Thursday, February 2, 2023

Book Review: Wined and Died in New Orleans by Ellen Byron (Vintage Cookbook Mysteries #2)

Stars: 5 out of 5
Pros: great plot and wonderful characters 
Cons: I won’t be wining about any cons 
The Bottom Line:
Valuable wine
Was it motive for murder?
Fun, page turning book

Murder is Nothing to Wine Over

I always look forward to a new book from Ellen Byron, so I was excited to pick up Wined and Died in New Orleans. And I was rewarded with another fun book from a great author. 

This is the second book in her Vintage Cookbook Mysteries, so if you haven’t started the series, you aren’t that far behind. It features Ricki James-Diaz, who has turned her love of vintage cookbooks and her expertise in old books in general into a shop that sells cookbooks and vintage kitchen items in Bon Vee, one of the historic homes in New Orleans. Opening her shop coincided with a murder, and fortunately for us, another murder is on the horizon. 

It starts with a shocking discovery on the grounds of Bon Vee - multiple crates of 150-year-old wine. These bottles could be worth a fortune, which is good news since Bon Vee could use the proceeds for maintenance on the buildings and grounds. 

However, Ricki’s social media posts about the discovery and upcoming auction have an unintended consequence. Distance relatives start to show up, some of them previously unknown, demanding that they deserve a piece of the proceeds as well. It quickly starts to become too much for Eugenia Charbonnet, the President of the Bon Vee board and niece of the estate’s previous owner. Then one of these relatives turns up dead. Can Ricki figure out what is really going on?

Quite obviously, if you are looking for a dead body in the first chapter, you will be disappointed. The story needs a little time to introduce some new characters and set up the premise of this book. However, it does a great job of that. Things move quickly and the tension builds nicely before the murder. It only gets stronger once Ricki has a murder to solve, and none of that set up was wasted. There are several fun complications and diversions along the way to the logical solution. Add in some sub-plots and you’ve got a book that was hard to put down. 

Ricki gets some good character development in this book. I enjoyed watching these changes in her character. She isn’t the only one. Several of the returning characters and even some of the new characters get some nice growth here. 

And I haven’t even touched on the cliffhanger ending from the previous book. Yes, that ending is addressed here. And I loved how it played into this story. 

If you haven’t read the first in the series, be warned that a couple scenes here have minor spoilers for the first book. However, there is still much there you won’t know if you read them out of order. However, they are so fun I would recommend you go ahead and read the first one. 

Ellen Byron loves Louisiana and New Orleans and it comes through in this book. I felt like I was visiting the city as I read. 

As you’d expect from a culinary cozy like this one, we get five recipes at the end. In a fun twist here, each one is adapted from a real vintage cookbook. 

Wined and Died in New Orleans is lots of fun. The inventive plot and great characters will keep readers happy until they turn the final page. 

Note: I received an ARC of this book.


  1. I love this title, and the setting.

  2. Mark!! This is such a great review!! Thank you so much!!

  3. I really enjoyed this book and was so thrilled because I hadn't loved the first book.

  4. I haven't read many cozy mysteries lately but you've reminded me how much I enjoy them. This sounds like a good one! Thanks for linking to the Southern Lit challenge!


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