Several series I read have introduced me to parts of the country that weren’t previously on my travel list but have become places I would love to visit. One of those is Ellen Byron’s Cajun Country mysteries. We get to drop in for a Halloween visit with Murder in the Bayou Boneyard.
With bookings down, Maggie Crozat has come up with the perfect October promotion. Five B&B’s in Pelican, Louisiana, have teamed up for the “Pelican’s Spooky Past” promotion. The five of them are each hosting different events including crafts, meals, and even a pet parade, all designed to draw in visitors looking for some old Cajun traditions and culture. Unfortunately, someone is out to sabotage her idea as many people are being frightened by sightings of a rougarou, a local legendary monster that is a cross between a werewolf and a vampire.
One of the highlights, at least for the guests, is a play staged in one of the almost abandoned graveyards in the area. For Maggie, the writing and acting are only tolerable, but the guests seem to have a great time. A couple of weekends into the promotion, someone dressed as a rougarou stumbles onto the stage and dies. The location of the death means it is a joint investigation between two parishes, and the neighboring parish is determined to pin the crime on Maggie. Can she clear her name?
I always learn something fun while reading these books, and this is no exception. Honestly, I’m a bit surprised that the rougarou haven’t appeared in more fiction before now, it seems like a perfect monster for Hollywood to exploit. We also learn about mourning traditions and more local food. Plenty of food, so don’t read this book on an empty stomach.
The mystery itself is strong. In addition to trying to figure out the killer, I often try to spot the victim as soon as possible. I was fooled on both fronts – my first guesses both proved to be wrong. And those were just a couple of the twists and turns along the way that kept me glued to the book. I do have a couple of niggles with the climax, but they are minor overall.
I also love these characters. Over the course of the series, we’ve met many wonderful characters who have grown into friends, even some who didn’t start out that way in the early books. I love seeing the growth not only in the characters but in their relationships. While a couple of the regulars weren’t around or had small parts in this book, I did enjoy getting to spend time with the majority of the cast. And the new characters were strong enough to make us forget about the characters who were missing.
Maggie and her grandmother are both getting married in a couple of months, and one of the sub-plots in the series involves Gran planning their joint wedding. Gran is always a hoot, and this storyline is no exception at all.
All the book talk in the book will make your mouth water, so you’ll be happy to know there are five recipes at the end so you can enjoy a bit of Cajun food anywhere in the country.
If you haven’t started the Cajun Country Mysteries yet, you really are missing out. Murder in the Bayou Boneyard has the characters and setting that fans have come to love and a plot that will keep them reading. They will be delight to visit Maggie again, and new comers will quickly add the rest of the series to their to be read pile.
Need more of Maggie’s adventures? Here are the rest of the Cajun Country Mysteries.
NOTE: I received an ARC of this book.