery.” Mia is an interesting character with quarks that make her instantly likable. Her father, Ravello, and brother, Posi as well as other members of the family and employees, adds a great deal of entertainment and make this new cozy book come to life. Even though this is the first book in a new series, the characters are well-rounded and keep readers intrigued. The setting, however, is not your typical small-town setting. However, readers will forget that they are in one of the biggest cities in America and have the feeling of a small tightly knit community. The victim(s) are shady characters that many will feel got what was coming to them. The suspects are equally dubious in many regards but some are very loveable and easily excused for their past and present connections and behavior. This new cozy series adds in the flavor of New York with all its intricacies, the residents who are as varied as the food, and the mob who will always hold a fascination for most people in the US. In the end, the killer is revealed and is not unexpected. The evidence is all there for readers to find, and it's essential to keep everything straight, so you won’t lose track of whose-who and what their role is in the murder. With original characters and plot, as well as some beloved pets, including families that are like any other family with faults and secrets, and this new cozy series has all the earmarks of becoming a fan favorite for years to come. I enjoyed Here Comes The Body and am happy to recommend it to lovers of mysteries, eccentric characters, and crazy family.
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  • Sandra
    January 1, 1970
    Here Comes the Body by Maria DiRIco is the first book in A Catering Hall Mystery. Mia Carina, returns to her hometown after her disastrous marriage and starts work for her father's catering service. Almost immediately body of a young woman is found in a huge cake made for a bachelor party. The problem is that Mia's father has been accused by this woman of hiring her few days before and the signed check in his name is found next to her body.Her father is an alleged mobster turned good. The Here Comes the Body by Maria DiRIco is the first book in A Catering Hall Mystery. Mia Carina, returns to her hometown after her disastrous marriage and starts work for her father's catering service. Almost immediately body of a young woman is found in a huge cake made for a bachelor party. The problem is that Mia's father has been accused by this woman of hiring her few days before and the signed check in his name is found next to her body.Her father is an alleged mobster turned good. The leading detective is Mia's acquaintance and not very capable.This is an unusual book. Not what I expected.Mob references are very common, jokes in that manner as well as is the question of her father's involvement. At times it seemed more like a parody than an actual mystery. I liked the characters but sometimes they were parodic and over the top. This is not something that appealed to me.I really liked her neighborhood and all those funny old ladies. It is a steady paced book and an engaging mystery.I trust it has an opportunity for further development.
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  • Mary Brown
    January 1, 1970
    Here Comes The BodyA Catering Hall Mystery, Book #1Maria DiRico5 StarsSynopsis: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 Here Comes The BodyA Catering Hall Mystery, Book #1Maria DiRico5 StarsSynopsis: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 the woman inside fails to jump out . . . because she’s dead.Since some of her family’s associates are on the shady side, the NYPD wastes no time in casting suspicion on Mia’s father—especially considering that he and the victim had a previous encounter. Now, Mia’s going to have to use all her street smarts to keep him out of Rikers Island . . .Italian recipes included! (Goodreads)Review:The characters are well rounded and well developed. Mia is smart, feisty and loyal and she cares a lot about her family and friends. You can tell how much Mia loves her dad and wants him to be on the straight and narrow. She knows he has been part of the “Family” but she wants him to be successful with his new venture. I enjoyed getting to meet the whole cast of characters introduced in this book and cannot wait to spend more time with them.The writing style flows smoothly and the book is a quick easy read. The author is very talented in her descriptive writing and those descriptions pulled me into the story from the very beginning. I thought the mystery was well plotted and not easily solved. I would recommend this book to anyone who enjoys a well crafted cozy. With charming characters, and inviting setting, humor and an intriguing mystery, it is a great start to the series. I look forward to reading the next book in the series. I voluntarily reviewed an ARC of this book provided by the publisher, Kensington Books, and NetGalley, which I greatly appreciate. .
