by Abby L. Vandiver


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Romaine Wilder, big-city medical examiner with a small-town past, has been downsized and evicted. With few other options, she’s forced to return to her hometown of Roble in East Texas, leaving behind the man she’s dating and the life she’s worked hard to build.

Suzanne Babet Derbinay, Romaine’s Auntie Zanne and proprietor of the Ball Funeral Home, has long since traded her French Creole upbringing for Big Texas attitude. She’s a member in a number of ladies’ auxiliaries and clubs, including being in charge of the Tri-County Annual Crawfish Boil and Music Festival.

Hanging on to the magic of her Louisiana roots, she’s cooked up a love potion or two—if she could only get Romaine to drink it. But her plans are derailed when the Ball Funeral Home, bursting at the seams with dead bodies, has a squatter stiff.

Dead Guy is a problem.

Auntie Zanne can’t abide by a murderer using her funeral home as the dumping grounds for their crimes, and Romaine doesn’t want her newly elected cousin, Sheriff Pogue Folsom, to fail on his first murder case. Together, Romaine and Auntie Zanne set off to solve it.

With a dash of humor, a dollop of Southern charm, and a peek at current social issues in the mix, it’s a fun romp around East Texas to solve a murder mystery of the cozy kind.

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SECRETS, LIES, & CRAWFISH PIES by Abby L. Vandiver | A Henery Press Mystery. If you like one, you’ll probably like them all.


“The amusing narrative zips along, providing a multilayered plot with loads of plausible suspects and possible motives. Cozy fans will look forward to Romaine’s future exploits.” – Publishers Weekly

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781635113464
Publisher: Henery Press
Publication date: 06/12/2018
Series: A Romaine Wilder Mystery , #1
Pages: 266
Sales rank: 291,646
Product dimensions: 5.50(w) x 8.50(h) x 0.56(d)

