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Maria DiRico Books In Order

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Publication Order of Catering Hall Mystery Books

Here Comes the Body (2020)Description / Buy at Amazon
Long Island Iced Tina (2021)Description / Buy at Amazon
It's Beginning to Look a Lot Like Murder (2021)Description / Buy at Amazon
Four Parties and a Funeral (2023)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Witless Protection Program (2024)Description / Buy at Amazon

Maria DiRico is the pen name used by an award-winning American writer named Ellen Byron, who likes to write mystery, thriller, and suspense stories. She is famous for writing the Cajun Country Mystery series. Under the pen name, DiRico has recently begun a new mystery series called the Catering Hall Mystery series. DiRico’s books have become bestsellers both nationally and internationally. One of her novels, Mardi Gras Murder, is the winner of the Agatha Award in the category of the Best Contemporary Novel. It was also nominated for the Left Coast Crime conference’s Best Humorous Mystery prize. Her other two books, Body on the Bayou and Cajun Christmas Killing, have also received a nomination for Agatha Award and won the Lefty Award by LCC.

DiRico made her debut as a writer with a novel called Plantation Shudders. It received nominations for the prestigious Agatha, Daphne, and Lefty awards and was included in the bestseller list of USA Today. Prior to making her debut in the field of writing, DiRico worked as a playwright and television writer. Her TV credits include Just Shoot Me, Still Standing, and Wings, as well as cable and network pilots. She has also worked as a freelance journalist and written more than 200 articles and essays for magazines and national publications. Recently, DiRico was included in the Editorial Board of the books published under the Writer’s Program of the UCLA, Inside the Room and Cut to the Chase.

The plays written by her include Asleep on the Winf and Graceland. They have been published under the banner of the Dramatics Play Service. During the earlier phase of her work life, DiRico worked as a cater-waiter for Martha Stewart. Her photo appears in Entertaining’s earlier editions, in which she is standing beside Martha Stewart. Author DiRico was born in Queens, New York. She was brought up in Westchester County and Queens. On her mom’s side, DiRico is the first generation writer of Italian-American origin. Her paternal grandfather was a local Jewish mobster, who went missing mysteriously in 1933. Author DiRico completed her education from Tulane University.

As of now, she resides in Los Angeles along with her loving husband, a daughter, and several rescue dogs. Being a native of New York, she longs to stay in her hometown again. Due to her driving skills like that of a cabbie from New York, her husband jokingly says that though she has moved out of New York, New York has not moved out of her heart. The authors who have influenced her writing include Charles Dickens, Agatha Christie, Jacqueline Winspear, Louise Penny, etc. DiRico is represented by a literary agent named Doug Grad and a film & television named Joel Gotler. She hopes to continue writing both the series and add several more titles in them in the years to come. Also, she is looking forward to developing a couple more series.

DiRico is also hopeful of writing a standalone mystery book soon. The intention behind writing her novels is to attract any reader who likes cozy mystery stories. She likes coming up with stories in which ugly things happen and justice prevails in the end. Author DiRico’s advice to the aspiring authors is that they should learn to listen and write more. Also, they should distill feedback and make good use of critique and notes. At no point in their career should they stop trying to become the best writer. Finding a publisher is very difficult these days, so they must keep looking for an agent. Self-publishing appears to be quite tempting to new authors, but one should not jump into it very fast.

Even though DiRico had won the William Deeck-Malice grant and had several playwright and TV credits to her name, she could not find a literary agent before 9 months. Also, she failed to publish her first book. But, DiRico never lost hope and used her failures and struggles as a tool to motivate herself. Currently, she is an active member of the WGA, MWA, Sisters in Crime, and TAG. In her spare time, DiRico likes to take up reading. She considers it her go-to hobby. Additionally, she likes to get involved in several other crafts, such as jewelry making and decoupage. Sometimes, she also likes to go for long walks with her dog.

The debut book of the Catering Hall Mystery series written by author Maria DiRico is entitled ‘Here Comes the Body’. It was released by the Kensington publication in February 2020. DiRico has mentioned the primary characters in this novel in the form of Mia Carina, Ravello Carina, and a few others. The story takes place in the Queens neighborhood of New York City. Initially, it is mentioned that Mia Carina becomes newly widowed after the boat of her philandering husband capsizes, resulting in his death. After this personal tragedy and loss, Mia returns to Astoria, the neighborhood of Queens, where she used to live during her youth. She begins living with her grandmother and her oversized cat named Doorstop. As Mia Carina begins a new chapter of her, she also takes up come amateur sleuthing on the sides.

To earn her livelihood, she joins works at the catering hall that is owned by her father, called Bella View. This catering hall is famous for hosting office parties, birthday parties, and weddings. The crystal chandelier hanging from the hall’s ceiling often experiences vibration due to planes flying overhead. Mia looks forward to hosting the first bachelor party for the groom, who doesn’t seem to be having any gentlemanlike qualities. The party goes awry when the lady inside the gigantic cake is found dead. And as Mia is related to a family of mobsters, the New York Police places suspicion of her father. The suspicion becomes stronger when it is learned that Mia’s father and the victim had an altercation before. To prevent her father from wrongful conviction and save the reputation of her family, Mia decides to take up sleuthing and investigate the murder case. After several failed attempts, she finally succeeds in tracking down the real murderer and helps the authorities hunt him down.

Book Series In Order » Authors » Maria DiRico

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