Here Comes the Body (A Catering Hall Mystery #1) by Maria DiRico
Published February 25th 2020 by Kensington Publishing Corporation
Here Comes the Body by Maria DiRico is a fantastic start to a new series. Finding out that this is a pen name for Ellen Byron, the author of one of my favourite cozy series, had me happily sitting down and reading this one. It is a different setting for a cozy mystery as it takes place in New York City, not a small quaint town. However the other elements fit a cozy mystery perfectly. We have a smart, independent, loyal protagonist in Mia Carina, who has moved back home after the disappearance of her philandering husband. There are some quirky characters, especially her neighbours who also add a diverse storyline. I love that her father, Ravello Carina, is a mobster gone straight. He is running Belle View, a rundown catering hall, that Mia hopes to build up to become the place to hold events in Queens. When her first event, a bachelor ends up in murder of a local call girl, her father is arrested. The evidence is sketchy and Mia sets out to find out her the real murderer is. When a second murder victim is found, she is worried about the business as well as her father. She knows that if she wants Belle View to be successful, she has to prove that the murder has nothing to do with the hall.
Overall, I loved this first book in a new series. The catering hall seems like a great setting for future mysteries, and the Mob side story adds some interest. The characters were well developed for a first book in the series, and I am looking forward to learning more about the main characters in future books. There was enough humour to have me smiling, a bit of romantic tension, that I hope will develop into something in further books, and a complicated mystery that had me changing my mind about he culprit and the motive several times. I will definitely be watching for the next book in this series. The publisher generously provided me with a copy of this book upon request. The rating, ideas and opinions shared are my own.
The Body in the Wetlands (A Jazzi Zanders Mystery #2) by Judi Lynn
Published April 23rd 2019 by Lyrical Underground
This is the second book in A Jazzi Zanders Mystery series by Judi Lynn. Even though the mystery in the book is self-contained, I recommend you go back and read the first book in the series for a full understanding of the characters, however you can still enjoy this book without doing that. Jazzi and Jerod, her cousin, hear the news of a missing neighbour. He is a brain damaged man, whose mental and emotional age are much younger than he is. Everyone is worried about him, especially when they find his bicycle far from town. When an elderly neighbour also disappears while out walking his dog, Jazzi is worried. She follows his dog hoping to find him, but what she finds is another corpse, that of a missing woman, so the police are on this case and the local detective asks Jazzi if she has any information or insight. Although not official, the police in this series encourage Jazzi to investigate as long as she keeps them apprised of what she finds out. In this book, Jazzi, Jerod and their crew are working on her sister’s house, and Ansel, her boyfriend is back home on the farm helping his parents.
This is a cozy mystery with romance and humor. The mystery was well developed and had a lot of twists and red herrings. Some of the suspects were not very nice and I was pretty sure I had it all figured out. As often happens in cozy mysteries, our protagonist stumbles onto information and before she has a chance to tell the police, the suspect has figured out that she is onto him/her. Can Jazzi get out of the situation without getting hurt. I really enjoy Jazzi’s family and the house flipping aspect of the series. This is an interesting, light and fun series, and I am looking forward to reading more about Jazzi Zanders.