Body on the Bayou: A Cajun Country Mystery

Body on the Bayou: A Cajun Country Mystery

4.5 2
by Ellen Byron

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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


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 sparkplug 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.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
In Byron’s charming second Cajun Country mystery (after 2015’s Plantation Shudders), Magnolia Marie “Maggie” Crozat, artist and tour guide on the historic Louisiana plantation once owned by her ancestors, has agreed to act as maid of honor for pregnant bride-to-be Vanessa Fleer. When Vanessa’s manipulative, deceitful cousin, Ginger Fleer-Starke, is found dead in the bayou behind Maggie’s parents’ bed-and-breakfast, Maggie’s most important duty as maid of honor becomes helping find Ginger’s killer before Vanessa is arrested for murder. Maggie’s task is complicated by her tentative attraction to Det. Bo Durand, her grandmother’s love life, a double litter of stray puppies and kittens, and the unreasonable, never-ending demands of the ultimate bridezilla. 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 mystery readers could want. Agent: Doug Grad, Doug Grad Literary Agency. (Sept.)
From the Publisher

Praise for Body on the Bayou:
"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

"Byron fills this mystery with delightful characters... The story flows nicely and the killer is a surprise."
--Noir Journal

Praise for the Plantation Shudders:

"Recipes and fascinating tidbits about plantation history add a tasty lagniappe to this entertaining and well-done cozy debut. A twisty plot and engaging colorful characters complete this mystery’s many pleasures."
--Library Journal starred review, Debut of the Month

“Byron’s debut brings energy and verve to the cozy.”
--Publishers Weekly

"Enthusiastically recommended...a deftly crafted and terrifically entertaining novel."
--Midwest Book Review

"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

"An engaging mystery with a touch of romance and a twist of Southern charm."
--Nancy Atherton, New York Times bestselling author of the Aunt Dimity series

"Plantation Shudders is a delight -- a fast, fun read. Ellen Byron is a new cozy voice with a charming Southern accent. You'll love this novel and its colorful Louisiana characters."
--Elaine Viets, author of Checked Out, a Dead-End Job mystery

"I love a mystery that's a gumbo of wit, charm, and plenty of heart. Laissez les bons temps rouler!"
--Nancy Martin, author of The Blackbird Sisters nationally bestselling mystery series

Library Journal
Introduced in the Agatha Award-nominated Plantation Shudders, Magnolia Marie Crozat, who returned to tiny Pelican, LA, to lick her wounds and help her parents run the Crozat Plantation Bed and Breakfast, now must deal with the dubious honor of serving as maid of honor to Vanessa Fleer, who is engaged to the Crozats' mortal enemy, police chief Rufus Durand. Vanessa's bridezilla moments are driving Maggie crazy, and when Vanessa demands her cousin Ginger Fleer-Starke stay at the B&B for free, Maggie is horrified. Then Ginger turns up dead and Maggie is caught in the middle of another murder investigation. VERDICT Cozy readers who fell under the spell of the eccentric and charming Crozat family will welcome their return in this entertaining sophomore effort. The writing is energetic, and the twisty plot includes a touch of romance. Diane Mott Davidson and Lou Jane Temple fans will line up for this series.
Kirkus Reviews
Bridezilla and murder keep an unlucky maid of honor hopping.Artist Maggie Crozat returned home to help run her family's B&B at their lovely Crozet plantation in Pelican, Louisiana. Her very pregnant friend, Vanessa Fleer, has proved to be a demanding bride with long lists of outlandish, constantly changing demands. The bridegroom, Rufus Durand, is a suspended police officer whose family has a long-standing grudge against the Crozats. Luckily for Maggie, his cousin Bo, a detective whom Maggie's quietly dating, isn't interested in family feuds. Maggie wonders why Vanessa gets hysterical and Rufus laughs when she agrees to house Vanessa's cousin Ginger Fleer-Starke and her co-workers Trent and Bibi. The entrepreneurial Ginger has built up a business buying, staging, and decorating houses, with Bibi doing most of the work. Even a lawyer recently moved from Houston has heard all about Ginger, who's sued almost everyone she's ever met and done nothing but cause trouble and fight with people since she arrived in Pelican. So when Maggie finds Ginger's dead body in the bayou, there are all too many people who could have killed the manipulative troublemaker. Maggie and her family are lucky to have alibis, since they've already been involved in a murder (Plantation Shudders, 2016), and the current police chief has no love for any of them. Maggie feels she must do some sleuthing even though her every minute is taken up with Vanessa's demands. Maggie also worries about Bo's first wife, Whitney, who's staying nearby while her new husband is overseas. A beauty whose autistic son, Xander, continues to connect her to her husband, she clearly has doubts about divorcing Bo. Digging into Ginger's background yields even more motives, but who did the deadly deed?Often amusing characters and plenty of red herrings make Byron's second Cajun Country mystery an entertaining read.

