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I am excited to share my thought with you today about Long Island Iced Tina!
Long Island Iced Tina (A Catering Hall Mystery)
by Maria DiRico
About Long Island Iced Tina
Long Island Iced Tina (A Catering Hall Mystery)
2nd in Series
Setting – New York
Publisher: Kensington (February 23, 2021)
Mass Market Paperback: 288 pages
Digital ASIN: B089NCJ9NS
Mia Carina is back in the borough of Queens—in charge of the family catering hall, Belle View Banquet Manor, and keeping her nonna company. But some events—like murder—are not the kind you can schedule . . .
Mia’s newly pregnant friend Nicole plans to hold a shower at Belle View—but Nicole also has to attend one that her competitive (and mysteriously rich) stepmother, Tina, is throwing at the fanciest place in Queens. It’s a good chance for Mia to snoop on a competitor, especially since doing a search for “how to run a catering hall” can get you only so far.
Mia tags along at the lavish party, but the ambience suffers at Nicole’s Belle View shower when a fight breaks out—and then, oddly, a long-missing and valuable stolen painting is unwrapped by the mom-to-be. Tina is clearly shocked to see it. But not as shocked as Mia is when, soon afterward, she spots the lifeless body of a party guest floating in the marina . . .
Italian recipes included!
Mia Carina manages Belle View Banquet Manor, a catering hall her father, former mob enforcer, Ravello Carina, acquired through interesting circumstances. She is excited that one of her upcoming events is a baby shower for her friend Nicole. But then she learns that this is not the only shower being held for the mother-to-be. Her stepmother, Tina has booked another shower at the ritzy Versailles on the Park. Nicole invites Mia to the other shower and she gladly accepts because it will give her the chance to check out the upscale competition. She also sees the very selfish style of Tina and understands how she was given the nickname of step-monster.
The shower at Belle View gets off to a great start, that is until Tina shows up unfashionably late and gets into a fight with the host, Nicole’s grandmother, Minnie. The event really gets even more crazy when one of the gifts appears to be a priceless stolen painting from the step-monster herself. But Tina denies the gift is from her especially when the police arrive to investigate the artwork that has been missing for years. Thinking the worst is behind her Mia is ready to head home but then she sees the body, the body floating in the marina behind Belle View.
Ms. DiRico has created such wonderful characters. Our protagonist Mia Carina is trying so hard to make Belle View Banquet Manor a success while doing a little sleuthing on the side. She is surrounded by a wide-ranging group of supporting characters that will have you laughing out loud and shaking your head. Her Nonna is involved in many things throughout the story but one of her exploits had me laughing so hard I had tears running down my face. Mia is also trying to master a skill with her “friend” Jamie’s help which also generated some comedic moments. I know murder is a serious subject but this author knows how to bring the funny in all the right places. I loved the way she did this.
Okay, back to the serious murder. The author plotted a strong complex mystery with a variety of facets. We are introduced to several new characters/suspects as Mia chases down clues, sometimes with Jamie’s help. I really enjoyed following along with Mia for each twist and clue, and there were a lot. My suspect list shuffled several times. The big reveal was very surprising and exciting. In addition to the main mystery, the author blends in some memorable subplots.
I have so much fun visiting this Italian family for all the crazy exploits. There truly is never a dull moment when the Carina family is involved.
Long Island Iced Tina is a captivating cozy with a mystery that will test readers as they try to keep up with Mia. It was most definitely A Perfect Escape!
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About Maria DiRico
Maria DiRico is the pseudonym for Ellen Byron, author of the award-winning, USA Today bestselling Cajun Country Mysteries. Born in Queens, New York, she is a first-generation Italian-American on her mother’s side and the granddaughter of a low-level Jewish mobster on her father’s side. She grew up visiting the Astoria Manor and Grand Bay Marina catering halls, which were run by her Italian mother’s family in Queens, and have become the inspiration for her Catering Hall Mystery Series. DiRico has been a writer-producer for hit television series like Wings and Just Shoot Me, and her first play, Graceland, appears in the Best Short Plays collection. She’s a freelance journalist, with over 200 articles published in national magazines, and previously worked as a cater-waiter for Martha Stewart, a credit she never tires of sharing. A native New Yorker who attended Tulane University, Ellen lives in Los Angeles with her husband, daughter, and two rescue dogs.
Great Escapes Praise for Long Island Iced Tina (A Catering Hall Mystery)
by Maria DiRico
Ms. DiRico has an amazing imagination, and it shows throughout this book which transports the reader into the story so perfectly.
~Baroness’ Book Trove
LONG ISLAND ICED TINA is a thoroughly enjoyable laugh out loud mystery that kept me engaged from start to finish.
~Cozy Up With Kathy
Maria DiRico writes with such flair and an easy style. There were a plethora of suspects to choose from who might have had the motive to kill and I enjoyed the way in which Mia evaluated the information acquired from her poking around.
~Brianne’s Book Reviews
It took me about 10 to 15 % to get fully immersed back into the mob world, as sometimes it’s a little over the top… but once you settle in, it’s quite a hoot, and I found myself unwilling to put it down before bed.
~This Is My Truth Now
I love that Mia is so embroiled in her tight Italian family and speaks with her close relatives in Italian as easily as English. The family works hard together with obvious love and support for each other and the writing style weighs heavily in their inherited sense of humor, their love of the city, and their shared history.
Full of charm and surprise twists we get taken on an adventure as it all plays out making for a great addition to this series. Sure to delight cozy mystery fans. I totally loved it so I give it 5/5 stars.
~Books a Plenty Book Reviews
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Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. Receiving a complimentary copy in no way reflected my review of this book. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”