Chicks Book Club: Murder in the Bayou Boneyard

Welcome to Chicks Book Club!  Please feel free to ask any questions you have about the book, the series, the characters, the writing process, the research, or anything you’re curious about. 


murderinthebayouboneyardMurder in the Bayou Boneyard (Cajun Country Mystery #6) 

Maggie Crozat has the Halloween heebie-jeebies in USA Today bestselling and Agatha Award-winning author Ellen Byron’s howlingly funny sixth Cajun Country mystery. Five local plantation B&Bs host “Pelican’s Spooky Past” packages, featuring regional crafts, unique menus, and a pet costume parade. Topping it off, the derelict Dupois cemetery is the suitably sepulchral setting for a spine-chilling play that ends in death. As murders stack up, Maggie fears Pelican’s spooky past has nothing on its scary present.

“If you haven’t started the Cajun Country Mysteries yet, you really are missing out.  Murder in the Bayou Boneyard has the characters and setting that fans have come to love and a plot that will keep them reading.  They will be delight to visit Maggie again, and new comers will quickly add the rest of the series to their to be read pile.” Carstairs Considers

Available from s in bookstores and online: https://www.penguinrandomhouse.com/books/647531/murder-in-the-bayou-boneyard-by-ellen-byron/

To learn more about the series, visit Ellen here.


Thanks for joining us–please drop your question in the comments below. 🙂

48 thoughts on “Chicks Book Club: Murder in the Bayou Boneyard

  1. Huge congrats again on the latest addition to this wonderfully and hilariously intriguing series, Ellen! I’m sure it will be the mosr popular yet. Who can resist Halloween in NOLA, with a spooky mystery, difficult relatives, delicious Cajun specialties, double wedding planning, and hairy werewolves? Ellen, how do you think the Crozat family might keep their B&B going with the added challenge of a pandemic?

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    1. Thanks so much, Lisa! You’re too kind. Judging by the four hotels we’ve stayed at during the pandemic -yes, four, all in the Nola area – they would socially distance the public areas, alternate rooms they book, and do massive, thorough cleanings between stays. But I don’t think Ninette could bear doing a grab and go breakfast or the family forgo wine and cheese hour or offering other meals. So for food and beverage, they would follow restaurant guidelines. And Maggie would design a mask with an illustration of Crozat they’d hand out to all their guests. Either that or personalized hand sanitizer.

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  2. Loved this book, Ellen!! Since I’m such a foodie, I was totally sucked in my all the luscious descriptions of food in the book. And your recipes are fabulous! So my question is, where do you get your ideas for the food in your books, and how do you come up with the recipes? Do you test them all yourself?

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    1. Thanks so much, Leslie! That’s an honor coming from you, since you’re the master of fab recipes. First off, I absolutely test them myself. I can’t imagine including a recipe I haven’t personally worked out. My family gets sick of them! I always try to include my take on a familiar Louisiana dish or two. Sometimes i let an iconic dish inspire a different take on it. I.e., Bananas Foster is a legendary dessert. I turned it into a coffee cake and a cocktail. And sometimes I just make stuff up.

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      1. That was one of my questions too! You proclaim to be not much in the kitchen, Ellen, but I’m beginning to wonder! Can you go into more detail about the recipes? Do you use an actual recipe as a springboard and then spin it? How many tries does it take before you’re happy with it? What’s your inspiration when you just wing it?

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  3. Congrats, Ellen — I think this might be my fave Cajun Country mystery, so far! I’d love to have a granny like Maggie’s Grandmere! Is the character inspired by a real life relative or friend?

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  4. Vickie, thank you so much! Grandmere was created as fiction, although inspired by a composite of women like her I met when I lived in Nola. But here’s the funny thing. Over time, I kept seeing the wonderful actress Blythe Danner when I wrote Gran. So now I hear her voice and she inspires me.

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  5. I always love the Cajun/Creole traditions and info you drop into these marvelous books. How much research do you have to do after so many books? How do you go about it? Do you stumble on something and think, “Oh, THIS is going in a future book!” or do you think of cool stuff and then do the research?

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  6. I have a question for everybody, because I’m a curious sort! [In this case we’re defining “curious” as “nosy”] Psychics play a role in the story. Has anyone ever been to one? What did they tell you?

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    1. No, I’m too scared, even if they’re fake. But I did let author and Chick Emeritus/pal Kellye Garrett read my Tarot cards by text once. She didn’t tell me any scary parts.

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    2. My housemates and I all went to a psychic right after we graduated from college, and mine came close to predicting my getting involved with Robin. (I listened to the cassette tape recently and it was kind of freaky.) Not that I believe in any of that, of course…

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Congrats, El! This series is so much fun. I love how you always incorporate regional traditions in your books.

    What inspired you to insert the rougarou/werewolf into Murder in the Bayou Boneyard? Also, any hints about how the upcoming wedding festivities for certain Crozat family members will have some Cajun flair?