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  • M. E. Gustafson
    January 1, 1970
    This first book in a new series by Maria DiRico, who also writes as Ellen Byron, is off to a wonderful start. Mia Carrina, the protagonist, has returned home to Queens, NY, leaving her past behind as a person of interest in the disappearance of her two-timing husband. Mia is looking forward to working with her father, Ravello, Manager of the Bell View Banquet Manor as an Event Coordinator. Proud that her father has chosen to leave behind his ties with the “Family” and make a go as a respectable This first book in a new series by Maria DiRico, who also writes as Ellen Byron, is off to a wonderful start. Mia Carrina, the protagonist, has returned home to Queens, NY, leaving her past behind as a person of interest in the disappearance of her two-timing husband. Mia is looking forward to working with her father, Ravello, Manager of the Bell View Banquet Manor as an Event Coordinator. Proud that her father has chosen to leave behind his ties with the “Family” and make a go as a respectable business manager, Mia gets behind him 100 percent, until a murder happens at the banquet hall casting suspicion on her father. Knowing her father was not responsible, Mia sets out to clear her father’s name and save the banquet hall from closure. This delightful story featuring a catering hall is a new take in the cozy genre. Ms. DiRico draws upon her Italian roots to write wonderful characters that are vaguely reminiscent of various family members. As we are introduced to several characters of Mia’s family and friends, we are given a glimpse of future stories for this series. There are enough suspects to keep you guessing, with twists and turns to unravel like a plate of pasta, laugh out loud moments and suspenseful ending. Add in a couple bonus recipes at the end, and This entertaining series will have you coming back for a second helping. I am looking forward to the next book in this series. I received this advanced reader’s copy book from GoodReads, Kensington Books, and Netgalley. The opinions expressed are my own.
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  • Tari
    January 1, 1970
    Mia is different from any main character that I've come across yet in cozies, and I think that's why I like her so much! I love her sass but good attitude toward things. She managed to survive being a suspect in her still-missing husband's death and was happy to be living with her Nonna again in Queens. I loved seeing Mia and Jamie together even though she tried to make everyone think she didn't have strong feelings for him. Guadalupe and Nonna were two of my favorite characters. It was cool Mia is different from any main character that I've come across yet in cozies, and I think that's why I like her so much! I love her sass but good attitude toward things. She managed to survive being a suspect in her still-missing husband's death and was happy to be living with her Nonna again in Queens. I loved seeing Mia and Jamie together even though she tried to make everyone think she didn't have strong feelings for him. Guadalupe and Nonna were two of my favorite characters. It was cool that Guadalupe and another employee Cody were former military which seemed to make for a smooth running catering hall, well until the murder happened. I didn't have any idea who the killer was, and the showdown was really exciting. Being a former mobster's daughter definitely had prepared her for taking care of herself in every emergency. The most unlikely person came to her assistance, and I wonder if this person will be back as a new friend.The way the book ended (no cliffhangers, no worries) made me anxious to read the next one. I loved that Mia seemed to be embracing everything stereotypical about her dad's former life if people wanted to buy into that. If it sells the banquet space....;)
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  • Angela Holland
    January 1, 1970
    I enjoyed this book and think this is going to be a good series. One of my favorite things is the mafia/mob connection as I love reading and watching things about connected families. Nonna is one of my favorite characters and I can just see her pinching Mia's cheeks and having delicious food for her to eat. The family connection with Mia and her dad and Nonna is nice but I hope to see Nonna and dad have a little more connection in future books. I am looking forward to see if the Belle View will I enjoyed this book and think this is going to be a good series. One of my favorite things is the mafia/mob connection as I love reading and watching things about connected families. Nonna is one of my favorite characters and I can just see her pinching Mia's cheeks and having delicious food for her to eat. The family connection with Mia and her dad and Nonna is nice but I hope to see Nonna and dad have a little more connection in future books. I am looking forward to see if the Belle View will be a prospering business and if Mia finds a partner.
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  • Peggy R
    January 1, 1970
    Here Comes the Body is the first book in a new series by author Maria DiRico (a pen name for author Ellen Byron). This is the first I've read by this author and I found it to be a very enjoyable and entertaining read. The story was well told and the plot moved along nicely. Mia Carina, our main character, is returning home after a disastrous marriage that ended with her husband's disappearance without a trace (or a body). Mia is no stranger to being on the wrong side of the law, her father is, Here Comes the Body is the first book in a new series by author Maria DiRico (a pen name for author Ellen Byron). This is the first I've read by this author and I found it to be a very enjoyable and entertaining read. The story was well told and the plot moved along nicely. Mia Carina, our main character, is returning home after a disastrous marriage that ended with her husband's disappearance without a trace (or a body). Mia is no stranger to being on the wrong side of the law, her father is, after all, an enforcer for the New Jersey mob. However, now that her father has decided to go legit, Mia comes home to help him run an event planning business. I found the characters to be enjoyable. Mia is independent and has a good heart. Her brother Posi and her grandmother are a hoot. Both of them provide some nice humor throughout the story as well as provide Mia with the voice of reason where her love life is concerned. The event business is populated with some interesting secondary characters that I am interested in seeing develop in future stories.The mystery unfolded nicely and carried throughout the story. I liked that Mia was not portrayed as reckless, or an overly nosy busybody who is surprised when she finds herself in trouble. Mia is just looking to make sure her father is not wrongfully accused of committing two murders, just because of who he used to be. The story kept me guessing and I thought the author wrapped it up nicely tieing up all the loose ends.I voluntarily read a digital ARC provided to me by the publisher, Kensington, through Netgalley.
