Tuesday, September 10, 2019

Book Review: Fatal Cajun Festival by Ellen Byron (Cajun Country Mysteries #5)

Stars: 5 out of 5
Pros: Maggie, the rest of the cast, fast moving story
Cons: One niggle, but overall it’s minor
The Bottom Line:
Music festival
Brings murder to Pelican
Fast paced and fun book

Murder Isn’t Music to Maggie’s Ears

Louisiana has festivals for just about everything – at least more than we do here in California.  And, while the best known are in New Orleans, the small town of Pelican is getting into the act in Ellen Byron’s Cajun Country Mysteries.  Fatal Cajun Festival find Pelican offering their answer to Jazz Fest, with murderous results.

Cajun Country Live! has arrived.  The brainchild of Maggie Crozat’s grand-mere, it is taking place the week before Jazz Fest and has managed to land a huge name.  Tammy Barker is a local girl made good since she won a national television singing competition, and she has agreed to return and make a couple of appearances at the event.  However, this proves to be a problem for Maggie’s friend Gaynell.  Gaynell and her band were hoping to use their show at the event as an audition for Jazz Fest, but Tammy has a grudge against Gaynell from their high school days and manages to sabotage things.

Tammy has a set on the opening night of the festival.  It goes fine, but tragedy strikes after her show is over when someone is murdered.  Unfortunately, Gaynell finds herself the most logical suspect, something that Maggie knows is crazy.  But can she prove her friend is innocent?

The book does a great job of introducing us to everyone before the murder takes place.  There is a list of characters at the beginning of the book, but I never had to refer to it since everyone stands out.  There is a long list of series regulars, but since this is book five, we’ve gotten to know them pretty well at this point.  It was fun to check in with them and see how they are all doing.  While we do meet the suspects rather quickly, it isn’t too long before we can keep them all straight since they have very different personalities.

Once the murder takes place, we are off and running.  I did feel that the police were a little too willing to work with Maggie, but that was my only complaint with the book.  We get some good twists and turns along the way to the climax with some fun sub-plots popping in and out to keep us entertained.  One involving Maggie’s grand-mere is particularly good.  This is a fast-moving book that kept me hooked.

Maggie spends some time in the book making various Pralines to sell in a booth at the festival.  It was no surprise to me that we got a couple different variations of Praline recipes at the end of the book.  (What did surprise me is that not all of them have nuts in them; something important to me since I am allergic to nuts.)  There are a total of five recipes, with Pralines only being two of them, so there is something for everyone.

As always, one of the draws for me to this series is the chance to travel to Cajun Country.  I haven’t spent that much time in Louisiana in real life, but after reading one of these books, I always feel like I have visited.  Of course, the desire to travel there in person is also very strong when I am reading one of these books.  Be sure to read the Lagniappe at the end of the book, which gives a little more background on some of what we read about in the book.

Author Ellen Byron has developed a loyal following that will be delighted with Fatal Cajun Festival.  If you have missed these books so far, be sure to fix that today.

Need more of Maggie’s adventures?  Check out the rest of the Cajun Country Mysteries.

NOTE: I received an ARC of this book.