Merry Christmas Welcome to my new feature . . .
I chose to begin my road trip visiting Ellen Byron and her great series. She just happens to have a great cozy Christmas read to share with us.
About the book
In this recipe-stuffed cozy mystery, B&B owner Maggie Crozat joins forces with her longtime enemy to prevent a murderous Grinch from ruining Christmas
Maggie Crozat is back home in bayou country during the most magical time of the year. In Pelican, Louisiana, Christmastime is a season of giant bonfires on the levee, zydeco carols, and pots of gumbo. Except, this year, the Grinch has come to stay at the family-run Crozat Plantation B&B. When he floods travel websites with vicious reviews, Maggie thinks she’s identified him as rival businessman Donald Baxter. That is, until he’s found stabbed to death at Maggie’s workplace. And Maggie and her loved ones become top suspects.
The Crozats quickly establish alibis, but Maggie’s boyfriend, Detective Bo Durand, remains under suspicion. With Bo sidelined during the investigation, Maggie finds herself forced to work with an unlikely ally: longtime family enemy Rufus Durand. Her sleuthing uncovers more suspects than drummers drumming, and lands her in the crosshairs of the murderer.
The sleigh bells are jingling, and the clock is ticking for Maggie and Rufus, who must catch the killer or it will be the opposite of a Joyeux Noël in A Cajun Christmas Killing, the recipe-stuffed third installment of USA Today bestselling author Ellen Byron’s Cajun Country mysteries.
Praise for A Cajun Christmas Killing:
2018 Best Humorous Mystery Lefty Award Winner
"Superb...there’s no end to the mischief and mayhem in this exceptional cozy."
— Publishers Weekly starred review
"Amid the slew of Christmas cozies, Byron spices up the genre with her colorful Cajun Louisiana setting and entertaining protagonist."
— Library Journal
“ Fun and heartwarming, a real holiday treat that will leave you guessing until the end.”
—San Francisco Book Review, five-star review
“ A Cajun Christmas Killing is pure perfection! It has the just the right blend of holiday spice, mystery, and murder to be enjoyed not only at Christmas, but the whole year round! Once you crack open this blissful book you will be hooked!”
— Night Owl Reviews
“Simply outstanding...unreservedly recommended for community library Mystery/Suspense collections.”
— Midwest Book Review
Praise for Body on the Bayou:
2017 WINNER OF THE LEFTY AWARD FOR BEST HUMOROUS MYSTERY NOVEL
2017 AGATHA BEST CONTEMPORARY NOVEL AWARD NOMINEE
"Cozy readers who fell under the spell of the eccentric and charming Crozat family will welcome their return...Diane Mott Davidson and Lou Jane Temple fans will line up for this series."
— Library Journal
“A tight plot, an appealing setting, and a smart, good-hearted protagonist with a caring, supportive family and lots of friends give this story everything cozy readers could want.”
— Publishers Weekly
“Who did the deadly deed? Often amusing characters and plenty of red herrings make Byron’s second Cajun Country mystery an entertaining read.”
— Kirkus Reviews
" Body on the Bayou is a perfect mix of Southern charm, spicy people, fantastic food, and murder...Once again, Ellen Byron has given us a murder mystery masterpiece!"
— Night Owl Reviews, Top Pick
"Southern charm and humor permeate Ellen Byron’s Body on the Bayou, a Louisiana murder mystery rife with suspenseful twists, relationship drama, and delectable cooking...Aside from the backdrop, the characters are the most compelling aspect of the novel, as even minor players possess unique and memorable personalities."
— Foreword Reviews, five-star review
"Not only is the story a whole lot of fun to read, with a historical plantation setting, but there are also mouthwatering recipes for every reader to sink their teeth into."
— Suspense Magazine
Read an excerpt
About A Cajun
“Lagniappe” is a Louisiana term that means “a little something
extra.” For me, it’s a way of sharing some personal
anecdotes about the wonderful region that inspired my
Cajun Country Mystery series.