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  • Barbara Sousa
    January 1, 1970
    Here come the kudos for the new Catering Hall Mystery series by Maria DiRico (pen name of author Ellen Byron). This first novel, Here Comes the Body, serves up a story that is sometimes poignant, sometimes humorous, but always entertaining. Mia Carina returns to her hometown in Queens to help her father, Ravello, a reputed former mobster, run Belle View, an upscale catering hall. But her first assignment, a bachelor party, becomes a disaster when a call girl with purported connections to her Here come the kudos for the new Catering Hall Mystery series by Maria DiRico (pen name of author Ellen Byron). This first novel, Here Comes the Body, serves up a story that is sometimes poignant, sometimes humorous, but always entertaining. Mia Carina returns to her hometown in Queens to help her father, Ravello, a reputed former mobster, run Belle View, an upscale catering hall. But her first assignment, a bachelor party, becomes a disaster when a call girl with purported connections to her father is found dead inside the large-scale model cake. Not surprisingly, the police latch on to Ravello as the prime suspect and are unwilling to consider the possibility that he is innocent. In order to clear her father’s name and the reputation of the catering hall, Mia must find the perpetrator. What I loved most about this story is, well, everything. As a mystery, Here Comes the Body is top-notch. Mia is a strong, clever woman, with an endearing empathetic side. She’s the kind of person who will tamp down her own fears in order to fight for what’s right. Her journey to exonerate her father is multi-faceted, with enough twists and turns – and interesting settings – to keep the reader entertained and guessing until the end. And, although the book is not set in a small town (as are most cozy mysteries), the city here takes on a life of its own, bringing a breath of refreshing realism into the story. And the mob connection, while not overdone, often provides a touch of humor.The characters, too, are fresh and appealing. From her Nonna, the perfect Italian grandmother, to Ravello and his quest to go “legit,” from her imprisoned brother, Posi, and his attempt to gain social media stardom, to the reporter who doggedly pursues Mia, the story is peppered with characters destined to touch your heart. Even the pets take a turn to shine. The subplot featuring Mia’s missing bird, Pizzazz, is one of the best parts of the book, as are Mia’s heartfelt interactions with the pet bereavement group who meets regularly at the catering hall.With its New York setting and its mobster connections, Here Comes the Body offers a new and exciting spin on the cozy mystery. But at its heart, the book packs a punch where it counts, delivering an intriguing mystery and a compelling protagonist. I am so looking forward to the second book in this innovative new series.Note: I received an ARC of Here Comes the Body from NetGalley and Kensington Books. The above is my honest review.
