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Here Comes the Body

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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 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!


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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 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!

30 review for Here Comes the Body

  1. 5 out of 5

    James

    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 i 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.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Natalia R

    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 i 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.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Carrie

    Here Comes the Body by Maria DiRico is the first book in the new cozy A Catering Hall Mystery series. As with most cozy mystery series this book contains it’s own mystery that is solved so it could be read as a standalone if choosing to do so. Here Comes the Body introduces readers to Mia Carina who has moved back to her hometown of Astoria in Queens, NY after the disappearance of her husband. Mia was initially a suspect in her husband’s disappearance but now that she’s cleared she wanted to be w Here Comes the Body by Maria DiRico is the first book in the new cozy A Catering Hall Mystery series. As with most cozy mystery series this book contains it’s own mystery that is solved so it could be read as a standalone if choosing to do so. Here Comes the Body introduces readers to Mia Carina who has moved back to her hometown of Astoria in Queens, NY after the disappearance of her husband. Mia was initially a suspect in her husband’s disappearance but now that she’s cleared she wanted to be with her family and decided to take a job at Belle View, her father’s catering hall. Mia quickly finds herself in charge of a bachelor party with a questionable groom but never expected the dancer that should pop out of the cake was now a murder victim instead. With Mia’s family not strangers to the law her father is immediately a suspect leaving her to do a little investigating of her own. Picking up Here Comes the Body I had no idea that the new protagonist in this one had ties to the mob and that would be a big part of the story from looking at the cover or description of this one. For me once getting into the whole crime family I just really never connected with this one as it’s really not my cup of tea. There are some funny elements and I’m sure others would enjoy the mob-ish mystery but I prefer a more “normal” type of lead myself so this one ended up a bit meh to me. I received an advance copy from the publisher via NetGalley. For more reviews please visit https://carriesbookreviews.com/

  4. 4 out of 5

    Chatting About

    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 enjoy 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.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Mark Baker

    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 dea 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.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Gloria

    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 illega 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.

  7. 4 out of 5

    LORI CASWELL

    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 bache 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!

  8. 4 out of 5

    Tina

    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 b 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.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Shawna Shaheen

    Mia is an Italian mobster daughter. Mia fled to New York her hometown from Florida because her husband became missing and people suspected she killed him. So Mia came home in New York to her family. Her father ownes Banquet Manor. A wedding, a birthday any kind of occasion party venue. Mia father is trying to be legit and not do anything with mob anymore. This book had a scene from a club they went Mia went to making remember when I used have fun at clubs. This is a cute story about Maria famili Mia is an Italian mobster daughter. Mia fled to New York her hometown from Florida because her husband became missing and people suspected she killed him. So Mia came home in New York to her family. Her father ownes Banquet Manor. A wedding, a birthday any kind of occasion party venue. Mia father is trying to be legit and not do anything with mob anymore. This book had a scene from a club they went Mia went to making remember when I used have fun at clubs. This is a cute story about Maria families. Really enjoyed it

  10. 5 out of 5

    Carrie Schmidt (Reading is My SuperPower)

    A teddy bear of a mobster trying to stay on the straight and narrow. A daughter recovering from a disastrous end to a problematic marriage, coming home to work with her dad at a rundown catering hall in Queens. A true Italian nonna who is delightfully endearing even with all her spitfire feistiness. A mob Family you can’t really ever leave. A murder at a bachelor party. All of these ingredients – combined with a host of other colorful supporting characters (Cammie!) – add up to a fun, if a bit e A teddy bear of a mobster trying to stay on the straight and narrow. A daughter recovering from a disastrous end to a problematic marriage, coming home to work with her dad at a rundown catering hall in Queens. A true Italian nonna who is delightfully endearing even with all her spitfire feistiness. A mob Family you can’t really ever leave. A murder at a bachelor party. All of these ingredients – combined with a host of other colorful supporting characters (Cammie!) – add up to a fun, if a bit edgy, new cozy mystery. Mia is a character I liked immediately – she’s very multi-dimensional, and the author reveals new layers to Mia’s story as the plot unfolds. I also loved her father Ravello and her grandmother. Both characters are vividly-drawn and full of personality, and they helped us see Mia in different lights as well as advanced the story in their own ways. Another highlight of this book is the Astoria neighborhood where Mia and her grandmother live – the camaraderie, the diversity, the friendly (sort-of lol) rivalries, the Army (a bunch of elderly ladies) who power-walk (gossip) regularly, and the clear respect by the author for these kind of long-established neighborhoods. It made me long to live somewhere like that too. The plot is full of twists and turns and red herrings, as Mia deals with all the craziness of event planning in a catering hall owned by the mob even as she also tries to clear her father’s name in the murder. It’s well-developed and nicely thought out, and while I wasn’t surprised by the ending necessarily I also didn’t have it figured out until the reveal was nearly upon us. Bottom Line: Colorful and quirky characters give this book its heart, and I’m looking forward to keeping up with this motley crew as the series continues. It took a bit for me to assure myself that I was indeed reading the first book, since Mia’s backstory often read like it was summing up something I was expected to already be familiar with. Still, overall I enjoyed the tone of the book and the stage it sets for future installments of the Catering Hall Mysteries. Reviewer’s Note: Keep in mind that, by nature of the story & characters, there are some racier elements to this cozy mystery – innuendo, suggestive language, a stripper, etc. – but it never goes beyond that and there were only a couple of curse words, too. (I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy of this book) first seen at Reading Is My SuperPower

