“Superior… Well-rounded characters, a fair-play plot, entertaining repartee, as well as dashes of Cajun lore and Louisiana history make this cozy a winner.” Publishers Weekly
It’s Mardi Gras season on the bayou, which means parades, pageantry, and gumbo galore. But when a flood upends life in the tiny town of Pelican, Louisiana—and deposits a body of a stranger behind the Crozat Plantation B&B—the celebration takes a decidedly dark turn. The citizens of Pelican are ready to Laissez les bon temps rouler—but there’s beaucoup bad blood on hand this Mardi Gras.
Maggie Crozat is determined to give the stranger a name and find out why he was murdered. The post-flood recovery has delayed the opening of a controversial exhibit about the little-known Louisiana Orphan Train. And when a judge for the Miss Pelican Mardi Gras Gumbo Queen pageant is shot, Maggie’s convinced the murder is connected to the body on the bayou. Does someone covet the pageant queen crown enough to kill for it? Could the deaths be related to the Orphan Train, which delivered its last charges to Louisiana in 1929? The leads are thin on this Fat Tuesday—and until the killer is unmasked, no one in Pelican is safe.
Buy Link: Crooked Lane Books
“Superb… there’s no end to the mischief and mayhem in this exceptional cozy.” Publishers Weekly Starred Review.
Christmas in Cajun Country is magical. Elaborate decorations adorn homes and businesses, and Pelican residents come together for a raucous Christmas Eve festival featuring giant bonfires on the levee that light the way up the river for Papa Noël. But this year, there’s coal in the stockings at Crozat Plantation B&B. Someone is flooding travel websites with vicious negative reviews of the B&B. The culprit may be one of the Crozats’ own holiday guests, among which is Don Baxter, a nasty businessman who’s an innkeeper’s worst nightmare.
When Baxter is found stabbed to death at Doucet Plantation, where heroine Maggie Crozat works part-time, she and her entire family are considered suspects. They establish alibis, but her boyfriend, Detective Bo Durand, also a suspect, remains under suspicion. With Bo sidelined during the investigation, Maggie finds herself with an unlikely ally, longtime family enemy Rufus Durand. Her sleuthing uncovers a viper’s nests of dysfunctional family dynamics, and puts her in the crosshairs of a murderer. She and Rufus must track down Don Baxter’s killer, or it will be the opposite of a Joyeux Noël for those at Crozat Plantation Bed & Breakfast.
The Crozats feared that past murders at Crozat Plantation B&B might spell the death of their beloved estate, but they’ve managed to survive the scandal. Now there’s a très bigger story in Pelican, Louisiana: the upcoming nuptials between Maggie Crozat’s nemesis, Police Chief Rufus Durand, and her co-worker, Vanessa Fleer.
When everyone else refuses the job of being Vanessa’s Maid of Honor, Maggie reluctantly takes up the title and finds herself tasked with a long list of duties–the most important of which is entertaining Vanessa’s cousin, Ginger Fleer-Starke. But just days before the wedding, Ginger’s lifeless body is found on the bayou and the Pelican PD, as well as the Crozats, have another murder mystery on their hands.
There’s a gumbo-potful of suspects, including an ex-Marine with PTSD, an annoying local newspaper reporter, and Vanessa’s own spark plug of a mother. But when it looks like the investigation is zeroing in on Vanessa as the prime suspect, Maggie reluctantly adds keeping the bride-to-be out of jail to her list of Maid of Honor responsibilities in Body on the Bayou, Ellen Byron’s funny and engaging follow up to her critically acclaimed novel Plantation Shudders.
PLANTATION SHUDDERS: A CAJUN COUNTRY MYSTERY
by Ellen Byron
In this Agatha and Lefty-nominated mystery debut, it’s the end of the summer and Prodigal Daughter Maggie Crozat has returned home to her family’s plantation-turned-bed-and-breakfast in Louisiana. The Crozats have an inn full of guests for the local food festival—elderly honeymooners, the Cajun Cuties, a mysterious stranger from Texas, a couple of hipster lovebirds, and a trio of Georgia frat boys. But when the elderly couple keels over dead within minutes of each other – one from very unnatural causes – Maggie and her family suddenly become suspects in a murder.
With the help of Bo Durand, the town’s handsome new detective, Maggie must investigate to clear her name while holding the family business together at the same time. And the deeper she digs, the more she wonders: are all of the guests really there for a vacation or do they have ulterior motives? Decades-old secrets and stunning revelations abound in Ellen Byron’s charming cozy debut, Plantation Shudders.
Published by Crooked Lane Books.
“Diane Mott Davidson and Lou Jane Temple fans will line up for this series.”
–The Library Journal
“Brilliant… Ellen Byron has written a delectable Cajun cozy mystery that is one of the best books I have read in a long time!”
—Night Owl Reviews, Top Pick
Byron’s debut brings energy and verve to the cozy.”
– Publishers Weekly
“’PLANTATION SHUDDERS’ is a brilliant book that takes us to Louisiana, where there is an abundance of Southern hospitality, charm, legends, and fabulous food. Ellen Byron has written a delectable Cajun cozy mystery that is one of the best books I have read in a long time!”
– Night Owl Suspense Top Picks
“An engaging mystery with a touch of romance and a twist of Southern charm.”
— NYT Bestseller Nancy Atherton
“Grab a grisgris bag and dish out the jambalaya. You won’t want to miss Magnolia “Maggie” Crozat, a charming new heroine, and her crime-solving adventures in Louisiana Cajun Country.”
—Connie Archer, author of A Soup Lover’s Mystery Series