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  • Jeanie Jackson
    January 1, 1970
    Funny, unexpected, fantastic! The name may be different, the culture may be different, but the outstanding writing, amazing characters, and complex mystery are all there! Here Comes the Body, the first book in A Catering Hall Mystery by Maria DiRico, is as captivating as the Cajun Country series she writes as Ellen Byron. I am a huge fan of that series so I requested Here Comes the Body from NetGalley and it was awesome.Mia Corina is coming home glad to leave the town where her maybe-late Funny, unexpected, fantastic! The name may be different, the culture may be different, but the outstanding writing, amazing characters, and complex mystery are all there! Here Comes the Body, the first book in A Catering Hall Mystery by Maria DiRico, is as captivating as the Cajun Country series she writes as Ellen Byron. I am a huge fan of that series so I requested Here Comes the Body from NetGalley and it was awesome.Mia Corina is coming home glad to leave the town where her maybe-late husband destroyed her self-confidence and the investigation into his disappearance that destroyed her reputation. Even more, she is thrilled to be heading to a job running an event center in Queens with her father who spent most of her life overseeing casinos for a mafia Family. Now he has been given the chance to take over an event centered the Family accepted as payment of a gambling debt. It has to be a legitimate enterprise for the feds to focus on so it has to make money but it must maintain a clean reputation! Naturally having a dead body turning up isn't exactly what the Family wants connected with the place, and just as naturally, the police are more than glad to have an obvious suspect, one they have long wanted nab. To prevent her father losing his chance at the straight-and-narrow or even going back to prison, Mia feels compelled to find the killer. She sure doesn’t trust the detective on the case.Add her old friend Jamie and the delightful senior citizens surrounding Mia to the glitz and glam of the wealth, mix a possible connection and in a murder, and you have Here Comes the Body, a great start to what is sure to be a series to be read over and over again.My thanks to NetGalley and Kensington Publishing for a chance for an early read of such a fun book! The opinions expressed are solely mine and are based on my love of the book, Here Comes the Body!Maria DiRico/Ellen Byron maintains her spot of my top authors list. I can’t wait for the next book!
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  • Christine
    January 1, 1970
    This is the first book in the Catering Hall mystery series. Mia Carina has come back to Queens, NY after the disappearance of her cheating husband in a boating accident in Florida. She is running the Bell View, a catering hall, with her father, Ravello. During Mia's first event a body turns up in the giant cake with a check written by Mia's father. The police immediately suspect Ravello because of his not so legal past. Mia is determined to prove her father is innocent.This had everything I love This is the first book in the Catering Hall mystery series. Mia Carina has come back to Queens, NY after the disappearance of her cheating husband in a boating accident in Florida. She is running the Bell View, a catering hall, with her father, Ravello. During Mia's first event a body turns up in the giant cake with a check written by Mia's father. The police immediately suspect Ravello because of his not so legal past. Mia is determined to prove her father is innocent.This had everything I love in a cozy mystery. It had great characters, humor, and great setting, and a well crafted mystery. The characters were well written. I absolutely loved Mia's Nonna and her friends. They added so much humor to the book along with Mia's brother wanting to become another hot convict . The depictions of the culture and the setting of the book were perfect. The mystery was well woven. There were numerous suspects but I didn't figure out who the killer was until the end. I actually liked that character. There were recipes at the end which I always enjoy. This is definitely a series that I will be looking for more in. It was that good.
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  • Jerri Cachero
    January 1, 1970
    Mia Carina has had a rough few months - her cheating husband disappeared in an accident on the water, she lost her beloved parakeet, Pizzazz and has moved back home (from Florida) to Queens to help her ex-mob father run a catering hall. Add in a murder mystery, wiseguys & "made " men, a handsome childhood friend, a loving nonna, a cat named Doorstop and you have a fast-paced fun mystery you won't want to put down! I loved this new series! Mia is smart, fun, determined to make the catering Mia Carina has had a rough few months - her cheating husband disappeared in an accident on the water, she lost her beloved parakeet, Pizzazz and has moved back home (from Florida) to Queens to help her ex-mob father run a catering hall. Add in a murder mystery, wiseguys & "made " men, a handsome childhood friend, a loving nonna, a cat named Doorstop and you have a fast-paced fun mystery you won't want to put down! I loved this new series! Mia is smart, fun, determined to make the catering hall a success and a character you root for. The setting was fresh and interesting - I enjoyed the descriptions of the neighborhood and all of the entertaining characters that are part of Mia's world. Her nonna is tough, stubborn and loving and a hoot!I can't wait for the next adventure!I received an ARC from the author with no expectation of a review.
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  • Tina
    January 1, 1970
    Here Comes the body is an exciting first in a series. The cast of characters were surprisingly different in a terrific way.As in everyone being in trouble with the law. Mia is a favorite character. She along with her dad who is in the mob are running A Catering Hall as a legit business. I loved their relationship. Mia is soon tracking down a killer when a internet call girl is discovered in a cake for a party they are catering. Mia finds herself in some hairy situations to save her dad and the Here Comes the body is an exciting first in a series. The cast of characters were surprisingly different in a terrific way.As in everyone being in trouble with the law. Mia is a favorite character. She along with her dad who is in the mob are running A Catering Hall as a legit business. I loved their relationship. Mia is soon tracking down a killer when a internet call girl is discovered in a cake for a party they are catering. Mia finds herself in some hairy situations to save her dad and the business. The killer was a surprise,someone I least expected.I look forward to reading future books in this series.
