Pros: Character growth and a fun mystery
Cons: All cons lost in the bayou
The Bottom Line:
Wedding guest murdered
Leaves Maggie scrambling to solve
As characters shine
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.