On Flashback Fridays I will share with you
the books I was not able to review
when they were first released that have been screaming at me
from my To-Be-Read bookshelf.
It’s Beginning to Look a Lot Like Murder (A Catering Hall Mystery)
3rd in Series
Publisher : Kensington Cozies (October 26, 2021)
Mass Market Paperback : 288 pages
ISBN-10 : 1496725360
ISBN-13 : 978-1496725363
Digital ASIN : B08VFBT9B2
Astoria, Queens, is decorated within an inch of its life for the Christmas season, and Mia Carina is juggling her job at the Belle View catering hall with a case of murder . . .
Mia’s busy with a full schedule of events at the family business—among them an over-the-top Nativity-themed first birthday party and a Sweet Sixteen for a teen drama queen. But her personal life is even more challenging. Her estranged mother has returned—and her lifelong friend Jamie has discovered a shocking secret about his past. He’s so angry that he starts hanging out with Lorenzo, who claims to be his long-lost brother—even after it becomes clear that Lorenzo’s story is as fake as a plastic Christmas tree.
Then a body turns up among the elves in a Santa’s-workshop lawn display, and amateur sleuth Mia has a buffet of suspects to choose from. Amid the holiday celebrations, she intends to find out who’s the guilty party . . .
Italian recipes included!
The Christmas season has Mia Carina dashing through the snow to keep up with all the Belle View Banquet Manor events. From a Sweet Sixteen party that really needs to impress the guests to a party for a 1-year-old with a Nativity Theme complete with animals, Mia and Shane accept all the challenges in order to have the over-the-top events go off exactly as planned.
In addition to her job, Mia gets caught up in a lot of family drama. A secret is uncovered about her friend Jamie and the aftermath has Mia right in the middle. Her mother also returns to town surprising everyone and her brother is still in jail and wondering if he will have a place in the family business when he gets out. Plus her grandmother has enlisted everyone she can to help her decorate for the holidays. She plans to win the neighborhood’s decorating contest but she has some stiff competition. One display gets a lot of attention though when an actual stiff is found amongst the elves in Santa’s workshop.
Mia is familiar with the corpse and knows there are plenty of suspects with means, motive, and opportunity including a few folks she holds near and dear. She will be making her list and checking it twice to wrap up the murder before Christmas dinner is served.
Maria DiRico has served up quite a mystery in It’s Beginning to Look a Lot Like Murder.
Mia makes me laugh so much. She has been through a lot with the mobsters in her family especially as they now try to go straight. However, there are a few tough guys still around if she needs them. Her new employee Shane has her motor running along with just about every woman he comes in contact with. Cammie is still working as little as possible while spending as much of her ex, Detective Pete Dianopolis’s money as she can while he tries to win her back. Mia’s friend Jamie falls apart as he gets some upsetting news. Her grandmother Elisabetta is hilarious and always up to something. All these characters are true to life and are well-developed. The dialogues are full of Italian and New York phases which just makes me enjoy the characters even more.
I really enjoy the way this author twists the mystery elements together with every life’s ups and downs. In this installment, that means a lot of Christmas spirit and holiday drama and I loved it! I was completely entertained tagging along with Mia as she sorted through the clues while being there for her friend and staying on top of her grandmother’s antics. The ending was exciting but there was a final twist that had me scratching my head just a little bit.
The extravagant Christmas displays and the competition between the blocks were really interesting and I know it would be a lot of fun to view them all in person. No matter where you live people try to outdo their neighbors when it comes to decorations but having so many full blocks full of finery as the author described would be amazing. The donation aspect was nice too.
It’s Beginning to Look a Lot Like Murder is a delightful holiday cozy mystery filled to the brim with family drama and murder. I am so happy to get caught up on this series just in time for book #4, Four Parties and a Funeral which will be released on March 28. I am excited to visit these characters again so soon. Stay tuned for my review.
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About the Author
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.
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