Reappearing Painting and Murder
I was completely charmed by the first book in the Catering Hall Mysteries last year, so I was looking forward to Long Island Iced Tina. I’m pleased to say that this is a delightful return trip to the Belle View Banquet Manor in Queens.
Mia Carina is delighted for her friend Nicole, who is pregnant with her first baby. Nicole has chosen Belle View as the location for one of her baby showers, and Mia is trying to juggle Nicole’s mother, Linda, and grandmother on one side and her step-mother, Tina on the other, a job made harder by the fact that Tina does everything she can to antagonize Nicole’s family. Despite Mia’s best efforts, Linda and Tina get into a fight the day of the shower, but that is quickly forgotten when Nicole opens one of her gifts to find a priceless – and stolen – painting.
Everyone at the party is shocked by the mysterious gift. No one seems to know who brought it or where it has been since it was stolen. Things get further complicated when Mia discovered the dead body of one of the guests the next morning. She can’t help but think there is a connection between the painting and the murder. But what is it?
I always enjoy it when a book finds a way to set itself apart from the others I read, and the stolen painting definitely did it in this case. While it is obvious it plays a part in the murder, just how it does so takes a while to figure out. Meanwhile, we get some fun red herrings and complications on the way to the truth. The climax was a bit complicated, so I had to really think about what was going on to figure everything out, but it does make sense.
Meanwhile, the characters are fantastic. The suspects are strong, and the series regulars are charming. We got some nice character development for them, and I’m curious to see where things go in the next book.
If you’ve missed the first in the series, not only does this series take place in the borough of Queens (and the greater New York City area), but Mia’s family is part of the mob. Yet this book is still a cozy, proving that cozy is how you tell the story and the type of story you choose to tell, not so much about the exact ingredients you put in the story.
Speaking of ingredients, we do get four delicious sounding recipes at the end of the book as well as a tip for making a memorable event.
Finally, I have to mention the humor. There is a great sub-plot involving Mia’s grandmother that will have you laughing. Even in the scenes that don’t revolve around her, you’ll find dialogue and events that will make you smile if not laugh.
Long Island Iced Tina is a pleasure from start to finish. Grab some iced tea, sit back, and enjoy this delightful book.
NOTE: I received an ARC of this book.