  11. 5 out of 5

    Leslie aka StoreyBook Reviews

    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 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.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Alyssa Maxwell

    Having lived in Queens as a child, reading this book was a bit like going home. I found the setting immediately recognizable, and the characters and sights sparked memories of my own childhood, which is all to say the details felt completely authentic. But if I came for the memories, I stayed for the humor and the fun of watching everything go wrong that can go wrong in Mia Carina's life, forcing her to relearn how to navigate (because she's been away), all the social nuances of being an "outer Having lived in Queens as a child, reading this book was a bit like going home. I found the setting immediately recognizable, and the characters and sights sparked memories of my own childhood, which is all to say the details felt completely authentic. But if I came for the memories, I stayed for the humor and the fun of watching everything go wrong that can go wrong in Mia Carina's life, forcing her to relearn how to navigate (because she's been away), all the social nuances of being an "outer borroughs" girl in New York City. Luckily Mia, and the author, know how to find the humor in any situation, which makes this a perfect escape read on a summer's afternoon.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Lesa

    Maria DiRico may be a new name for all of us. However, the copyright page, and even a note I received from the publicist named Ellen Byron, author of the award-winning Cajun Country series, as the author of this first Catering Hall Mystery. Rest assured that Here Comes the Body is not only a polished first in a series, it's also fun with a great deal of humor. After a failed marriage with a cheating husband who disappeared on a boat, Mia Carina is back in her Queens neighborhood of Astoria, livin Maria DiRico may be a new name for all of us. However, the copyright page, and even a note I received from the publicist named Ellen Byron, author of the award-winning Cajun Country series, as the author of this first Catering Hall Mystery. Rest assured that Here Comes the Body is not only a polished first in a series, it's also fun with a great deal of humor. After a failed marriage with a cheating husband who disappeared on a boat, Mia Carina is back in her Queens neighborhood of Astoria, living upstairs from her grandmother, her nonna, and eager to start work as assistant general manager at her father's party venue, Belle View Banquet Manor. But, nothing is simple in Mia's life. Her father, Ravello Carina, is a well-known mobster who is trying to go straight by making a success of the event center. But, before Mia can even meet the staff, a woman barges in, claims Ravello met her on a dating site, and "Angie here doesn't do freebies." Angie is easily removed by the chef, a former army cook. Even so, Mia feels a little uneasy. She's smart to feel uneasy. When a gigantic cake is wheeled in for a bachelor party, no stripper pops out of the cake. Instead, Mia finds Angie's body, stabbed to death, inside the cake. It's easy for a lazy policeman to point to Ravello as a killer. It's his event center. He supposedly knew and had a run-in with the victim. And, he's a mobster connected to the Boldano family. A fire at the manor, and a second body are enough to convince a prosecutor and the newspapers that Mia's father is guilty. What no one counts on is Mia. She's whip-smart, shrewd when it comes to crooked dealings and men (other than the one she married), and she's quickly learning how to deal with girlfriends, brides and mothers intent on having the perfect event. Put all of that together, and she uses her knowledge to track down people who might want her father out of the way. Mia has street smarts. Donny Boldano, head of the Boldano family, tells Mia "You've got your mother's looks, your father's big heart, and your nonna's moxie." As an amateur sleuth, and strong protagonist, she needs all of those qualities. She defends the Italian and Greek grandmothers in the neighborhood from a greedy realtor. She knows how to manipulate them, and deal with the "Family". But, she's also family to the prison guards where her father has done time, and where her older brother is currently serving time. The scenes at the prison are some of the most entertaining ones in the book. Loyal to her own family, tender-hearted over pets, kind to grandmothers, respectful to her elders. Mia Carina takes some great steps forward in this promising first book. But, the author is as shrewd as her character, and there are a couple threads left dangling for future books. I can't wait.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Mary Brown

    Here Comes The Body A Catering Hall Mystery, Book #1 Maria DiRico 5 Stars Synopsis: 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 Body A Catering Hall Mystery, Book #1 Maria DiRico 5 Stars Synopsis: 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. .