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SECRETS, LIES, & CRAWFISH PIES 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 6 reviews.
gaele More than 1 year ago
Almost the moment Romaine Wilder arrived in Roble, she wanted O U T. A few years, plenty of education and a good job in Chicago with the obligatory showy apartment and a man in her life that is exciting, if not exactly free, and Romaine has it all. Until the city’s budget cuts eliminate her position as a medical examiner, and her life suddenly goes pear shaped. When you add in the not so subtle distance that her doctor-boyfriend is displaying, partially due to his marital situation, no incoming salary and no immediate jobs to hand, she’s temporarily moving back to Roble, while she decides on her next move. Her Aunt Zanne, the woman who took her in after her parent’s death, and occasionally Ioh who am I kidding – constantly) marches to the beat of her own drummer, dragging, cajoling, guilting and always nudging people to follow along, is there to help her pack up for the return. Arriving in Roble, the house / funeral parlor in the pouring rain, an ‘extra body’ that doesn’t belong in the business is there, left by the crematory door. Adding to that lovely event, the sheriff (a cousin) is new to the job, the person who found the body has a history of severe depression and has retreated into herself, there are new people that are ‘now indispensable’ according to Zanne, and everyone believes Romaine is there for good, and will be jumping into the local Crawfish festival planning, the event headed up by her Aunt. With the county’s medical examiner ill, Romaine is stepping in to autopsy the body, Aunt Zanne is determined to find the killer, and when she’s not spouting outrageous accusations, she’s off for one of her innumerable clubs, charities and boards. Oh – and did I mention that the sheriff, her nephew Pogue, has never investigated a murder, is new to the job, and has a 4 day conference that will take him away from the investigation? We’ll overlook Zanne’s references to his lack of qualifications, or his childhood oddities that stay with you, FOREVER, in these small towns. “Pogue, as a child, was a bit slow and he had such a huge head that is was easy for people to make matters worse, he’d fall over by just moving it away from center mass – all it took was a slight lean and he’d go tumbling. Andie Zanne was always trying to get Aunt Julep to take him to a specialist in Houston because she swore it was filled with lead.” As if those stories from childhood aren’t enough – the characters here are absolutely wonderful – utterly southern and palpable, with plenty of moments as Romaine is constantly hit with memories, challenges and the pressures overt and covert, exerted by Zanne. From returning to stay, to tagging along on investigations, bullied into baking, a constant battle of her own loyalties to family crossing the lines with investigative propriety, evidence protection and trying to help Pogue without actually doing all the work herself, she’s got plenty on her plate and is constantly fighting the battle between behaving like a petulant child who’s lost her best dolly and pitching in with a good attitude. Pitching in is a given, it’s only when her aunt’s manipulations bring her memories and moments she believed were lost that her own pieces start to fall into place. With the discovery of the killer and unearthing of several other MAJOR secrets that I’m sure will lead to issues in the future, the story was a delightful series of questions and puzzles, each coming together in ways that make absolute sense, after the reveal.
iiiireader More than 1 year ago
Romaine Wilder is a medical examiner who has come home to the small Texas town of Roble to recoup after her life falls in the big city falls apart. Between losing her job and finding out just how little her “boyfriend” intends to actually give up to be with her, Romaine finds little solace in the small town happenings she left behind. That is, until a body turns up unexpectedly at her Auntie’s funeral home. Auntie Zanne is ready to point a finger at another family member and Romaine becomes involved to prove otherwise. Between crawfish pies and magic teas, the story has a lot of laughs and fun happenings. Romaine starts to enjoy herself which isn’t so great for someone who plans to return to the big city once again. The plot was interesting and the whodunnit was not so easily solved. The characters were a hoot and I’m looking forward to reading more in this fun cozy mystery series. As with all first books in a series, a lot of time is spent laying the groundwork for future books. You get introduced to many characters and are given a background for each. It makes for a little slow-going at times but is well worth the effort once the story is told. I was provided a digital advance reader copy of this book by the publisher via Netgalley.
booklover6460 More than 1 year ago
What a delightful read! Lots of great characters with quirky personalities. It's obvious that the author spent a lot of time developing them and wanted you to become a part of the town of Roble, TX. Great mystery from the very first of the book and keeps you guessing until the end. I had a clue, but wasn't sure which person might be guilty of murder until the very end. But it doesn't matter if you can't figure it out right away, because the story is full of twists and turns and lots of crazy antics. Auntie Zanne has you chuckling and understanding how Romaine could lose her cool with her aunt. It appears this book sets things up for a sequel and I am looking anxiously forward to seeing what happens with Romaine and a couple of interested "fellas". The book moves along quickly and you are constantly facing a new clue as you try to figure out the identity of the dead body found at the funeral home and how he got there. The one negative aspect is that I did not like the situation Romaine left in Chicago. She's too smart to put up with that type of relationship. But we'll see what happens when the next book comes out...hopefully soon! Thank you to Henery Press and NetGalley for an ARC in exchange for my honest feedback.
Chatting-About-Cozies More than 1 year ago
I felt right at home reading this story. I’m a native East Texan and could’ve stepped right out of the pages of Abby L. VanDiver’s story. Set around the awesome pineywoods area of Roble, TX, we find protagonist—Dr. Romaine Wilder—traveling home with her Aunt Zanne (Babet). Home being the Ball Funeral Home & Crematorium. They arrive to find Josephine Gail, Babet’s ditzy best friend, all in a tizzy saying there’s an extra dead body in the funeral home. Sure enough, there’s a suited corpse laying in a casket someone swiped from the showroom floor! The local law, Pogue, just happens to be Romaine’s first cousin, and he’s pretty green when it comes to solving crimes, especially murder. Aunt Zanne’s not shy and she’s determined to find out who the unidentified dead man is as soon as Romaine performs the autopsy to determine cause of death and whatever other clues she can gleam from the body. Following Auntie as she drags Romaine from place to place looking for clues had me chuckling throughout the story. Babet is not one to stop when she’s on a mission! Ms. VanDiver skillfully sets up a mighty fine southern mystery. Brimming with humor, it’s a great portrayal of small town families, friends, and rivalries. The cast have realistic personality quirks and all kinds of talent! I had fun reading this story and can hardly wait for the next one. 5 out of 5 Stars! I provide an honest review of an ARC from NetGalley and Henery Press.
ArizonaJo More than 1 year ago
Secrets, Lies & Crawfish Pies by Abby L. Vandiver was a fun beginning to a new mystery series. Romaine Wilder has returned to her roots in East Texas after losing her medical examiner position in Chicago. She has returned with her Aunt Zanne to the funeral home where she grew up after her parents died. Aunt Zanne is truly over the top throughout the book and caused many humorous moments throughout the story. The writing flows smoothly and there were enough twists and turns in the mystery to keep me turning the pages. I voluntarily reviewed an Advance Reader Copy of this book from Henery Press via NetGalley. All of the above opinions are my own.
MusicInPrint More than 1 year ago
Abby Vandiver introduces Romaine Wilder in this Mystery. Romaine is forced to leave Chicago and return to the source of her roots. A small town in East Texas called Rebel. Aunt Zanne is focused on making sure that Romaine stays in Rebel permanently! Ball Funeral Home owned by her Aunt makes perfect place for Romaine to practice her medical examiner training. When a dead body is discovered complete with his own coffin in the funeral home Sherlock skills have to be employed to find out who it is. Easy moving plot with a group of laid back southern folk. Nice cover art but the edge of the seat drama was just not there for me. "A copy of this book was provided by Henery Press via Netgalley with no requirements for a review. Comments here are my honest opinion."