Product Details

Crooked Lane Books
Publication date:
A Cajun Country Mystery Series , #2
Sales rank:
Product dimensions:
5.50(w) x 8.30(h) x 1.10(d)

Related Subjects

Meet the Author

Ellen Byron is a television writer, playwright, and freelance journalist. Her TV credits include Wings, Still Standing, and Just Shoot Me, and her written work has appeared in Glamour, Redbook, and Seventeen, among others. She lives in the Los Angeles area with her husband, their daughter, and the family’s very spoiled rescue dog. A native New Yorker, Ellen still misses her hometown and still drives like a New York Cabbie. This is her second in the Cajun Country mystery series following USA Today bestseller Plantation Shudders.

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Body on the Bayou: A Cajun Country Mystery 4.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 4 reviews.
Carstairs38 15 days ago
Return to the Bayou for a Second Murder While I always pay attention to the Agatha nominees, this is the first year I’ve actually read several of them because they were nominated. That’s what lead me to the Cajun Country Mysteries by Ellen Byron. The first was enjoyable, and I knew I wanted to read the follow up, Body on the Bayou, which I loved. Somehow, Maggie Crozat has found herself drafted as maid of honor for the wedding of her co-worker Vanessa Fleer to Crozat family nemesis Police Chief Rufus Durand. As if that weren’t bad enough, Vanessa is eight months pregnant and has turned into a horrid bridezilla. Maggie is almost afraid to answer her phone because it is usually Vanessa adding to the “maid of honor to do list.” Which is why Maggie immediately gets a sense of dread when Vanessa reacts negatively to learning Vanessa’s cousin Ginger is a last minute addition to the wedding guest list. Since Ginger and two of her employees are coming early and need a place to stay, they wind up at the Crozat bed and breakfast. The first night, they seem pleasant, but the next morning, the nastiness starts from the trio of guests. The longer they are around, the more people in town they annoy. But Maggie isn’t prepared to find Ginger’s dead body one morning on the bed and breakfast property. Suddenly, she finds herself with a new item on her to do list – find a killer. Can she do it? I found myself quickly slipping back into the lives of these characters. They are an entertaining bunch that are so much fun to spend time with. Of course, the new characters introduced for this book are just as sharp and entertaining. We are given a little time to get to know Ginger before the murder takes place, but all that does is increase the list of suspects and motives and make us hate her all the more. When her body does turn up, Maggie is able to jump right in and start learning secrets and uncovering lies. The plot never slows until we reach the logical conclusion. But I have to go back to the characters for a moment. What really grabbed me about this book was the character growth we saw in several of the characters introduced in the first book. I found the end very moving, in fact. I dare you to read this without your heart melting. I’ve never been to Louisiana (but I really want to go). However, I feel like I’ve visited thanks to this book. The setting comes to life as we read, and I felt like I was there in the bayou right next to the characters. The author obviously loves this region, and it shows. What’s a book set at a bed and breakfast without a few recipes? We get four of them here, from Turkey Dinner in the Braid to Bananas Foster Coffee Cake a la Ninette and two different takes on Jambalaya. If you were a fan of Ellen Byron’s debut, don’t hesitate to pick up Body on the Bayou. And if you haven’t started this series yet, now’s the time to jump in. You’ll definitely enjoy. NOTE: I received an ARC of this book in exchange for my honest review.
KrisAnderson_TAR 16 days ago
