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Spotlight, Recipe, and Blog Tour for Four Parties and a Funeral

Four Parties and a Funeral (A Catering Hall Mystery)
by Maria DiRico

About Four Parties and a Funeral

Four Parties and a Funeral (A Catering Hall Mystery)
Cozy Mystery
4th in Series
Setting – New York
Kensington Cozies (March 28, 2023)
Mass Market Paperback ‏ : ‎ 304 pages
ISBN-10 ‏ : ‎ 1496739701
ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-1496739704
Digital ASIN ‏ : ‎ B0B6DBV3WV

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!


Italian Wedding Cookies

You don’t have to wait for a wedding to make these delicious, crumbly cookies.


  • 11⁄2 stick unsalted butter
  • 3⁄4 to 1 cup powdered sugar*
  • 3⁄4 tsp. salt
  • 11⁄2 cup finely ground nuts (I use slivered unsalted
  • almonds and grind them with a
  • Magic Bullet. But you can use a food
  • processor or blender.)
  • 11⁄2 tsp. vanilla extract**
  • 3 tsp. almond extract***
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1⁄3 + cup powdered sugar for rolling the cookies


Preheat oven to 325 degrees.

Cream the butter in a large bowl. Slowly cream in the powdered sugar and salt until well combined. Cream in the ground almonds (or your choice of nuts), then the vanilla and almond extracts.

Add the flour slowly—1⁄2 cup at a time. The dough will be extremely crumbly. I sometimes use my hands—very clean hands!—to combine it.

Using your hands, take about a tablespoon of dough and form it into a ball or crescent. Place on an ungreased cookie sheet and bake for 15–20 minutes. You don’t want the cookies to get too


Place the 1⁄3 cup of powdered sugar in a small bowl. Let the cookies cool a little—you want them to harden so they don’t fall apart, but to retain a little heat so the sugar will stick to them—and roll them in the sugar.

Servings: about 30 cookies. For more cookies, you can make the balls or crescents smaller. But adjust the cooking time so you don’t burn them.

*I use 1 cup of powdered sugar because I like the cookies a little sweeter. But ¾ cup is fine to use and may make the dough a little bit less dry.

**If you’re like me and can’t get enough almond flavor, substitute additional almond extract for the vanilla, so you’re adding 41⁄2 teaspoons of almond extract to the dough. If you don’t want almond flavor, use 41⁄2 teaspoons of vanilla.

***You can also substitute anise or do a mix of anise and vanilla for another traditional Italian flavor.

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 CaseFacebook Twitter

Purchase Links – AmazonB&NKobo IndieBoundKensington


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I'm a retired librarian and the author of the Cobble Cove and Buttercup Bend cozy mystery series and other novels, short stories, poems, articles, and a novella. My books include CLOUDY RAINBOW, REASON TO DIE, SEA SCOPE, MEMORY MAKERS, TIME'S RELATIVE, MEOWS AND PURRS, and MEMORIES AND MEOWS. My Cobble Cove cozy mystery series published by Solstice Publishing consists of 6 books: A STONE'S THROW, BETWEEN A ROCK AND A HARD PLACE, WRITTEN IN STONE, LOVE ON THE ROCKS, NO GRAVESTONE UNTURNED, and SNEAKY'S SUPERNATURAL MYSTERY AND OTHER COBBLE COVE STORIES. My new Buttercup Bend series published by Next Chapter Publishing includes THE CASE OF THE CAT CRAZY LADY and THE CASE OF THE PARROT LOVING PROFESSOR. I've also written a romantic comedy novella, WHEN JACK TRUMPS ACE, and short stories of various genres published as eBooks and in anthologies published by the Red Penguin Collection. My poetry appears in the Nassau County Voices in Verse and the Bard's Annual. I'm a member of Sisters-in-Crime, International Thriller Writers, and the Cat Writers' Association. I live on Long Island with my husband, daughter, and 2 cats.

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