“. . . And my wedding theme is gonna be LSU colors. Everything purple and gold. The flowers, the tablecloths, the bridesmaids’ dresses, even the bridesmaids! I’m just kidding about the last one. No wait, y’all could get purple and gold streaks in your hair, so add that to your Maid of Honor To-Do List, Maggie. With a star next to it, for real important. I want every little last thing purple and gold. Geaux, Tigers!”
Vanessa Fleer’s nonstop chatter still rang in Maggie Crozat’s ears as she drove home from their mutual workplace, Doucet Plantation, once owned by Maggie’s ancestors. “LSU colors, hah,” she muttered to the wind. Even though it was winter, Maggie liked to drive with the top down on the 1964 Ford Falcon convertible she’d inherited from her late Papa Doucet. “The only time Vanessa was even on the LSU campus was when she crashed a frat party.”
Signing on as point person for Vanessa’s wedding party had been a strategic move. The demanding bride-to-be was engaged to Maggie’s arch-enemy, Police Chief Rufus Durand, so keeping her happy might lead to a rapprochement between the Crozat and Doucet families after a century-and-a-half long feud. Reminding herself of this kept Maggie from exploding like an M80 firecracker when Vanessa peppered her with inane demands.
Maggie’s cell sang “Zydeco Gris Gris,” alerting her to an incoming phone call. Thinking it was from her model-handsome boyfriend, Detective Bo Durand, she smiled, pressed the button on her earpiece, and answered with her sexiest “Hello.” The effort was wasted on the actual caller – Vanessa.
“Maggie, I have terrible news.”
Maggie’s heart clutched. Her first thought was that someone close to Vanessa had died. Her second was a fleeting hope that this would mean the wedding was cancelled. She scolded herself for being insensitive. “Nessa, are you okay? What’s wrong?”
“It’s my cousin Ginger.”
“Is she…” Maggie opted for a delicate choice of words. “Has she. . . passed?”
“Worse.” Vanessa made a choking sound, and then burst into tears. “She’s coming to my wedding.”
The bride-to-be’s sobs reverberated through Maggie’s earpiece. She uttered a few vacuously reassuring phrases to calm Vanessa down, none of which had any effect on the hysterical woman. As Vanessa continued to weep, Maggie picked up panic in her voice. And fear. Who on earth is this Ginger person, Maggie wondered. And why is she more terrifying to Vanessa alive than dead?
Body On The Bayou is the second book in the Cajun Country mystery series, published by Crooked Lane Books, September 2016.
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 there’s a très bigger story in Pelican, Louisiana: the upcoming nuptials between Maggie Crozat’s nemesis, 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.
There’s a gumbo-potful of suspects, including an ex-Marine with PTSD, an annoying local newspaper reporter, and Vanessa’s own sparkplug of a mother. But when it looks like the investigation is zeroing in on Vanessa as the prime suspect, Maggie reluctantly adds keeping the bride-to-be out of jail to her list of Maid of Honor responsibilities in Body on the Bayou, Ellen Byron’s funny and engaging follow up to her critically acclaimed novel Plantation Shudders.
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About the author
Ellen Byron’s novel, Plantation Shudders: A Cajun Country Mystery, was a Library Journal Debut Mystery of the Month, and nominated for Agatha, Lefty, and Daphne awards. Book two in the series, Body on the Bayou, was recently released to enthusiastic reviews. TV credits include Wings, Just Shoot Me, and many network pilots; she’s written over 200 national magazine articles; her published plays include the award-winning Graceland. Connect with Ellen at ellenbyron.com.
All comments are welcomed.
Giveaway: Leave a comment below for your chance to win a print copy of Body On The Bayou + swag. US entries only, please. The giveaway will end September 21, 2016 at 12 AM (midnight) EST. Good luck everyone!