  15. 5 out of 5

    beachbum bookworm

    My first visit to Queens. I met up with Mia who had recently moved back from Florida after her cheating husband goes missing in a boating accident. She explained she was going to be working for Belle view banquet hall...not to be mistaken for Bellevue the psych hospital also in New York. Her father a self-proclaimed former mob enforcer acquired the building as payment for gambling debts. He insisted much to Mia’s delight he was “going straight”. Mia is going to manage the events, and I accompani My first visit to Queens. I met up with Mia who had recently moved back from Florida after her cheating husband goes missing in a boating accident. She explained she was going to be working for Belle view banquet hall...not to be mistaken for Bellevue the psych hospital also in New York. Her father a self-proclaimed former mob enforcer acquired the building as payment for gambling debts. He insisted much to Mia’s delight he was “going straight”. Mia is going to manage the events, and I accompanied her to her first official gig. It was a bachelor party for a groom who Mia described as quite the lech. There was also a anniversary party the same night, and a lot of hustle and bustle between the two events. Things were going very smoothly when we got word that the woman who was supposed to pop out of the cake at the bachelor party...well.... didn’t. It’s hard to make an appearance when you have been murdered. Alongside the body is a check for a million dollars signed by Mia’s father Ravello. Things became even more complicated when Mia explained the victim had been into bell view a few days earlier claiming her father owed her money for a “date”. Mia and I decided we needed to figure out what happened before her dad either was sent back to prison with her brother or went back to the “family”. My thoughts: I love the mob (movies, books, tv, you name it), and I really wanted to love this book, but I thought it was just ok. The cover is great, but I thought the books topic just wasn’t the best for a cozy theme. It fell in between not being violent enough for a mob topic, and not being cozy enough for a cozy. I did love the spunky grandmother! I also liked Mia’s character as the sleuth. I thought she was independent and smart. She didn’t make some of the bad choices, and put herself in dangerous situations that amateur sleuths often fall prey to. I also thought the author did a great job with the mystery. There were lots of red herrings which kept me guessing...never did figure it out...well never figured it out correctly. Nicely done Maria...nicely done! I thought there were some very funny elements to the story. Being the sucker that I am for quirky elderly characters...I loved the brief mention of Nonna’s “army”....a group of elderly women who get together to gossip...I mean power walk...power walk. I also thought Mia’s brother Posi trying to go viral as a hot convict was hilarious. For these reasons I will be giving this series another shot and will be awaiting book two. In the meantime I’m going to go try one of the delicious sounding recipes included in the book...probably eggplant parmigiana...Arrivederci! check out my blog at: http://beachbumbookworm.com/ I received an ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review. I would like to thank Netgalley, the author Maria DiRico, and the publisher for this opportunity.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Yvonne

    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 br 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.

  17. 4 out of 5

    The Cozy Review

    On Sale February 25th, 2020 Here 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, 2020 Here 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.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Sandra

    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 leadin 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.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Angela (Kentuckybooklover) Brocato-Skaggs

    Mia with her mob family and Italian grandma is just the medicine I needed during this crazy time. I laughed so often my husband had to ask what I was reading. The look on his face when I said a cozy mystery. He knows enough about cozy mysteries to know murders occur. He may be worried about me laughing at murder. I will correct him one day that I wasn't laughing at murder. One day... This was a great start to a new series. I almost did not request from NetGalley until a read a review from another Mia with her mob family and Italian grandma is just the medicine I needed during this crazy time. I laughed so often my husband had to ask what I was reading. The look on his face when I said a cozy mystery. He knows enough about cozy mysteries to know murders occur. He may be worried about me laughing at murder. I will correct him one day that I wasn't laughing at murder. One day... This was a great start to a new series. I almost did not request from NetGalley until a read a review from another reviewer and he raved about the book. If you need laughs but still want to read your cozies then this is the book for you. Mia's grandma is a doll. I want to dive into the book and sample her cooking. A bonus: recipes provided in the back. Not all Italian either there are some yummy Greek ones as well. If I have the ingredients I might be trying a few. I received a complimentary copy from the publisher, Kensington, through NetGalley. Any and all opinions expressed in the above review are entirely my own.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Doward Wilson

    An engaging and funny mystery complete with the Italian Mob and little old ladies. This new series delivers on all counts and then some. I highly recommend it for the perfect night's entertainment! An engaging and funny mystery complete with the Italian Mob and little old ladies. This new series delivers on all counts and then some. I highly recommend it for the perfect night's entertainment!

