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The Witless Protection Program

Maria DiRico serves up the laughs in the latest Catering Hall Mystery

Mia Carina has been successfully running her family's legitimate catering business and hopes to plan her own wedding soon. However, her first husband, who she thought was dead, shows up and threatens to ruin her plans. Mia's family wants to take care of him permanently, but Mia has had enough of dealing with the police and wants to be divorced, not a widow.

This is the fifth and possibly final book in the hilarious Catering Hall Mysteries, and as a fan, I'm already feeling the loss, but it goes out on a shenanigan-filled wild ride that I couldn't put down. This is a well-crafted and red-herring-filled mystery in a great setting. And the title is so clever and perfect. It's also really funny!

I adore the humor in these books about a crime family in Queens, New York, that has (mostly) been going legit, and this one had me in stitches. DiRico once wrote for The Fairly Odd Parents, among other shows, and knows how to craft funny scenes and populate them with endearingly charming, quirky characters with depth. Mia is surrounded by family and friends who would do anything for her. And sometimes, they offer hilariously over-the-top solutions to situations, leaving Mia to be the voice of reason. This cast is an absolute hoot!

A lot is going on in this book since it wraps up the series, but the writing is excellent, and the pace is fast enough to keep you engaged and entertained. Seeing how the characters' storylines wrapped up was very satisfying, though I hope there will be more books somewhere down the line, fingers crossed. This could be read as a standalone, but starting from the beginning of the series would give readers a stronger connection. I loved this!

Thank you to Kensington Books for the free book!

My steep was Strawberries and Cream Black Tea with Rose from Plum Deluxe which is so delicious!


Mia Carina has steered her Italian-American family’s Astoria, Queens, catering hall, Belle View Banquet Manor, into becoming the borough’s premiere party site, and nothing could make her happier—except her boyfriend proposing. There’s just one presumed-dead obstacle in the way . . .

A strong, independent woman and respected entrepreneur, Mia never imagined she’d pine for a marriage proposal. Yet lately, with her beloved Shane, she’s on tenterhooks. It’s especially surprising, considering Mia’s first husband, Adam, was a philandering grifter, assumed lost-at-sea after a boating disaster. But everyone knows what happens when you assume . . .

While working a huge wedding expo in Manhattan, Mia is shocked to spot the man who nearly destroyed her life. The one who’s supposed to be sleeping with the fishes. But she loses him in the crowd. And when it happens again the next day, it’s time for an emergency meeting with the family—and the Family. Because if Adam is alive, Mia is still married . . .

Everyone wants Adam dead. Everyone except Mia. She’s dealt with enough police for a lifetime. Mia needs to be a divorcée, not a widow. But someone out there disagrees, and if Mia doesn’t discover who, she may never be free to marry Shane—or anyone else . . .

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