Monday, February 24, 2020

Here Comes the Body by Maria DiRico: Excerpt, Review & Giveaway!

Here Comes the Body

A Catering Hall Mystery

by Maria DiRico

About Here Comes the Body

Cozy Mystery
1st in Series
Publisher: Kensington (February 25, 2020)
Mass Market Paperback: 304 page
ISBN-10: 1496725344
ISBN-13: 978-1496725349
Digital ASIN: B07R8WYLSC

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

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

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

Italian recipes included!

About Maria DiRico

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

Author Links

Twitter -
ASTORIA VILLAGE PART 3, Queens - Forgotten New York
Astoria, Queens

My Thoughts

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.  
Screen Shot 2015-12-29 at 10.42.33 PM
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.
Online book banquet hall like wedding party, birthday party, or reception.


Ravello put his arm around Mia’s shoulder. “Let me introduce you to the rest of the staff.”

He was about to do exactly that when the door to the room flung open. A slim woman with stringy black hair appeared, clad in a mini dress that looked like it was made from bright red ace bandages. She was pretty but in a hard way. She pointed a finger attached to a tattoo-sleeved arm at Ravello. “You,” she said, her tone angry and accusing.
The Camila Coelho Collection Lecia Mini Dress is now available on!
“Me what?” Ravello seemed flummoxed by the intruder.  “You know what.” The woman pulled a cell phone out of her tiny purse and held it up to him.

Mia moved closer to her father. “Dad, what’s going on?” Ravello responded with a confused shrug.

The woman waved the phone in the air. “Our date. Through Meet Your Match dot com. What’d you think, it was a freebie? Angie here doesn’t do freebies.”

She pointed a long, red-lacquered nail at herself. “You owe me.” Mia was incredulous. She knew her father had barely dated since his marriage to her mother had been annulled five years earlier. But she couldn’t imagine him resorting to a paid escort.

“Sweetie, I don’t know what she’s talking about,” Ravello said. He looked embarrassed. “I swear on a bible, I’ve never seen her before in my life.”
Worn and vintage bible
“Liar.” The woman spit out the word. She took a step toward Ravello, who remained frozen in place.

“Either give me my fee or I’ll make big trouble. I know who you are.” “Oh please,” Mia scoffed. “Everyone knows who he is. If that’s your biggest threat, you need better material.”

The woman, still holding the phone, waved her arms in the air dramatically. “I want my—”

A giantess wearing a chef toque stepped out of the group. “Okay, we’ve had enough of the crazy, sister.” “That’s Guadalupe Cruz, our chef,” Cammie, who’d been watching the odd scene with fascination, whispered to Mia. “She was an army cook in Iraq.”
Guadalupe approached the interloper, then took all of a second to grab the woman and hold her under one arm like a football. She strode out of the room, her charge kicking and screaming a stream of profanities. “As you were,” the chef called to the others as she disappeared down the stairs.

There was a moment of stunned silence. Then Cammie pointed to the buffet. “Let’s eat before the bagels get stale.”
Bagels Pictures | Download Free Images on Unsplash
A murmur of agreement was followed by a rush to grab a plate. Ravello started to follow, but Mia pulled him back. “Hold up, Dad. What was that?”

The mobster gave a helpless shrug. “Mia, believe me, I have no idea. There are nut jobs all over this city. I guess one found her way to Belle View. This Belle View, not the one in Manhattan. Where she obviously belongs. Because she needs mental help.”

There was a loud buzzing overhead. “Sounds like a turboprop. Must be the 9:10 from Syracuse on its final approach.”
Piper M600, a substantially upgraded version of the Meridian turboprop, follows in the footsteps of the pioneering TBM 700. Credit;
Ravello detached himself from Mia and joined the others at the buffet. She frowned as she watched him pour a cup of coffee and chat with the others. She knew her father well. He was telling the truth when he said he didn’t know the woman. But he was also hiding something.

And it was never good when a Carina hid something.
Here Comes the Body is can be purchased from Amazon*, Barnes &NobleKoboGoogle Play, and IndieBound.  Would you like to win a copy of Here Comes the Body?  You can enter here to win a one of three (sorry, U.S. Only) copies of Here Comes the Body.  You can also enter the giveaway using the Rafflecopter form below.  Good Luck! I will return tomorrow to share my thoughts on Murder Makes Scents by Christin Brecher.  It is the second A Nantucket Candle Maker Mystery.  Thank you for visiting today.  I hope you have a sunny day.  Take care and Happy Reading!


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Betty Boop reading while eating pickles. BB art by Patti S. The character was originally created as an anthropomorphic French poodle. Max Fleischer finalized Betty Boop as a human character in 1932, in the cartoon Any Rags.
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Reading on the front stoop, tree in bloom: Brooklyn by Aimee Sicuro of weathergirlshop on Etsy

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  1. I enjoy the author's Ellen Byron series that began with Plantation Shudders, and feel sure this homage to her Italian heritage will be terrific.

  2. Sounds like a great new series!I enjoyed the Plantation series and I'm sure this will be another great series.

  3. I'll keep this one in mind. I have been looking for some cozy mysteries (a la Agathe Christie) for some time now.

  4. This sounds like a good from an author I haven't read yet!

  5. Super belated thank you for a fabulous review! I so appreciate it. Pardon the delay. I'm so behind!!