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  • Lisa Morin
    January 1, 1970
    Mia Carina is working in her father’s catering hall in Queens, and when she discovers a dead body inside a cake during a bachelor party, she has no idea that she's going to become involved in a crazy murder investigation. Her father is a suspect but she refuses to believe he could be guilty of such a crime.I was hoping for an immediate connection with the main character, but it didn't happen.The story just didn't appeal to me, but it was extremely well told and well written.#HereComestheBody Mia Carina is working in her father’s catering hall in Queens, and when she discovers a dead body inside a cake during a bachelor party, she has no idea that she's going to become involved in a crazy murder investigation. Her father is a suspect but she refuses to believe he could be guilty of such a crime.I was hoping for an immediate connection with the main character, but it didn't happen.The story just didn't appeal to me, but it was extremely well told and well written.#HereComestheBody #NetGalley
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  • Marie McNary
    January 1, 1970
    This is such a fun book. I was entertained from beginning to end and even had some laugh out loud moments. Mia and her family are full of love and spirit and are the type of people you’d love to be friends with in real life. This series has so much potential and I can’t wait to see where it goes next!https://cozyexperience.com/here-comes...
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  • Laura
    January 1, 1970
    This is a great start to a new series! I really enjoyed the characters which are a mob family trying their best to go straight and keep their noses clean! Lots of humor, a good mystery that kept you guessing plus some delicious sounding recipes! This author also writes under the name of Ellen Byron and I LOVE her bayou series. I highly recommend you pick up this book when it is released (I had an ARC).
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  • Patty
    January 1, 1970
    Here Comes the Body by Maria DiRico is the 1st book in A Catering Hall Mystery series, and it is off to a good start. Mia family is tied to the mob, and when Mia's cheating husband goes missing, the Florida's police suspect her and her family, so she returns home to New York City. Mia had to leave her old job, and she is now helping her father in his catering hall. At Mia first event, a bachelor party, a women is found dead in the cake, she was suspose to jusmp out of. I enjoyed this book, and Here Comes the Body by Maria DiRico is the 1st book in A Catering Hall Mystery series, and it is off to a good start. Mia family is tied to the mob, and when Mia's cheating husband goes missing, the Florida's police suspect her and her family, so she returns home to New York City. Mia had to leave her old job, and she is now helping her father in his catering hall. At Mia first event, a bachelor party, a women is found dead in the cake, she was suspose to jusmp out of. I enjoyed this book, and look forward to the next book in the series and watching the series grow. I received a complimentary copy of this book. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.
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  • Karen
    January 1, 1970
    This was an enjoyable first in a new series.Solid interesting characters and a well written whodunit.I look forward to reading the next book in the series.I voluntarily reviewed an advance reader copy of this book.
  • Kristina
    January 1, 1970
    Here Comes the Body by Maria DiRico has Mia Carina returning to Queens for a fresh start. She is thankful to no longer be under suspicion for her husband’s disappearance. Mia will be working for her father as assistant manager at Belle View Catering Hall. Ravello Carina, Mia’s father, is taking a stab at running a legit business which pleases Mia. Mia’s first event is a bachelor party with a woman popping out of a cake. Things go sideways when they find a woman who threatened Ravello a few days Here Comes the Body by Maria DiRico has Mia Carina returning to Queens for a fresh start. She is thankful to no longer be under suspicion for her husband’s disappearance. Mia will be working for her father as assistant manager at Belle View Catering Hall. Ravello Carina, Mia’s father, is taking a stab at running a legit business which pleases Mia. Mia’s first event is a bachelor party with a woman popping out of a cake. Things go sideways when they find a woman who threatened Ravello a few days earlier inside the cake with a knife sticking out of her chest. With Ravello as the police’s prime suspect, Mia begins searching for the real culprit. Here Comes the Body is the exciting debut of A Catering Hall Mystery series. Mia Carina has had a rough time recently with her husband disappearing and the police accusing her of offing him (her family has a reputation). She is glad to be back in Astoria with her family. Mia can visit her brother, Posi during visiting hours at Triborough Correctional Facility where the guards know the family by name. Mia will be working at Belle View Catering Hall which a man gave up to cover his gambling debts. Ravello, Mia’s father, is the manager and Mia will be handling events. Belle View is run down and needs a facelift (get rid of the 80s vibe). Mia has not been home a week when a body if found inside a cake. Someone is framing Ravello and Mia does not appreciate it. She begins questioning attendees of the bachelor party in hopes of narrowing in on the killer. The mystery had several viable suspects. I had a good time following Mia on her quest to clear her father’s name. I thought Here Comes the Body contained good writing, interesting characters and humor. I laughed several times while reading. I loved Mia’s grandmother, Elisabetta Carina. She is an Italian grandmother who makes mouthwatering dishes. The ladies on her block compete to have the best decorations for each holiday (and other things as well). There are a couple of side stories as well. A greedy realtor is trying to get senior citizens to sell their homes and move into an assisted living facility. 46th Place is the new hot area where people want to take the homes, gut them and modernize them. Something is going on with Evans, the sous chef, as well. Cozy mystery readers will be delighted with Here Comes the Body which is written by Ellen Byron under the pen name Maria DiRico. Here Comes the Body is a humorous & intriguing cozy mystery with a murdered moll, a vanished feathered friend, transportation troubles, frightful free furniture, a relentless reporter, and a matchmaking mobster.
