One of the most popular authors listed on the Cozy Mystery site is Ellen Byron. And, it is no wonder given her credentials as a writer. She has written for television (Wings, Just Shoot Me, and Fairly Odd Parents). Not many Cozy Mystery authors have written TV comedy shows! Anyway, Ellen Byron’s books have been recommended many times by members of this blog’s community — and I’ve already written a post about her Cajun Country Mystery Series as part of my posts about the most popular and recommended Cozy Mystery series. As you all probably know already, Ellen Byron also writes as Maria DiRico.
So, this month I am adding the first book of Maria DiRico’s Catering Hall Mystery Series, Here Comes the Body to the most popular and recommended Cozy Mystery series list. In the story, Mia Carina returns from Florida having split with her cheating husband to Queens, New York, to work in the event center of her sometimes mob boss father. On her first day working there, a woman appears and publicly accuses Mia’s father of having failed to pay for matchmaking services (Mia’s father denies this allegation). Later, the woman is found in the event center dead in a bachelor party’s cake. As is common in mystery books, a close relative of Mia (in this case, her father) is accused. This leads to Mia’s investigation.
Considering that the characters in the book have connections (“former” or otherwise) with the New York mob, you wouldn’t think that this book is a good fit for the Cozy Mystery genre. However, the “family” is remarkably close-knit. And the event center and Mia’s grandmother’s home provide appropriate places for the “village” setting so often associated with Cozies. And, the story contains a surprising amount of humor.
You might not know that Ellen Byron says in her bio that she “considers her most impressive credit working as a cater-waiter for Martha Stewart.” This experience, of course, gives her credibility when writing her series about event planning and catering.
As with all of the author’s books, this story is very well written and full of unexpected plot twists and fun surprises. The characters are easy to like despite their “connections”. So far there are only three books in the series, but I hope there will be more!
If you’re interested in seeing other most recommended or popular Cozy Mystery authors/series, please visit the Most Popular & Recommended Cozy Mystery Series page on my site.