The bonfires on the Mississippi levee are an extraordinary
Christmas tradition that I recommend everyone experience
at least once in their lifetime.
Families, friends, and even coworkers spend weeks
between Thanksgiving and Christmas Eve building the
bonfires. As I write in this book, most are pyramids of logs
stacked upward of thirty feet. Some people get whimsical
and build bonfires shaped like a plantation home, or they
rope together stacks of cane reed that snap, crackle, and pop
when lit. During a recent visit, I even saw a bonfire shaped
like a pirate ship. Many of the bonfires are laced with strands
of firecrackers that add a noisy festivity when the bonfires are
lit at seven pm on Christmas Eve. The river roads on both
sides of the Mississippi are lined with enthusiastic onlookers
who alternate between viewing the bonfires and celebrating
at potluck parties packed with delicious homemade Cajun
dishes. Bonfires are built up and down the Mississippi on
both sides of the river, but the highest concentration is found
in St. James Parish, around Gramercy (where we partied),
Lutcher, and Paulina.
The origin of this tradition is murky. Some trace it all the
way back to ancient Europe, where bonfires celebrated the end
of a harvest. Others say that in previous centuries the bonfires
were a way of guiding boats up the tricky Mississippi
River during the holidays. But the most popular explanation
of the bonfires on the levee is that they guide Papa Noel’s
way to the homes of Cajun children on Christmas Eve.
My dream of experiencing the levee bonfires finally came
true thanks to a contest sponsored by the River Parishes
Tourist Commission. The fabulous prize included a B and B
stay, gift cards, swag, and most importantly, a chance to
view the bonfires from a private party at a home on the East
River Road. The weather was bad on Christmas Eve, and
the bonfires were touch and go up until the last minute. My
husband, daughter, and I said silent prayers that the event
would take place as scheduled and not be postponed until
New Year’s Eve when we’d no longer be in town. Luckily,
despite a persistent drizzle, the celebration was on.
A Cajun Christmas Killing
Our hosts were an extended family of adult Cajun siblings
who join forces every year to throw a legendary party.
Guests may bring sides and desserts, but the family provides
the main courses—a variety of jambalayas and gumbos that
were hands down the best versions of these dishes I’ve ever
eaten. A cry went up from the crowd when the first bonfire
was lit, and fireworks exploded from a location down by the
river. One by one, the bonfires burst into flames, setting off
the firecrackers. I ran from one to another like a kid, getting
soaking wet and covered in ash. The smoke haze became so
thick, I couldn’t see the person next to me as I slipped and
stumbled on the wet levee grass. I shared every aspect of this
adventure with Maggie Crozat—including the shower I had
to take before attending Christmas Eve Mass. It was one of
the most exciting events of my life.
I wanted to share something else with you inspired by a reallife
incident. Recently, my daughter and I toured Laura, a
Creole plantation on the West River Road. The tour guide
told a story about how the family that built the manor house
managed to skirt some laws imposed by American rule after
the 1804 Louisiana Purchase. “In Louisiana,” she said with a
sly wink in a husky smoker’s voice, “we only follow the rules
we like.” In a few words, the tour guide summed up a quirky
attitude specific to Louisiana. I loved this line so much I gave
those exact words to sometime-police chief Rufus Durand.
While we’re on the subject of Laura, if you’re considering
a visit to Plantation Country, I recommend touring both a
Creole and an American plantation. Laura and Oak Alley
are two of several that offer in-depth tours of the former; for
the latter, plan a visit to a plantation like Houmas House or
Nottoway. You’ll come away with a greater understanding
of the differences between the two cultures. And don’t leave
the area without visiting Whitney, the only plantation in
Louisiana focused solely on slavery. The tour may be heartwrenching,
but it’s essential.
Visit the author
All the books in the series are available on the authors website click Here