Murder in the Bayou Boneyard: A Cajun Country Mystery
“If you enjoy timing your books to the seasons, Byron’s Halloween-themed Cajun mystery is a must-read for this time of year, an enjoyable spin through the kind of sensible, clue-laden plotting that makes a good mystery—along with some end-of-book surprises for a bold finale.”
The new Cajun Country Mystery from Ellen Byron demonstrates that Maggie Crozat, owner of a historic bed-and-breakfast, can think clearly under pressure, make smart choices, and survive life-threatening guests—as well as a family that threatens to make her property and family business worthless.
Murder in the Bayou Boneyard comes with all the trappings of a classic “cozy” yet the well-plotted underpinnings of a traditional “amateur sleuth” mystery. Byron’s plotting is smooth, with well-turned dialogue and exploration. Maggie is not a fan of Halloween, but when her Cajun Country region feels pinched by an expanding online B&B app, she pulls the neighboring inns together for a month of spooky pleasures, including a theater performance in a graveyard. Who could blame her when a costumed “rougarou” (the local werewolf/vampire figure) runs onto the stage and falls dead?
Yet the investigators from the next town over manage to horn in on the action, focusing on Maggie as their prime suspect. It’s because the victim is a woman who’s already taken away Maggie’s art studio, in a property dispute gone awry. And the next death in the group intensifies the pressure on Maggie.
Her fiancé is a local police officer, and while that gives Maggie some clout and some avenues for information, it only feeds the competition from the neighboring police force. Between trying to keep guests from being scared away, and trying to keep them alive and entertained, Maggie’s got more than her hands full. And the local newspaper makes things worse:
“A headline screamed, ‘Masseuse Death Ruled a Homicide.’ But it was the subtitle that made Maggie feel ill.
‘Suspects Include Local Family.’
‘If I ever do murder someone, it’s going to be Little Earlie [the reporter],’ Maggie fumed to Bo through her Bluetooth as she drove home. ‘Can’t I sue him for libel or something?’
‘I wish you could, except . . .’
‘It’s not libelous because it’s true.’ Bo’s silence confirmed this. ‘I guess it does look bad, with us firing Susannah and the whole property line thing.’”
As Maggie turns sleuth to save her family’s inn, her mother and grandmother keep the good food rolling, and seasoned “cozy” readers will expect and be tickled by the recipes at the back of the book. Most satisfying in Ellen Byron’s tasty Cajun Country mystery, though, are Maggie’s investigative courage and her quick assessments of motive, means, and opportunity, including an easy local source of strychnine (who knew?).
If you enjoy timing your books to the seasons, Byron’s Halloween-themed Cajun mystery is a must-read for this time of year, an enjoyable spin through the kind of sensible, clue-laden plotting that makes a good mystery—along with some end-of-book surprises for a bold finale.