“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 …” – Amazon
I can’t say that having a mob family in a cozy hasn’t been done before, but DiRico does it so well. The family dynamics read as true for an Italian family, and where this series really shines is in the character development. The elders in the family and community trying to show each other up makes for some interesting scenes. And the mission to deposit a pair of shoes into a casket had me amused. I think getting together Stephanie Plum’s grandma and Mia’s would be a hoot.
DiRico went in a different direction with the love angle, which I really enjoyed. I hate when they drag on in cozies, but I think how it was handled was great and I am excited to see how Mia handles having to be friends with the three other people involved… I really want to say more, but don’t want to give any spoilers. And I think the new hire at the end is going to really add some great scenes in future books.
As for the mystery… it was a heist. I love heists!!! I’ve seen The Italian Job and all the Ocean’s (8, 11, 12, & 13) numerous times… so I really appreciated that DiRico used a heist in the story. And I really liked how she had the Family help confirm her suspicions. It was a great way to incorporate more of the mob into the story.
The Catering Hall Mysteries is one series that I make sure to keep up to date with so I know as soon as the next book is coming out. I highly recommend that you give it a shot.
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