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  8. And another question for everyone! In the book, Maggie doesn’t like Halloween and I never have either. I loved the free candy, but hated the work to get it. Cute or clever costumes in CO were useless because it was always cold, so I usually just wore comfy clothes and tossed my dad’s smelly old fishing coat and hat on over it. The bonus was the huge pockets I could use for my candy so I didn’t even have to carry anything! If I was really ambitious, I’d beg my mom to buy me a bubble gum cigar to complete my transformation into a hobo. So, what about you guys? What do/did you like about Halloween? Is there a particular reason you don’t like it (like me and being lazy)? Do you have a Boo Radley event in your past that colored your thinking? Have you ever actually bobbed for apples??

    Liked by 2 people

    1. LOL re: pocket candy…

      Have bobbed for apples, which I found to be terrifying, but I did turn that experience into an observation in the first Lila book, so at least there’s that.

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      1. How does one even do that?? Underwater, with your small mouth, bite into a huge apple, keep hold of it, and not drown?? And, I guess … why???

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    2. I’ve always liked Halloween, but then again, I’m not required to do anything. The kids don’t trick-or-treat here, so I don’t have to hand out candy. I just get to bask in the decorations the neighbors put up and see the kids in their fun costumes as they head to the mall (where most of the trick-or-treating is done).

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      1. We don’t get many trick-or-treaters here anymore. Our neighborhood has aged out a bit since my kids were little, but also our Mainstreet does this fantastic event and it’s just down the street from us so that’s where kids go. They probably ring doorbells on the way, but we’ve kept our porch light off since we’ve had Nala since she loses her mind when it rings. Talk about traumatizing kids!

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      2. I loved the holiday as a kid (free candy? C’mon!). But am not much of fan as an adult–mostly because the kids ringing the doorbell scare the bejoogers out of poor Ziggy.

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    3. Becky – I like Halloween cozies (congratulations on another winner, Ellen!) but I’m not a Halloween fan as an adult. When you think about it, why do adults let children go to unknown people’s homes and ask for sweets? I think back to our military stationing in Turkey with British officers who were appalled by the American Halloween – yet, it’s now ubiquitous in the UK as well. Just can’t see why folks got so upset when it was curtailed this year. But, I don’t have children so please ‘grinch’ me on this particular holiday.

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      1. You’re right, Ruth, it really is a weird holiday! Your “appalled Brits” made me think of when I lived there and I appalled my share of them by eating peanut butter and jelly. “Blimey! A sweet and a savory? Bit dodgy, innit??”

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  9. Congratulations, El! I love this series and this book is fantastic! Always delighted to spend time with Maggie and Co.

    My question is: how did your background as a playwright contribute to the creation of the play in the book?

    ps: I was going to ask about the werewolf too–good question, Jen! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Becky, to answer your questions, re: recipes, sometimes I’ll use an existing one as a springboard and sometimes I’ll make one up myself. I.e. the Banana Bon Temps cocktail is totally made up. As is the Crawtato recipe, which was inspired by what I learned from Martha Stewart when I worked for her. I make the recipe until I get it right. Once I didn’t ever get it right, which is why there’s an RIP Sweet Potato Praline paragraph in FATAL CAJUN FESTIVAL. As to research, I often stumble upon stuff and go, ooh, I have to to use this! That was the case with the Cajun Orphan Train in MARDI GRAS MURDER. And I used a lot of what I leanred from the Creole Mourning Tour at St. Joseph Plantation in MURDER IN THE BAYOU BONEYARD.

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  11. I’ve been to about ten psychics in my life, one several times because my TV writing partner used her. I always remain skeptical. However, I saw a younger psychic who suddenly said, I see you working on an ABC show on the Paramount lot. I was like, wow, that is super specific and not even close to the interviews we’re going on. Well… guess where we ended up?

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      1. That’s so cool, for both of you! I have a friend who swears by her pet psychic so I’ve been curating a list of non-leading questions to ask about Nala. She does it over the phone, but i’m not sure how to get Nala to hold it up to her ear. maybe we could do it by zoom….

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  12. And fun fact: Helene Brevelle in my book was inspired by a real voodoo priestess i used to get gris gris bags from at Jazz Fest. I wrote a blog post about it for my personal blog that I had to take down because I was getting weird emails asking how to track her down.

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  13. Jen, thanks for asking. Believe it or not, I asked my tiny reader group – which I’ve basically abandoned, poor them – what they like in Halloween books and given my setting, one of them mentioned a rougarou. I was like, yes, right! As to the wedding, it will only take up a chapter because BODY ON THE BAYOU is all about a wedding and I don’t want to repeat myself. But there will be hints of a Cajun flair to it!

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  14. Cyn, my background as a playwright enabled me to imagine how the play would be produced and acted, as well as what the storyline might be. It was a blast creating a totally amateurish but entertaining production!

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  15. Ellen, I love this book so much from the characters to the plot to the dialogue. Speaking of dialogue, you do such a fantastic job of infusing French. Do you speak the language, have an expert at the ready, all of the above or none of the above?!

    Liked by 2 people

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