Tag Archives: Ellen Byron

A day in the life of Maggie Crozat by Ellen Byron

Night falls, and the bonfires on the levees north of New Orleans start to catch fire. One by one, flames lick through the thirty-foot high structures. Onlookers cheer as bonfires covered with strands of firecrackers crackle and explode. I don’t cheer. I’m too busy running.

I dash past one conflagration after another, my arms scalded by flaming ash, running from a murderer who’s already claimed one victim. I have zero desire to be the next. I scream for help, but no one can hear me over the roar of flames. As I race by with my nemesis on my heels, people whoop and holler. They think it’s a game. “Laissez les bon temps rouler!” someone calls. Let the good times roll.

I scream as the firecrackers on another bonfire set off a rat-a-tat-tat that sounds like a semi-automatic weapon. If the murderer on my tail decides to use a gun, no one will even notice. Out over the Mississippi River, fireworks burst in the sky and color rains down. At this point the levees could be a battlefield. I’m battling to stay alive.

I slip in the wet grass and twist my ankle, then limp into the shadow of an unlit bonfire to nurse the injury. Flames suddenly wrap around the side of the structure and head toward me. Hiding behind what’s basically a giant matchstick? Not a good idea. I take off again, ignoring the pain. At least the dance exercise classes my friends Gaynell and Ione dragged me to have provided an extra dose of stamina. Who knew learning how to jeté in BalletBod would come in so handy?

The air smells like burning wood, gun powder, and beer. I’m covered with a coat of ash that’s been turned to glue by a steady light rain that won’t let up. It’s going to take scrubbing with steel wool to get the gunk off me – if I’m lucky enough to survive the night.

This was not how I planned to spend Christmas Eve.


You can read more about Maggie in A Cajun Christmas Killing, the third book in the “Cajun Country” mystery series.

Maggie Crozat is back home in bayou country during the most magical time of the year. In Pelican, Louisiana, Christmastime is a season of giant bonfires on the levee, zydeco carols, and pots of gumbo. Except this year, the Grinch has come to stay at the family-run Crozat Plantation B&B. When he floods travel websites with vicious reviews, Maggie thinks she’s identified him as rival businessman Donald Baxter. That is, until he’s found stabbed to death at Maggie’s workplace. And Maggie and her loved ones become top suspects.

The Crozats quickly establish alibis, but Maggie’s boyfriend, Detective Bo Durand, remains under suspicion. With Bo sidelined during the investigation, Maggie finds herself forced to work with an unlikely ally: longtime family enemy Rufus Durand. Her sleuthing uncovers more suspects than drummers drumming, and lands her in the crosshairs of the murderer.

The sleigh bells are jingling, and the clock is ticking for Maggie and Rufus, who must catch the killer or it will be the opposite of a Joyeux Noël in A Cajun Christmas Killing, the recipe-stuffed third installment of USA Today bestselling author Ellen Byron’s Cajun Country mysteries.

Buy Link

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Giveaway: Leave a comment below for your chance to win a print copy of A Cajun Christmas Killing. U.S. entries only, please. The giveaway ends October 13, 2017. Good luck everyone!

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About the author
Body on the Bayou, the second book in Ellen’s Cajun Country Mystery Series, recently won the Left Coast Crime Lefty Award for Best Humorous Mystery, and was nominated for an Agatha Award in the category of Best Contemporary Novel. Ellen’s debut novel in the series, Plantation Shudders, was nominated for Agatha, Lefty, and Daphne awards, and made the USA Today Bestseller list. Book three, A Cajun Christmas Killing, launched October 10th. TV credits include Wings, Just Shoot Me, Fairly OddParents, and many pilots. She’s also an award-winning playwright and journalist. Ellen lives in Studio City with her husband, daughter, and two spoiled rescue dogs. Visit her at ellenbyron.com.

All comments are welcomed.

My Musing ~ A Cajun Christmas Killing by Ellen Byron

A Cajun Christmas Killing by Ellen Byron is the third book in the “Cajun Country” mystery series. Publisher: Crooked Lane Books, coming October 10, 2017

Maggie Crozat is back home in bayou country during the most magical time of the year. In Pelican, Louisiana, Christmastime is a season of giant bonfires on the levee, zydeco carols, and pots of gumbo. Except, this year, the Grinch has come to stay at the family-run Crozat Plantation B&B. When he floods travel websites with vicious reviews, Maggie thinks she’s identified him as rival businessman Donald Baxter. That is, until he’s found stabbed to death at Maggie’s workplace. And Maggie and her loved ones become top suspects.

The Crozats quickly establish alibis, but Maggie’s boyfriend, Detective Bo Durand, remains under suspicion. With Bo sidelined during the investigation, Maggie finds herself forced to work with an unlikely ally: longtime family enemy Rufus Durand. Her sleuthing uncovers more suspects than drummers drumming, and lands her in the crosshairs of the murderer.

The sleigh bells are jingling, and the clock is ticking for Maggie and Rufus, who must catch the killer or it will be the opposite of a Joyeux Noël in A Cajun Christmas Killing, the recipe-stuffed third installment of USA Today bestselling author Ellen Byron’s Cajun Country mysteries.

A murder or two takes place during the Christmas season at the B&B and once again, Maggie finds herself involved in the investigation to clear her family and those closest to her names and to save their B&B business which sets in motion a visit from her past and a fun-filled and well-written mystery.