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  • K.A. Davis
    January 1, 1970
    HERE COMES THE BODY, the first book in the brand new Catering Hall Mystery series by Maria DiRico (aka award-winning author Ellen Byron) combines the perfect balance of a clever mystery, zany characters, and witty humor. It captured my imagination and my attention so thoroughly, I didn’t want to put it down until I’d read the very last word. As the daughter of a mobster (who’s trying to go straight), protagonist Mia Carina has developed a very strong personality and has what it takes to meet HERE COMES THE BODY, the first book in the brand new Catering Hall Mystery series by Maria DiRico (aka award-winning author Ellen Byron) combines the perfect balance of a clever mystery, zany characters, and witty humor. It captured my imagination and my attention so thoroughly, I didn’t want to put it down until I’d read the very last word. As the daughter of a mobster (who’s trying to go straight), protagonist Mia Carina has developed a very strong personality and has what it takes to meet life head-on and then move on (like being a person of interest in her cheating husband’s disappearance). The smart-alecky responses to situations Mia finds herself in, provides plenty of laugh out loud moments, while heart-felt scenes concerning her missing parakeet brings an emotional depth to the story. I greatly enjoyed that the author embraces the vibes of Queens, New York, instead of focusing on the typical pretentiousness of Manhattan. The way she weaves the comparisons into the story provides another layer of humor.The author’s descriptive voice makes the setting come alive so I felt like I was visiting the Astoria neighborhood as she captures the flavors of the Italian and Greek residents. And oh what fun those senior neighborhood women are! Heading up the “Army” is Mia’s elderly Italian grandmother, Elisabetta. She and her friends add another dimension of humor to the story. Don’t think for a moment that since the story is filled with humor and entertaining characters, that the mystery has been overlooked. It hasn’t in the least. HERE COMES THE BODY is well-plotted with sub-plots that intertwine with the main murder mystery, and plenty of shady characters to keep the reader guessing. Ms. DiRico touches on crime themes that many cozy mysteries might shy away from. It has a bit of an edgier feel than a typical “English Village” cozy, yet she makes it work beautifully and I am eager to read future books in this new series!I was provided an advance copy. All thoughts and opinions are my own.
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  • Kim
    January 1, 1970
    I really, really love finding new mystery series! Here Comes the Body is the first in A Catering Hall Mystery series by Maria DiRico aka Ellen Byron. You may be familiar with Ellen Byron’s Cajun Country Mystery series. I’ve read the first two in that series, which takes place in Louisiana, and really enjoyed them. I enjoyed that Mia is a party planner since that is one of the things I’ve always thought I would enjoy doing. But after DJing for about five years, I realized I don’t want to deal I really, really love finding new mystery series! Here Comes the Body is the first in A Catering Hall Mystery series by Maria DiRico aka Ellen Byron. You may be familiar with Ellen Byron’s Cajun Country Mystery series. I’ve read the first two in that series, which takes place in Louisiana, and really enjoyed them. I enjoyed that Mia is a party planner since that is one of the things I’ve always thought I would enjoy doing. But after DJing for about five years, I realized I don’t want to deal with all the craziness that goes into weddings and other events. I can see a lot of potential for future books when it comes to the shenanigans of people at different parties. The characters were so much fun. I love grandma and can’t wait to see what future adventures her and her group of neighborhood ladies find themselves in. I also enjoyed meeting the people in the pet support group and the new neighbors that moved in down the road, and I can’t wait to get to know more about them. And then there’s the whole mafia angle, which is a riot. At first Maria was trying to distance herself from it, but as the book progressed she started to embrace it. I do enjoy books on the mob, so I’m happy to find a cozy series that includes them. Once again there is so much potential for future books in regards to the mafia aspect. I also really enjoy that the love interest isn’t a cop, lawyer, or some other official that can look the other way when Mia needs some information. Instead he’s a cab driver studying for his psychology degree, oh, and he happens to be the son of the mafia boss. That is such a nice change of pace. A fun start to a new cozy series, and one that I highly recommend!!!