  21. 4 out of 5

    Angela Holland

    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.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Meg

    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.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Tari

    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 tha 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....;)

  24. 4 out of 5

    Sue Em

    New series debut is an absolute delight. In fact, my only quibble is how long must I wait for the next one to be published. Within a few pages, I was captivated by Mia Carina, newly single after her unfaithful husband disappears and is presumed dead. Luckily for Mia, she was cleared, even though she had to endure being tabloid fodder for awhile. Of course, she was used to notoriety being the the daughter of Ravello Casino ...of The Family. Returning to Queens, she starts work at an event venue b New series debut is an absolute delight. In fact, my only quibble is how long must I wait for the next one to be published. Within a few pages, I was captivated by Mia Carina, newly single after her unfaithful husband disappears and is presumed dead. Luckily for Mia, she was cleared, even though she had to endure being tabloid fodder for awhile. Of course, she was used to notoriety being the the daughter of Ravello Casino ...of The Family. Returning to Queens, she starts work at an event venue being managed by her father in his attempt to go legit. The first event includes a body inside a cake and Mia is on the case to keep the venue open and keep her father's name cleared. The heroine and mileau are fresh. I'm fact, all the characters are engaging. Plot was sufficiently complex to keep you guessing. About halfway through, I discovered the author is a pseudonym for another one of my cozy favorites, Ellen Bryon. Keep them coming whichever name you are writing under, and I will keep reading!

  25. 5 out of 5

    Libby Klein

    A fun start to a new series! And the recipes sound fabulous!

  26. 4 out of 5

    Icewineanne

    Hmmm....sorry to report that this was a dnf for me. I had a library copy & thought it would be a fun read, especially as the writer also writes the Cajun County series under the name Ellen Byron. Haven’t read any of those yet, but based on this book i might take a pass on them too. Unfortunately I found this book just too silly & predictable. Also mob comedy became tiresome. Life is too short to read eye-rollers. Glad that some of my fellow readers enjoyed it. For me it’s onward to the next book!

  27. 5 out of 5

    Marsha

    First book in a new series set in Queens. The characters are well flushed out and appealing. Mia's come home after a disastrous marriage. Is she a widow? The unknown has her returning to work with her father in a new business venture. The mystery kept me guessing. Thoroughly enjoyable read. First book in a new series set in Queens. The characters are well flushed out and appealing. Mia's come home after a disastrous marriage. Is she a widow? The unknown has her returning to work with her father in a new business venture. The mystery kept me guessing. Thoroughly enjoyable read.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Peggy R

    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, a 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.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Christine

    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.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Sue Em

    New series debut is an absolute delight. In fact, my only quibble is how long must I wait for the next one to be published. Within a few pages, I was captivated by Mia Carina, newly single after her unfaithful husband disappears and is presumed dead. Luckily for Mia, she was cleared, even though she had to endure being tabloid fodder for awhile. Of course, she was used to notoriety being the the daughter of Ravello Casino ...of The Family. Returning to Queens, she starts work at an event venue b New series debut is an absolute delight. In fact, my only quibble is how long must I wait for the next one to be published. Within a few pages, I was captivated by Mia Carina, newly single after her unfaithful husband disappears and is presumed dead. Luckily for Mia, she was cleared, even though she had to endure being tabloid fodder for awhile. Of course, she was used to notoriety being the the daughter of Ravello Casino ...of The Family. Returning to Queens, she starts work at an event venue being managed by her father in his attempt to go legit. The first event includes a body inside a cake and Mia is on the case to keep the venue open and keep her father's name cleared. The heroine and mileau are fresh. I'm fact, all the characters are engaging. Plot was sufficiently complex to keep you guessing. About halfway through, I discovered the author is a pseudonym for another one of my cozy favorites, Ellen Bryon. Keep them coming whichever name you are writing under, and I will keep reading! Thanks to netgalley and the publisher for the opportunity to read this book in exchange for an honest review.

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