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Holiday Cozy by Maria DiRico

Holiday CozyHoliday Cozy! It’s Beginning to Look a Lot Like Murder by Mari DiRico

Author Interview + Author & Book Info + Rafflecopter Giveaway!

Holiday Cozy: It’s Beginning to Look a Lot Like Murder!

Holiday Cozy

Astoria, Queens, is decorated within an inch of its life for the Christmas season, and Mia Carina is juggling her job at the Belle View catering hall with a case of murder . . .

Mia’s busy with a full schedule of events at the family business—among them an over-the-top Nativity-themed first birthday party and a Sweet Sixteen for a teen drama queen.

But her personal life is even more challenging. Her estranged mother has returned—and her lifelong friend Jamie has discovered a shocking secret about his past. He’s so angry that he starts hanging out with Lorenzo, who claims to be his long-lost brother—even after it becomes clear that Lorenzo’s story is as fake as a plastic Christmas tree.

Then a body turns up among the elves in a Santa’s-workshop lawn display, and amateur sleuth Mia has a buffet of suspects to choose from. Amid the holiday celebrations, she intends to find out who’s the guilty party . . .

Italian recipes included!

To purchase It’s Beginning to Look a Lot Like Murder, click any of the following links: Amazon – B&N – Kobo – IndieBound 

It’s Beginning to Look a Lot Like Murder (A Catering Hall Mystery) 
Cozy Mystery
3rd in Series
Publisher ‏ : ‎ Kensington Cozies (October 26, 2021)
Mass Market Paperback ‏ : ‎ 288 pages
ISBN-10 ‏ : ‎ 1496725360
ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-1496725363
Digital ASIN ‏ : ‎ B08VFBT9B2


Holiday Cozy! Author Interview with Maria DiRico

The Catering Hall Mysteries are set in Astoria, Queens. Is that community festive for the holidays? Or did you get to take liberties for It’s Beginning to Look a Lot Like Murder?

Oh, it’s festive alright! But I did take liberties for comic effect.

I was inspired by over-the-top decorations in Burbank, CA, which is near to our home in Studio City, and the great decorations of the Dyker Heights neighborhood of Brooklyn. If you click on this link, you’ll see what I mean: Dyker Heights Christmas Lights Tour 2019 .

Tell us about Mia Carina:

Mia is an endearing, intrepid, feisty native Noo Yawker.

She’s 31 and recovering from being a person of interest in her husband’s disappearance in Miami. A boat washed up with the body of his mistress inside. His body was never found, so he was presumed dead, which let Mia off the hook. She moved back to Queens to live upstairs from her grandmother and help her mobster father run Belle View Banquet Manor as a legitimate business.

Each book in the series can be read as a standalone, but is there anything you’d like readers to know about Here Comes the Body and Long Island Iced Tina?

I’d like people to know… the books are funny, if I do say so myself. But don’t just take it from me. Take it from the reader who wrote “I’m reading Long Island Iced Tina, laughing until tears are running down my cheeks.”

Seriously, though, the way life has changed for Mia is that she’s grown more comfortable and confident in her position as the Senior Event Planner at Belle View. She’s also grown more confident in her ability to help solve crimes that endanger the people she cares about.

And she’s finally open to the possibility of allowing love in her life again.

What do you have planned this year to celebrate the holidays?

I grew up with big family holiday gatherings and for a long time I tried to replicate them, which wasn’t easy because neither my husband nor I have family in Los Angeles. I finally gave up on that and now my dream holiday is hanging around the house in sweats with my husband and daughter, who will be home from college.

That’s my kind of holiday!

What kind of recipes do we have to look forward to in It’s Beginning to Look a Lot Like Murder?

Oh, some good ones! They include a recipe for Crab, Shrimp and Artichoke Cavatelli you can serve on Christmas Eve as part of the Italian celebration known as Feast of the Seven Fishes.

There’s also a delicious recipe for Rummy Tiramisu, and my cousin Lauren donated her family’s recipe for a cookie called Tarrali, which is popular in our ancestral village of Orsogna, Italy.

