Thursday, December 1, 2016

Body on the Bayou (A Cajun Country Mystery Book 2)

Author:  Ellen Byron
Genre:  Mystery

Hardcover; Audio CD; Ebook; Audible
ISBN #:  9781629537689; 9781504774642
Crooked Lane Books
$20.04; $29.95; $8.99 Amazon
September 13, 2006


The Crozats feared that past murders at Crozat Plantation B&B might spell the death of their beloved estate, but they've managed to survive the scandal.  Now theres a trés bigger story in Pelican, Louisiana: the upcoming nuptials between Maggie Crozat's nemsis, Police Chief Rufus Durand, and her co-worker, Vanessa Fleer.

When everyone else refuses the job of being Vanessa's Maid of Honor, Maggie reluctantly takes up the title and finds herself tasked with a long list of duties - the most important of which is entertaining Vanessa's cousin, Ginger Fleer-Starke.  But just days before the wedding, Ginger's lifeless body is found on the bayou and the Pelican PD, as well as the Crozats, have another murder mystery on their hands.                                                  


Poor Maggie.  She's been saddled as Maid of Honor to the bridezillas of bridezillas - her co-worker Vanessa Fleer, and only because Vanessa couldn't find anyone else who wanted the job.  She's planning a nightmare wedding, changing plans, and expecting Maggie to do the near impossible to make her wedding the dream she wants.  The only hitch is the fact that Vanessa is eight months pregnant and a hormonal nightmare.  It's bad enough to be around a bridezilla, but a pregnant bridezilla?  The thought gives me shudders...

Maggie just wants to get back to her life of a tour guide at Doucet Plantation (complete with hoop skirt and wig), helping out at her family's B&B, and painting in her spare time.  She thought she'd put finding dead bodies behind her...but unfortunately, there's another one in front of her.  Vanessa's nightmare of a cousin Ginger is found dead near the Crozat B&B, and she drags Maggie into the investigation as part of her Maid of Honor duties.  It soon becomes apparent that Ginger had more enemies than friends, and in multiple cities no less.  But with so many enemies, how is Maggie to figure out which one had the strongest motive to do the woman in?

It's not helping that Rufus, Vanessa' beloved, has been temporarily removed from his position as police chief (due to a ruckus with the mayor) and replaced with an acting chief who dismisses her observations out of hand and has put Pelican's Police Detective Bo Durand on desk duty.  Bo is navigating a tricky relationship with Maggie - due to the fact Rufus hates the Crozats - so they haven't made anything public yet...which could become trickier because his ex-wife Whitney temporarily moves to Pelican while her new husband is working overseas so Bo can be closer to his autistic son Xander, but it soon becomes apparent to Maggie that Whitney may still have feelings for her ex...

There are more subplots going on in and around Pelican, Louisiana which makes this quite a lively book (if you can call a book lively).  The plot moves fast, it's taut and well-written, and the characters are given more depth than they had in the first.  We learn more about Maggie and Bo's past, and a couple of new characters are introduced which I hope to see in future books.

When things begin to really heat up (and they do) Maggie's busy juggling more plates than a caterer just trying to keep her sanity while trying to keep Vanessa from falling apart.  When things finally come together and we discover the identity of the killer, it is a complete surprise; but not quite as much of a surprise as the one following.  For those of you tempted to peek at the ending, I urge you not to do so; as enjoyable as this book was to read, it will be even more so when you finish.

I believe that Ms. Byron has found a comfortable niche in the cozy genre with this latest in the Cajun Country mysteries, and I look forward to reading the next in the series.  Highly recommended.


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