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  • Toni
    January 1, 1970
    4.5 StarsThis is the first book in the A Catering Hall Mystery series by Maria DiRico.WHAT A GREAT CONCEPT FOR A COZY SERIES! I am hooked!I have to say right off that this was quite a unique take on a cozy mystery. Mia’s family used to work for the mob. Uh, what?! And I have a feeling these ties will factor into many mystery plots in the future. The field is ripe for a cozy of this type. So refreshing!Mia is starting anew after her husband was lost at sea. I am sure this fact will pop up in a 4.5 StarsThis is the first book in the A Catering Hall Mystery series by Maria DiRico.WHAT A GREAT CONCEPT FOR A COZY SERIES! I am hooked!I have to say right off that this was quite a unique take on a cozy mystery. Mia’s family used to work for the mob. Uh, what?! And I have a feeling these ties will factor into many mystery plots in the future. The field is ripe for a cozy of this type. So refreshing!Mia is starting anew after her husband was lost at sea. I am sure this fact will pop up in a different novel. Like I believe he is really dead. You could use all the soap opera tropes in a book like this. Back from the dead would be perfect for a future book theme. She is living with her nonna and being the catering event planner for her Dad’s catering hall venue. I t is no wonder she falls into a murder mystery. The setting of Queens and NYC is so perfect for this series! I am salivating wondering what the future could bring with this whole concept.Her dad seems like a kind of misunderstood character. People fear him, give him what he wants but he has really gone straight. But you ponder if maybe he is still in “the business” from time to time as you read along. Mia uses this fear of her father’s past to her advantage more than once in this book. The whole thing is just a hoot and a half.Really enjoyed this and am looking forward for more to come.If you love a good cozy mystery, you have to check this one out. You won’t be disappointed.I received this as an ARC (Advanced Reader Copy) in return for an honest review. I thank NetGalley, the publisher and the author for allowing me to read this title.
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  • Anjana
    January 1, 1970
    This book is for the die-hard cozy mystery fans. If you are one of them and are on the lookout for the latest oddball situation which is rife with potential for chaos, this has it all. It has a family with ties to the Family and all other mob-related conversation. Our amateur sleuth is Mia Carina, recently (supposed) widow and persecuted witness who has fled back home to Queens, NY and to make her father set up a legal Function hall business and run it. She has ideas and enthusiasm, and This book is for the die-hard cozy mystery fans. If you are one of them and are on the lookout for the latest oddball situation which is rife with potential for chaos, this has it all. It has a family with ties to the Family and all other mob-related conversation. Our amateur sleuth is Mia Carina, recently (supposed) widow and persecuted witness who has fled back home to Queens, NY and to make her father set up a legal Function hall business and run it. She has ideas and enthusiasm, and unfortunately, she also is primed to face all kinds of setbacks. The first of many is a dead body in a cake and the woman was last seen hurling accusations at her father. With his previous convictions and known mob affiliations, he is also the main focus of the police investigation. Then in a very obvious continuation of the story, Mia takes on the charge to find the true culprit. She has a little help and a whole lot of distractions, but she works on it bit by bit and actually just stumbles on the final piece of the puzzle. There are some high tension situations but the best factor of the story, and hopefully, the rest of the series is the supporting cast. From the spunky grandmother to the shady realtor, from the bookish childhood ex to the new neighbours and others throw so much colour into the story that despite not really digging into the plot of the murder itself, I enjoyed the time I spent with them all.I received an ARC thanks to NetGalley and the publishers, but the review is solely based on my own reading experience.
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