Okay . . . YUM!

What are you working on now?

The fourth Catering Hall Mystery and the second book in my new Vintage Cookbook Mysteries. Neither have titles yet.

Words of wisdom for aspiring writers:

Write at least fifteen minutes a day. You’ll see how that fifteen minutes grows into a half hour, then an hour, and then even longer. And always be open to learning.

I’ve been earning my living as a writer since I was twenty-seven years old. I still take writing classes and read books on craft.

Great advice! And great to have you back with your latest release! Looking forward to having you back for the next one.


Author Pet Corner!

Pogo was an owner-surrender to the rescue where we adopted our late corgi-chi mix, Wiley.

We adopted Pogo when he was six.

He’s fifteen now and the love of our lives.

That is one cute pupper!

Maria DiRico, Author of the Holiday Cozy, It’s Beginning to Look a Lot Like Murder

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.

To learn more about Maria, click on her name, photo, or any of the following links:  Chicks on the Case – Facebook –  Twitter

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Visit all the Stops on the Great Escapes Book Tour!

November 1 – Literary Gold – SPOTLIGHT, EXCERPT

November 1 – Socrates Book Reviews – SPOTLIGHT

November 1 – Christy’s Cozy Corners – RECIPE

November 1 – Christa Reads and Writes – SPOTLIGHT, EXCERPT

November 2 – Cozy Up With Kathy – REVIEW

November 2 – Ascroft, eh? – CHARACTER INTERVIEW

November 2 – Moonlight Rendezvous – REVIEW, RECIPE

November 2 – Sapphyria’s Book Reviews – SPOTLIGHT

November 3 – Island Confidential – SPOTLIGHT

November 3 – Baroness’ Book Trove – REVIEW

November 3 – I’m All About Books – SPOTLIGHT

November 3 – My Journey Back – RECIPE  

November 4 – Novels Alive – GUEST POST

November 4 – Brooke Blogs – RECIPE

November 4 – Books a Plenty Book Reviews – REVIEW


November 5 – MJB Reviewers – REVIEW, EXCERPT

November 5 – Author Elena Taylor’s Blog – AUTHOR INTERVIEW

November 5 – Reading, Writing & Stitch-Metic – SPOTLIGHT, EXCERPT

November 5 – This Is My Truth Now – REVIEW

November 6 – StoreyBook Reviews – RECIPE

November 6 – Cassidy’s Bookshelves – SPOTLIGHT

November 6 – Laura’s Interests – REVIEW

November 6 – I Read What You Write – REVIEW, CHARACTER GUEST POST,

November 7 – Celticlady’s Reviews – RECIPE

November 7 – BookishKelly2020 – SPOTLIGHT  

November 7 – Melina’s Book Blog – REVIEW

November 7 – Maureen’s Musings – SPOTLIGHT

Elena Taylor is the author of All We Buried, available now in print, e-book, and audio book format at all your favorite bookstores and on-line retailers.

For more information on All We Buriedclick on the link here to visit the home page.

Silver Falchion Award Finalist, Best Investigator 2020

Foreword INDIE Award Finalist, Best Mystery 2020

Elena Hartwell

Author and developmental editor.

This Post Has 0 Comments

  1. Kay Garrett

    Thank you for being part of the book tour for “It’s Beginning to Look a Lot Like Murder!”.

    Enjoyed reading the interview with Maria DiRico. It’s always fun to learn more about both book and author. Love Pogo! Understand about them being a big part of your heart. Snickerdoodle, our chihuahua, will be 17 on the 13th. He brings sunshine on the bleakest of days even with his medical issues.

    I just hope Maria keeps up the writing because each new book is always looked forward to with great expectation and a joy to read once they are released.

    1. Elena Taylor

      Thanks for visiting, Kay! I’m with you, I hope Maria writes many more! And happy birthday to Snickerdoodle!

  2. Ellen Byron

    OMG, I got my dates mixed up! I thought this posted today. I am so sorry! Thanks for a great interview and for hosting me. I really appreciate it. LOVE your photos of your gorgeous NW home.

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