A Day in the Life with Maggie Crozat by Ellen Byron

Plantation Shudders“Welcome to Doucet Plantation,” Magnolia “Maggie” Crozat says as she greets the morning’s first tour group. She’s clad in a pink, antebellum-style ball gown and a banana-curled wig. Sweat trickles down her forehead, and she prays that visitors don’t notice the perspiration stains forming under her arms. Louisiana mugginess and cheap polyester do not mix.

Maggie spends her day as a tour guide sharing the history of the plantation and enduring conversations like this:

Visitor: Hey, you look like the lady in the painting.
Maggie: Yes, she was my ancestor.
Visitor: Whoa! Is it weird leading tours at plantation your family used to own?
Maggie: No, I’m glad that it’s a historical site dedicated to showing both the best and worst of plantation life.
Visitor: (skeptical) Right.

The last tour ends at 4:45, and Maggie trades her costume for jeans and a tee shirt. She leaps into the vintage 1964 Falcon convertible that she inherited from her late grandfather, Papa Doucet, and heads for Fais Dough Dough Patisserie and Bon Bon Sweets, two shops owned by her cousin and best friend, Lia Tienne. Both are located in in Pelican, Louisiana, a picturesque Cajun village whose town motto is “Yes, We Peli-CAN!” Maggie, an artist, has started a small business making souvenirs that feature her bold, modern take on local landmarks. Lia sells them in her stores and though they’ve yet to generate a profit, at least Maggie’s breaking even.

As Maggie drives to Pelican, she muses about the hundred-and-eighty degree turn her life has taken. Only months before, she co-owned a Manhattan art gallery with the man she assumed she’d marry. She never thought she’d end up back in her hometown, single and starting over. She takes comfort from her burgeoning romance with hot detective, Bo Durand, but the relationship is hampered by the fact that Bo’s cousin and boss, obnoxious Police Chief Rufus Durand, is the arch-enemy of Maggie’s family.

Maggie leaves Fais Dough Dough with a large tray of Lia’s famous Bourbon Pecan Bread Pudding. It may be 5:30, but her workday is only half-over. She spends the evening helping her parents feed and entertain guests at Crozat Plantation B&B, her father’s ancestral home-turned-hostelry; Lia’s bread pudding is served as dessert. Tonight, there’s no room at the inn. Thanks to Pelican’s summer festival, Fet Let, Crozat Plantation B&B is sold out. The guests include a mysterious stranger from Texas, a couple of hipster lovebirds, a group of middle-aged women who call themselves the Cajun Cuties, and a trio of Georgia frat boys. If Maggie’s lucky, she’ll escape to the bayou behind her family’s home after the guests disperse, and indulge her passion for art; she loves using oil paints to capture the shadows that the moon casts on Spanish moss-draped tree branches hovering over the slow-moving stream.

But this particular evening, Maggie will not be lucky. Two of the guests at Crozat Plantation B&B are a demanding eighty-something couple on their honeymoon – yes, their honeymoon. By the end of the night, both will be dead: one of natural causes, the other by murderous design. With her loved ones as suspects and the family business in peril, Maggie is forced to take on one more job: amateur sleuth.

* * *

You can read more about Maggie (and find the recipe for Bourbon Pecan Bread Pudding) in Plantation Shudders, the first book in the NEW “Cajun Country” mystery series, published by Crooked Lane Books and released on August 11, 2015.

About Plantation Shudders

It’s the end of the summer and Prodigal Daughter Maggie Crozat has returned home to her family’s plantation-turned-bed-and-breakfast in Louisiana. The Crozats have an inn full of guests for the local food festival–elderly honeymooners, the Cajun Cuties, a mysterious stranger from Texas, a couple of hipster lovebirds, and a trio of Georgia frat boys. But when the elderly couple keels over dead within minutes of each other–one from very unnatural causes– Maggie and the others suddenly become suspects in a murder.

With the help of Bo Durand, the town’s handsome new detective, Maggie must investigate to clear her name while holding the family business together at the same time. And the deeper she digs, the more she wonders: are all of the guests really there for a vacation or do they have ulterior motives? Decades-old secrets and stunning revelations abound in Ellen Byron’s charming cozy debut, Plantation Shudders.

# # # # # # # # # # #

GIVEAWAY: Leave a comment by 12 a.m. eastern on August 19 for the chance to win a print copy of Plantation Shudders. The giveaway is open to U.S. residents only. Winner will be notified within 48 hours after giveaway closes and you will have three days to respond after being contacted or another winner will be selected.

Meet the author
Ellen Byron is a native New Yorker who loves the rain, lives in bone-dry Los Angeles, and spends lots of time writing about Louisiana. She attributes this obsession to her college years at New Orleans’ Tulane University. Ellen’s TV credits include Wings and Just Shoot Me; her published plays include the award-winning, Graceland. She is also the recipient of a William F. Deeck-Malice Domestic Grant. She’s the proud mom of a fifteen year-old daughter and two very spoiled rescue dogs. Visit Ellen at www.ellenbyron.com.

83 responses to “A Day in the Life with Maggie Crozat by Ellen Byron

  1. Need to find the first book but would love to start reading this series. Sounds so thrilling. 😛

  2. Kelley Morrow

    Sounds really good, would love to win!!!! Fingers crossed!