Body on the Bayou by Ellen Byron is the second book in A Cajun Country Mystery series. Magnolia Marie Crozat (who prefers Maggie) is a docent at Louisiana Doucet Plantation that was owned by her ancestors. Maggie is also a painter and helps with the families bed and breakfast (Crozat Plantation Bed and Breakfast). Maggie has agreed to act as Vanessa Fleer’s maid of honor (even though she does not like Vanessa) in hopes of repairing the rift between the Durand and Crozat families. Rufus Durand is Vanessa’s fiancé, and he believes that a Crozat ancestor placed a curse on all Durand relationships. Maggie is hoping to soften Rufus’ attitude toward her family. But Maggie did not count on Vanessa’s turning into a bridezilla or firing her wedding planner (why pay someone if you can get someone to do it for free). Then Maggie finds out that Vanessa wants her cousin, Ginger Fleer-Starke (along with her assistant and intern) to stay at the Crozat B&B (for free). When Rufus finds out, he starts laughing hysterically (not a good sign), and Maggie is warned to keep Ginger away from stairs (this does not bode well for the Crozat’s). Ginger is sweet as sugar the first night of her stay (she arrived a week early), but the next day Maggie finds out why Rufus was laughing. After some Ginger related shenanigans at the co-ed bridal shower (which Maggie had to host and pay for), Maggie finds Ginger dead with her head in the bayou. The suspect list is long with Vanessa near the top of Acting Police Chief Hank Perske’s list. Vanessa pleads with Maggie to find the real killer before her wedding day. Maggie starts her investigation with the help of Bo Durand (in between wedding preparation and planning the bachelorette party). But then Trent Socher, Ginger’s assistant turns up dead at the bachelorette party. He was killed with Vanessa’s wedding gift from Rufus (a small silver pistol—so romantic). Maggie needs to work quickly or this wedding will not go off as planned (though Maggie would like to avoid the maid of honor dress that reminds her of a neon Vegas showgirl outfit). Can Maggie find the real culprit before Vanessa and Rufus’ wedding begins? You will have to read Body on the Bayou to find out! Body on the Bayou was not my cup of tea. It was a too over-the-top silly for my tastes. It was just one inane thing after another (my mother claims I do not have a sense of humor). My favorite character is Bo’s son, Xander. Such a little sweetie. I thought the killer’s identity was easily figured out (I knew who it was as soon as the character was introduced). It was also very easy to figure out who was going to be killed. I mean who didn’t want to kill Ginger. Two clues are all that is needed to solve the mystery (if you need them). I thought too much of book devoted to Maggie and Bo’s “relationship” or lack of one. I like subtle romance in cozy mysteries. I give Body on the Bayou 3 out of 5 stars. The book is easy to read and can be finished in just a few hours. Body on the Bayou is the second book in the series, but it can easily be read alone. Ellen Byron gives us all the background information to bring a reader up-to-date. While this novel was not for me, others will enjoy the humor in it. I suggest getting a sample (if you have an e-reader) to see if the books suits you. Body on the Bayou has a sweet ending that will make you sigh with pleasure. I received a complimentary copy of the novel in exchange for an honest rev
Anonymous 16 days ago
Great characters Family history entertaining .Loved the story line. Awaiting next book.
BookloverUT 16 days ago
Maggie Crozat helps her family run the Crozat Plantation Bed and Breakfast. Since things have settled down after a recent scandal, Maggie has been coerced to become the maid of honor to her sometime nemesis, Vanessa. Vanessa is seven months pregnant and set to marry Police Chief Rufus Durand. One of Maggie’s many maid of honor duties is to look after Ginger, Vanessa’s cousin. When Ginger is found dead and Vanessa becomes a suspect, Maggie needs to find the culprit so Vanessa doesn’t have the baby in jail. I really liked this mystery. It was witty, intriguing and the ending was a total surprise. I loved that the characters I hated the most became the victims. That usually never happens. I felt that Maggie was too much of a pushover. She doesn’t know how to say “No!” I also had a problem with her secret relationship with Bo. I would love to see how Maggie’s character evolves in the next installment to the series. An Advanced Reading Copy was received in exchange for an honest review.