I adore this series. This story captured my attention immediately and I could not put this book down. The writing was crisp and flowed so evenly making it easy to follow along with all that was happening in Pelican, Louisiana. The mystery was expertly done, creating a multitude of suspects with clues that kept me digging to identify the culprit and a bonus to the author with how the murder was solved, giving me that aha moment when it became clear as to who the killer was, but then the author added that little twist that enhanced the telling of this tale. The narrative had my mind escaping to the outpost that is New Orleans with its natural atmospheric setting which enlightened the interaction of the various characters and the role of the town. It was good to see Maggie and Ru working together for the greater good. Boasting a wonderful cast of characters, engaging dialogue and small-town feeling, this is one of the best book in this delightfully charming and entertaining series and I can’t wait for their next adventures.

Buy Link


FTC Full Disclosure – I received an Advanced Reader Copy (ARC) from the author.

Cover Reveal ~ A Cajun Christmas Killing by Ellen Byron

I’m excited to reveal the cover for third book in the “Cajun Country” mystery series, coming October 10, 2017.

a-cajun-christmas-killing
Title: A Cajun Christmas Killing
Series: Cajun Country #3
Genre: Mystery
Publisher: Crooked Lane Books
Website: Ellen Byron


Christmas in Cajun Country is magical. Elaborate decorations adorn homes and businesses, and Pelican residents come together for a raucous Christmas Eve festival featuring giant bonfires on the levee that light the way up the river for Papa Noël. But this year, there’s coal in the stockings at Crozat Plantation B&B. Someone is flooding travel websites with vicious negative reviews of the B&B. The culprit may be one of the Crozats’ own holiday guests, among whom is Don Baxter, a nasty businessman who’s an innkeeper’s worst nightmare.

When Baxter is found stabbed to death at Doucet Plantation, where heroine Maggie Crozat works part-time, she and her entire family are considered suspects. They establish alibis, but her boyfriend, Detective Bo Durand, also a suspect, remains under suspicion. With Bo sidelined during the investigation, Maggie finds herself with an unlikely ally, longtime family enemy Rufus Durand. Her sleuthing uncovers a viper’s nests of dysfunctional family dynamics, and puts her in the crosshairs of a murderer. She and Rufus must track down Don Baxter’s killer, or it will be the opposite of a Joyeux Noël for those at Crozat Plantation Bed & Breakfast.


About the author
Ellen’s debut novel, Plantation Shudders, nominated for Agatha, Lefty, and Daphne awards, made the USA Today Bestseller list. Body on the Bayou, the second book in her Cajun Country Mystery Series, is nominated for a 2016 Best Humorous Mystery Lefty, as well as an Agatha Award for Best Contemporary Novel. She’s written over 200 national magazine articles; published plays include the award-winning Graceland; TV credits include Wings, Just Shoot Me, Fairly OddParents, and pilots. She’s heard things in comedy writing rooms that she can never repeat in mixed company – unless you buy her a drink.

Book is available for pre-order at retail and online booksellers.

Giveaway: Leave a comment below for your chance to win a print copy of the first two books, Plantation Shudders and Body on the Bayou. US entries only, please. The giveaway ends March 14, 2017. Good luck everyone!

My Musing ~ Body In The Bayou by Ellen Byron

Body In The Bayou by Ellen Byron is the second book in the “Cajun Country” mystery series. Publisher: Crooked Lane Books, September 2016

Body on the BayouThe 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.

In the latest adventures in Pelican, Louisiana, Maggie Crozat is tasked with not only being at beck and call 24 hours to bridezilla Vanessa but also with solving the murder that threatens Vanessa’s blissful day. And what we have is a delightful appealing fast-paced drama that exudes southern charm and hospitality. I liked how the author presented this mystery with snippets here and there to foretell what was going to happen next. Adding in new players on the scene who are potential suspects gave way to more clues to keep the list growing until the pieces of the puzzle started to make sense and with a few twists and turns told us more than we knew until there was only one person left standing. The set up to the discovery of the killer was so perfect, I had to increase my reading speed in order to see how this would turn out. Go Crozats! I especially loved that little twist with the wedding and I really liked the scene that pulled at my heart with Maggie and Xander. Boasting a wonderful, yet some are quirky cast of characters, engaging dialogue and a feel good atmosphere, this is one of the best book in this entertaining series and I can’t wait for more fun times with Maggie and her friends.

A Day In The Life with Magnolia “Maggie” Crozat by Ellen Byron

Body on the Bayou“. . . 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!

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.

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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.

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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.

My Musing ~ Plantation Shudders by Ellen Byron

Plantation ShuddersPlantation Shudders by Ellen Byron is the first book in the NEW “Cajun Country” mystery series. Publisher: Crooked Lane Books, August 2015

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 Durant, 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.

This was very enjoyable. I love the pacing and the comfortable tone presented in this lovely down-home whodunit. We are introduced to the Crozat family where Maggie, our heroine, puts on her sleuthing cap in order to save the family business and their reputation. This was a well-written drama with a mystery that kept me both intrigued and in suspense as to the identity of the killer. Who would harm a one of the guests? Well, inside the pages of this book you find plenty of suspects and some plot twists that had me re-thinking how this will play out. The author did a great job in keeping me engrossed in all the happenings as this quickly became a page-turner and when it was all said and done; I didn’t want the story to end. Boasting a lovable, eccentrically and quirky cast of characters that includes Gran who provided some amusing antics, engaging dialogue and southern charm, this is a delightfully charming debut that I hope is here to stay for a long, long time. I’m so happy a second book is in production.