  3. Jeanie Dannheim

    This sounds so good. I’d like to read it! Already tried on Goodreads. All the best to the author with this great new series! Thank you for the chance to win!

  4. I love southern mysteries. I am looking forword to reading this new one.

  5. I enjoyed reading about Maggie’s day in her life, and I am looking forward to reading the book.

  6. Love new series, thanks for the chance 🙂

  7. Being a try NOLA fan, this is a series that tickles my fancy. Thank you, Dru, for the introduction to this author & series. Thank you, Ellen Byron, for this chance in the giveaway. I’d really love to get this added to my new NOLA series I’ve started in the rural MS library where I work. Dreaming in that 4-lead clover.

  8. jane chizmar

    This is a new author for me …would love to read her series.

  9. This is a new author for me and the book sounds good. I’d like to read it! Thank you for the chance to win!

  10. Yes, a new cozy series!!!!
    Thank you for the giveaway!!!

  11. Debbie Carnes

    I love visiting historic places so this sounds wonderful to me Will be on my TRL

    • I grew up with a mother whose idea of vacation was taking us to historic sites. It instilled a lifelong love of them in me. I’m having so much fun creating this world.

  12. Kelly Pfister

    This looks/sounds like a really great cozy. Thank you for the contest!

  13. Please let me win this one.

  14. I’m interested in reading this book! Thank you for the chance to enter.

  15. Barbara Hackel

    Thanks Dru and Ellen for the opportunity to win a copy of what sounds like an exciting book. Your synopsis gives so many interesting things to think about the story! 😮 I am anxious to read this one! 🙂

  16. This certainly sounds like an entertaining new series! Thank you for the giveaway. Hope springs “eternal.”!!!!!

  17. Jill Broussard

    Since I live in Louisiana, this book has already caught my attention. I can’t wait to read it! Thankyou for the opportunity!

  18. Yes please, I’d like to enter this giveaway. I’m a fan of Cajun cookin’ and would one day like to get to New Orleans to visit some of the chefs I see on the cooking shows. I have friends who live in the surrounding Parishes.

    This looks like a romance wrapped around a mystery with a family feud tossed in for good luck. LOL

  19. Sounds like a great read to me!!

  20. This looks like a good story and series.

  21. Can’t wait to try that recipe!

  22. What a unique and special book giveaway and feature. Thanks.

  23. Oh, this sounds so good. Love the cover!

  24. Sounds fabulous, I’d love to read it.

  25. Wait a minute – Bourbon Pecan Bread Pudding! *screeches to a halt*. Yes, please. Thanks.

  26. Thanks Dru for introducing me to this author and current book. I have added it to my to be read list. robeader53@yahoo.com

  27. I love all things Southern, especially plantations and bread pudding. Sounds like a great read.

  28. I hope it has a recipe for the bourbon pecan bread pudding – YUM!

    • Yup! It has three recipes: Bourbon Pecan Bread Pudding, Crawfish Crozat (a dish made with Cajun spices, crawfish – or shrimp – and pasta), and a little homage to my alma mater… Chulanes, a chocolate and honey praline inspired by my years at Tulane University.

  29. This sounds like a great read! Can’t wait to get my hands on it. Thanks for the chance to win a copy–and thanks, Dru, for introducing me to another new author.

  30. This sounds like a great start to a new series, definitely on my tbr list.

  31. I’ve already read it and for those who haven’t, you’re in for quite a tasty, treat!

  32. elainehroberson

    Sounds like a great new series and a fantastic recipe. Thanks for a chance to win a copy.

  33. Celest Mattis

    What a great new series. Can’t wait to read more, hope to win it. Thanks for the chance.

  34. This sounds like a book I would enjoy. Thank you for the chance to win

  35. Mare Fairchild

    This sounds like wonderful story! I’m looking forward to it.

  36. This sounds like a lot of fun and thank you for making this possible.

  37. Sounds like a fun and funny story. Great location and 80-year old honeymooners. Too much!

    • Oh, I had such a blast writing the Clabbers, and Maggie’s reaction to the couple. AND utilizing my love of Cajun Country to create the town of Pelican. Thanks for responding!

  38. kayekillgore

    Sounds good, and the recipe sounds yummy

  39. It is, Kaye! I think using croissants instead of white bread really makes the difference. Good luck!

  40. What a great look at a new series. Thanks for the chance to win, and the opportunity to salivate over Bourbon Pecan Bread pudding!

  41. Bourbon Pecan Bread Pudding…say no more! Congratulations Ellen on the release of your book, I love the setting. Thanks Dru for the intro!

  42. Mary Beth McKetchnie

    I’m really excited about this series! Thanks for the giveaway.

  43. I love, love, love Louisiana and want to go back soon. Until then, I’d enjoy reading this book. Thanks for the giveaway.

  44. Love those play-on-word titles. Judy D.

  45. This book is of great interest for me having read several very positive reviews. I’m always looking for books with unique locations and themes. Cajun? I’m in, Chere! I tried to find Cajun on my translator app…not there. Too bad! Does the book highlight the language?

    • I touch on familiar expressions, but I don’t want to confuse people too much with a foreign language. I’m fascinated by it, though!! I have this amazing Dictionary of the Cajun Language that was compiled by a priest in the 1980s. It’s one of my most valued posessions.

  46. This sounds like a great start to a new series. It is now on my wish list.

  47. Thanks Ellen for commenting and interacting with my readers.

    Contest is closed.