Nov 02 2021

Blog Tour & Giveaway: It’s Beginning to Look a Lot Like Murder by Maria DiRico

Posted by Jennifer in 4 Stars, Blog Tour, Cozy Mystery, Giveaways, Mystery, Review / Leave a Comment

It’s Beginning to Look a Lot Like Murder (A Catering Hall Mystery)
by Maria DiRico

About It’s Beginning to Look a Lot Like Murder

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

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!


Guest Recipe

Almond Florentine Lace Cookies



  • 2⁄3 cup unsalted butter
  • 1⁄2 cup white sugar
  • 1⁄2 cup brown sugar
  • 1⁄4 cup heavy cream
  • 1 tsp. almond extract
  • 2⁄3 cup flour
  • 1⁄4 tsp. salt
  • 1 and 1⁄4 cup sliced almonds
  • 1 cup semisweet chocolate chips (optional)


Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.


Melt the butter in a large saucepan, making sure not to burn it. Remove the pan from the heat and one at a time, mix into the butter the white sugar, brown sugar, cream, almond extract, flour, salt, and almonds. I find a wooden spoon works best for mixing these ingredients.


Cover two cookie sheets with parchment paper. Drop the batter onto the paper by teaspoonfuls, leaving plenty of room—around six cookies to a sheet instead of the usual nine or twelve.


IMPORTANT: At least some of the cookies will melt together. It’s inevitable. Don’t panic. Once the cookiescool and harden—and trust me, they will—you can use a knife to  break them apart. Cookies that are cooked for around five minutes will have a pliable, chewy texture. Cookies cooked six to seven minutes will be crispy. Be careful not to burn them around the edges. This can happen when you begin to   the seven-minute mark. To cool the cookies, I gently lift the parchment paper they’re resting on and place it on our kitchen counter. I add another sheet of parchment to the cookie tray and continue.

If you want to add chocolate to your cookies, wait until they’ve cooled and then melt the cup of chocolate

morsels either over a double boiler or in the microwave. (If you’re using the microwave, nuke the drops for thirty seconds, then increments of fifteen seconds so you don’t burn the chocolate.) Dip a fork in the melted chocolate and drizzle or pull it across each cookie.


Makes 24—36 cookies, depending on size.

About Maria DiRico

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 – AmazonB&NKobo IndieBound 

Review of It’s Beginning to Look A Lot Like Murder

Review (4 Stars): This mystery was the perfect gift for readers this holiday season.  I’m such a huge fan of culinary mysteries and I absolutely adore Mia and her catering business.  Mia has her hands full for the holidays and finds herself once again in the middle of another murder mystery.  I loved the quirky characters involved with this one and Christmas stories always make me super happy. This one will definitely keep you guessing and I can’t wait to see what is next for Mia and the gang.


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