Release Date: Feb 23, 2021
Series: A Catering Hall Mystery
Mia Carina is helping her former mobster father go legitimate by helping him run the Belle View Banquet Manor in Queens, New York. One of Mia’s best friends is having a baby and Nicole’s mother and grandmother throw her a baby shower at Belle View. Things are going great until Nicole’s grandmother and her flamboyant stepmother Tina get into a shouting match in the bathroom that Nicole’s mother has to break up. Then Nicole gets a strange shower gift that flusters her usually overconfident stepmom. Things get even worse when soon afterwards Mia discovers Tina’s dead body in the bay in front of Belle View. Mia is determined to prove that nobody in Nicole’s family was responsible for Tina’s death and also keep the Carina name free from another scandal.
This is the second book in the Catering Hall Mystery series. I loved the first book, but you can enjoy this book even if you haven’t read it. I love all the references to Mia’s father’s former life in the mob and that some of the people Mia deals with still have some underworld connections. The book is populated with colorful characters, both in Mia’s family and in “The Family.” Mia is an engaging character who is trying to make the banquet hall a success and keep her dad out of trouble. She also has an Italian grandmother to keep out of trouble, too, and their relationship is both sweet and funny. Mia also hangs around with Jamie Boldano, who is the son of a mob boss but isn’t in the “business.” There was a lot of chemistry between Mia and Jamie in the first book and in this book, they discuss whether their friendship could be more.
In addition to the interesting characters, I like that this cozy mystery takes place in New York City. It gives a different vibe than the majority of cozies that are set in small towns. The plot involving the “step-monster”, Tina, becomes surprisingly complex as the story continues. I like that Mia’s father, Ravello, is able to use his insights into the criminal mind, to give her important clues that help solve the case. The book is a fun, quick read that is full of humor. The scenes between Mia and her family come across as very authentic. As expected in a cozy set in a catering center, the book ends recipes of a few of the dishes that are mentioned in the story. If I was a better cook, I would love to try making the cannoli cake! A new character is introduced at the very end that could really shake things up in the next book. Fans of Rosie Genova, Victoria Abbott, or The Cajun Country mysteries which are written by DiRico under the name Ellen Byron, will enjoy this book. I am already looking forward to the next one in this great series.