I am so delighted today to provide a review for you at my blog stop for Long Island Iced Tina by Maria DiRico on the Great Escapes Virtual Book Tour. Scroll down to enter your chance to win the Giveaway!
Long Island Iced Tina (A Catering Hall Mystery)
2nd in Series
Publisher: Kensington (February 23, 2021)
Mass Market Paperback: 288 pages
Digital ASIN: B089NCJ9NS
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 . . .
Italian recipes included!
The second in the Catering Hall Mystery series, Long Island Iced Tina again sees main character Mia Carina striving the save her friend and family from a very suspicious murder and a complex storyline embroiled in a decades old art theft. Mia is no ordinary manager of a catering hall in Queens, however, as she is a daughter of a mob lieutenant trying to go straight with his work in this legitimate business. Mia has grown up in the “Family” and with her dad, still maintains connections.
A lot going on in Book 2 with the main plot, the murder of Tina, while Mia continues to wrestle with the remaining question of her ex, as well as keeping friendship with Jaimie who she values as possibly proceeding from their early high school romance to friendship and back again to romance. The problem is that he has found a girl possibly suited more closely to his needs and goals.
Mia is living with her grandmother while retaining close ties to her Italian family, the business, the food, and the support. Her grandmother is embroiled in her own wacky goals employing Mia by plying her with food.
“…Italian funeral…’They’re just like your WASPy ones but with more crying and better food.’”
Mia has a ginger Abyssinian cat she named Doorstop (perfect!) and a parakeet. Her father hired the grandson of a mob family to help at the banquet manor in a subtle exchange of favors, but Benjy is not the enthusiastic staff member of their dreams. Her very pregnant friend Nicole has managed to whittle her showers down to two, the first being Tina’s excessive show at the Versailles and the unhappy ending of Tina at Mia’s shower in the Belle View Banquet Manor in Queens.
I love that Mia is so embroiled in her tight Italian family and speaks with her close relatives in Italian as easily as English. The family works hard together with obvious love and support for each other and the writing style weighs heavily in their inherited sense of humor, their love of the city, and their shared history. Mia has never learned to drive, so her mode of travel if not her ten speed is cabs and rides and maybe she should stick to those.
Nice to have a bit of backstory to bring the reader up to speed, but this could be read as a standalone as bits and pieces of history are dropped into the investigation and Mia’s interviews that she’s really quite adept at, gleaning little clues that lead to further gains.
The conclusion is probably where you’d expect it to go and leads to the introduction of a possible new romance (thumbs down on that one). I feel that eventually we’ll get the story of what really happened to the ex as I’ve thought all along he didn’t die. The well-plotted and paced mystery settles in to a fun read and curiosity over where the author will take us next. I read Book 1, Here Comes the Body, and I’ll be looking for Book 3.
Sign up for your chance to win one of three print copies of Long Island Iced Tina by Maria DiRico—US only—on this Rafflecopter giveaway
Rosepoint Publishing: Four point Five Stars
Maria DiRico is the pseudonym for Ellen Byron, author of the award winning, USA Today bestselling Cajun Country Mysteries. Born in Queens, New York, she is first-generation Italian-American on her mother’s side and the granddaughter of a low-level Jewish mobster on her father’s side. She grew up visiting the Astoria Manor and Grand Bay Marina catering halls, which were run by her Italian mother’s family in Queens and have become the inspiration for her Catering Hall Mystery Series. DiRico has been a writer-producer for hit television series like Wings and Just Shoot Me, and her first play, Graceland, appears in the Best Short Plays collection. She’s a freelance journalist, with over 200 articles published in national magazines, and previously worked as a cater-waiter for Martha Stewart, a credit she never tires of sharing. A native New Yorker who attended Tulane University, Ellen lives in Los Angeles with her husband, daughter, and two rescue dogs.
Chicks on the Case – http://chicksonthecase.net/
Twitter – https://twitter.com/ellenbyronla
Thank you for visiting my stop on the tour and please visit the other stops listed below!
March 1 – Baroness Book Trove – REVIEW
March 1 – FUONLYKNEW – SPOTLIGHT
March 1 – Novel Alive – SPOTLIGHT
March 2 – Cozy Up With Kathy – REVIEW, AUTHOR INTERVIEW
March 2 – Brooke Blogs – SPOTLIGHT
March 2 – Brianne’s Book Reviews – REVIEW
March 3 – My Reading Journeys – REVIEW, EXCERPT
March 3 – This Is My Truth Now – REVIEW, RECIPE
March 3 – Sapphyria’s Book Reviews – SPOTLIGHT
March 4 – I’m All About Books – SPOTLIGHT
March 4 – ebook addicts – SPOTLIGHT, RECIPE
March 5 – Christy’s Cozy Corners – GUEST POST
March 5 – Read Your Writes Book Reviews – CHARACTER INTERVIEW
March 5 – Cassidy’s Bookshelves – SPOTLIGHT
March 6 – Ruff Drafts – SPOTLIGHT, RECIPE
March 6 – Mystery Thrillers and Romantic Suspense Reviews – SPOTLIGHT, EXCERPT
March 7 – Rosepoint Publishing – REVIEW
March 7 – StoreyBook Reviews – SPOTLIGHT, RECIPE
March 7 – I Read What You Write – AUTHOR INTERVIEW
March 8 – Books a Plenty Book Reviews – REVIEW
March 8 – Literary Gold – CHARACTER GUEST POST
March 9 – Reading, Writing & Stitch-Metic – SPOTLIGHT, EXCERPT
March 9 – Novels Alive – REVIEW
March 9 – Maureen’s Musings – SPOTLIGHT
March 10 – Socrates Book Reviews – REVIEW
March 10 – Author Elena Taylor’s Blog – AUTHOR INTERVIEW
March 10 – Escape With Dollycas Into A Good Book – REVIEW
March 10 – Island Confidential – SPOTLIGHT
Thanks to Great Escapes Virtual Book Tours for the opportunity to read and review this cozy mystery!
©2021 V Williams