Thursday, March 30, 2023

Book Review: FOUR PARTIES AND A FUNERAL (A Catering Hall Mystery) by Maria DiRico

About the Book:

In this fresh and witty cozy mystery series set amid an extended Italian-American family in Astoria, Queens, catering hall owner and amateur sleuth Mia Carina must solve a murder on the set of a reality show. 

The June events schedule at Belle View is busting out all over—proms, graduations, and of course, weddings. There are unexpected bookings too, including a casting call for the pilot of Dons of Ditmars Boulevard. But soon, Mia’s fears about the cheesy reality show are confirmed . . . 

Belle View quickly becomes the site of a sea of wanna-be goombahs and phony girlfriends, and some of Mia’s friends insist on getting in on the action. 

The production company owner and his executive producer ex-wife—who’s also very minor British royalty—have assembled a motley crew that does as much infighting and backstabbing as the on-screen “talent.” 

Even so, it’s a shock when a dead body is found in the pool house of a local mansion rented by the show . . . Murder might boost the ratings. But Mia intends to make sure the killer gets jail time, not airtime . . . 

Italian recipes included! 


From the beginning, Mia knows a reality show about dons and donnettes (mafia) is not a good idea for her branch of the family - the not-mafia side. Mia has her hands full planning an initial meeting for the "stars" and crew for the show, a prom or two, and then a bridal shower, rehearsal dinner, and memorial service. Shane and Cammie help a lot and then there's Little Donny. The grandfather has already determined Donny won't fit on the illegal side of things and hopes Mia can find him a place. 

Reality show tv production and someone's need to have a crisis in every scene make for a great backdrop for a mystery. Mia does her best to keep things under control but that's not always easy. Although Donny is the prime suspect for the murder, she's sure he's innocent and is determined to find the real killer or killers. Throw in grandmother's crochet creations, Shane's secrets, and the wedding party fiasco in New Orleans. 

The story is engaging, the plot moves at a good pace, and characters are well-developed. Maybe because I'm not a fan of "reality" tv, I enjoyed this one.  Four Parties and a Funeral is the fourth in the series. While readers of previous books learn more about Shane and others, the mystery is stand-alone and easily read on its own. 

FTC Disclosure: I received a complimentary copy of this book in the hopes that I would post an honest review. This has not affected the content of my review in any way. 

About the Author: 
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. 

Author Links 

Website – Chicks on the Case – Facebook – Twitter – Purchase Links – Amazon – B&N – Kobo – IndieBound – Kensington 


  1. thanks so much for the great review!

  2. Η ντετεκτιβ αθηνα είναι ένας φανταστικός χαρακτήρας στο είδος του μυστηρίου και του εγκλήματος. Είναι μια εξαιρετικά εξειδικευμένη και σεβαστός ντετέκτιβ, γνωστή για την οξεία διάνοιά της, τις εξαιρετικές ερευνητικές της ικανότητες και την ακλόνητη δέσμευσή της στη δικαιοσύνη.