Thursday, February 20, 2020

Book Review: Here Comes the Body by Maria DiRico (Catering Hall Mysteries #1)


Stars: 5 out of 5
Pros: Characters, plot, setting, humor
Cons: I refuse to find any cons
The Bottom Line:
Stripper dead in cake
Threaten Mia’s new business
In delightful book




Debut You Won’t Want to Refuse

There are certain tropes you expect when you pick up a cozy mystery – a small town, an amateur sleuth, and a story light on violence.  And then there are the books that surprise you in some delightful ways while still being cozy.  Here Comes the Body is one of those.

Mia Carina has returned to her Astoria neighborhood in Queens after being cleared of any wrong doing in the disappearance of her philandering husband.  She’s got a new job, too, working with her father.  Her father is reputed mobster Ravello, only there is nothing reputed about it.  However, his new business venture, Belle View, is completely legitimate.  Belle View is a catering hall that can handle anything from a fancy wedding to an office party.  Okay, so you might hear the occasional airplane from LaGuardia airport, but it’s still a great location with a killer view.

Mia’s first week on the job finds her in charge of a bachelor party.  However, when it comes time for the stripper to jump out of the cake, she fails to do so.  In fact, she is dead in the cake.  Unfortunately, the police quickly connect the victim to Mia’s father.  Ravello has done time in jail in the past, but for crimes he actually committed.  Mia doesn’t want to see her father jailed for a crime he didn’t commit, especially as he is trying to go straight for a change.  Can she prove his innocence?

New York City?  The mob?  Am I sure this is a cozy?  Absolutely.  Cozy is more an attitude than a strict list of things to include or not include, and this book has that attitude down perfectly.

We can start with the characters.  Mia has moved home, which means her life is filled with people she already knows.  We can tell how much she loves these people, and that warmth oozes off the page.  Yes, even the mobsters have that connection with her, but these are her Family, so why wouldn’t they?  Of course, the suspects kept me guessing until the end while also coming across as real.

Another reason this works is because the plot doesn’t go into typical mobster tropes.  Instead, the plot serves up some suspects and motives that are cozier.  There are enough twists to keep us guessing and a fantastic climax.

Even the location works.  By focusing on one neighborhood, we get to know the residents.  Then there are the people that Mia is now working with.  By focusing our attention on one or two specific locations, we are able to still get that cozy vibe, even when the plot takes us to other parts of New York City.

After mentioning foreign language in my review earlier in the week, I do have to mention that Mia’s grandmother and father both occasionally speak in Italian.  It’s not super prevalent, and we get a translation almost immediately.  It definitely added some flavor to their characters.  Honestly, if I hadn’t read it immediately after reading a book set in Italy, I probably wouldn’t have thought anything of it.

I can’t leave out the humor.  I was laughing several times at the things that Mia was dealing with or her reactions to the events unfolding around her.

Just in case you haven’t picked up on it, I loved this book.  I read the majority of it on a lazy Sunday because I just couldn’t stop reading.  The characters are charming and the plot is fun.

Since this is a culinary cozy, I’m sure it comes as no surprise that there are recipes at the end of the book.  We get a total of four along with a fun tip for planning a party.

Maria DiRico has a hit on her hands.  Here Comes the Body left me anxious for the sequel.  It would be a mistake to refuse this excellent debut.

NOTE: I received an ARC of this book.

9 comments:

  1. I just found this the other day and can't wait to read it! I'm glad you found it so enjoyable.

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  2. I cannot wait to read it!! I am glad you enjoyed it.

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  3. Sounds like my kind of book! Excellent review, and fun to read!

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  4. I just saw this!! Thank you! Mark, you write the most amazing reviews.

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    1. Mark Has Very Good Taste...Great Review #WaitingToRead

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  5. This one is on my TBR. It looks so fun and I love that you refuse to list any cons.

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  6. Preordered - thanks for the review!

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  7. Belated thanks to ALL of you! Sorry for the delay. I'm in the weeds on another manuscript and just coming up for air!

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