by Sandra Murphy & Ellen Byron
This week we have a review of the latest Vintage Cookbook Mystery by Ellen Byron, along with a fun guest post by Ellen about Galentine’s Day and a recipe for Biscuit Tortoni. Details at the end of this post on how to enter to win a copy of the book and a link to purchase it.
Wined and Died in New Orleans: A Vintage Cookbook Mystery By Ellen Byron
Review by Sandra Murphy
Ricki James-Diaz runs Miss Vee’s Vintage Cookbook and Kitchenware Shop located in the Bon Vee Culinary House Museum. There was trouble there recently, and the staff is trying to move on, regain their balance, and stay safe during hurricane season. It’s Ricki’s first and she finds herself checking the weather app a lot.
A spectacular find underneath the house seems like the answer to prayers. Crates of a very old wine, historically important and still drinkable, were found and Ricki is happy to spread the word on social media to drum up more business.
Unfortunately, as with most good news, there’s always someone willing to jump at the chance to take advantage. Distant relatives are coming out of the woodwork and are as appealing as any rat would be. Ricki regrets her social media post but tongues will wag, and there’s no way it would have been a secret for long.
Someone will be willing to go to the extreme of killing to get their hands on more of the moola. A body brings the police and their suspicions that Eugenia Charbonnet Felice, family matriarch and head of the museum, has the most to gain by the death. Ricki is sure she’s innocent. After all, the woman is impeccably dressed for every occasion and would never resort to anything so crass. On the other hand, she has been acting kind of weird. It’s not going to be any easy puzzle to solve, even though there are plenty of suspects to choose from.
Ricki is starting to feel New Orleans is home. Except for the threat of hurricanes, she’s happy with her new friends, her job, and sharing two dogs with the hunky guy across the street. I hope in book three, readers will get to meet Ricki’s parents. Seen only on Zoom until now, they will add even more spice to the stories.
Speaking of spice, check out these vintage recipes at the back of the book: biscuit tortoni, curried chicken, barbeque frankfurters (or with ground turkey), beer hush puppies, and for dessert, brownies.
Galentine’s vs Valentine’s
By Ellen Byron
Ricki James-Diaz, the protagonist of my Vintage Cookbook Mysteries, will be celebrating Galentine’s Day this year. No, that’s not a typo. “Galentine’s Day,” which is generally observed on February 13th, is a day for women to leave the guys at home and celebrate their female friendships. Its origin traces back to a 2010 episode of the TV show Parks and Recreation, where lead character Leslie Nope hosted a Galentine’s breakfast that paid homage to her gal pals.
Personally, I never celebrated Valentine’s Day until I met my husband, and I was in my mid-thirties by then. So, I love the idea of Galentine’s Day. When I was single, it would have been wonderful to have something to look forward to as an alternative to those weeks preceding the most romantic day of the year.
Ricki feels the same way. A recent widow at only twenty-eight, she feels guilty because she was in the process of divorcing her influencer husband when he died attempting a stupid online stunt. Ricki has a crush on the smoking hot chef – pun intended, wink, wink – who lives across the street from her, but is nowhere near ready to embark on another relationship. Given her current situation, the ideal choice is definitely celebrating the power of friendship with the girlfriends she’s made in the city she’s recently moved to, New Orleans.
Whether you celebrate Valentine’s or Galentine’s day, you need a sweet for this sweetest of holidays. Enjoy this delicious, easy-to-make dessert from Wined and Died in New Orleans. It’s inspired by a recipe from 1965’s Adventures in Wine Cookery, a cookbook that’s part of my own vintage collection and is one of three I used for recipe inspiration in my second Vintage Cookbook Mystery.
And Happy Whatever You Choose to Celebrate Day!
1 cup whipping cream
1/4 cup confectioner’s sugar (you can add more if you like your desserts really sweet)
1 stiffly beaten egg white
1 cup well-crumbled macaroons
1/4 cup sweetened shredded coconut, plus 2 tablespoons
2 tablespoons sweet Sherry *
*For a non-alcoholic version, substitute 2 teaspoons of vanilla, coconut, or almond flavoring
Whip the cream until stiff. Slowly add the powdered sugar to incorporate, then add the Sherry, and the coconut. Mix together well. Fold in the stiffly beaten egg white, followed by the crumbled macaroons. Chill for several hours. To serve, divide into six dessert cups and sprinkle each serving with about a scant teaspoon of shredded coconut.
The second in a fantastic new cozy mystery series with a vintage flair from USA Today bestselling and Agatha Award–winning author Ellen Byron.
It’s hurricane season in New Orleans and vintage cookbook fan Ricki James-Diaz is trying to shelve her weather-related fears and focus on her business, Miss Vee’s Vintage Cookbook and Kitchenware Shop, housed in the magnificent Bon Vee Culinary House Museum.??Repairs on the property unearth crates of very old, very valuable French wine, buried by the home’s builder, Jean-Louis Charbonnet. Ricki, who’s been struggling to attract more customers to Miss Vee’s, is thrilled when her post about the discovery of this long-buried treasure goes viral. She’s less thrilled when the post brings distant Charbonnet family members out of the woodwork, all clamoring for a cut of the wine’s sale.??When a dead body turns up in Bon Vee’s cheery fall decorations, the NOPD zeroes in on Eugenia Charbonnet Felice as the prime suspect, figuring that as head of the Charbonnet family, she has the most to gain. Ricki is determined to uncover the real culprit, but she can’t help noticing that Eugenia is acting strangely. Ricki wonders what kind of secret her mentor has bottled up, and fears what might happen if she uncorks it.??In the second Vintage Cookbook Mystery, Ricki has to help solve a murder, untangle family secrets, and grow her business, all while living under the threat of a hurricane that could wipe out everything from her home to Bon Vee.
To enter to win a copy of Wined and Died in New Orleans, simply email KRL at krlcontests@gmail[dot]com by replacing the [dot] with a period, and with the subject line “wined” or comment on this article. A winner will be chosen February 18, 2023. U.S. residents only, and you must be 18 or older to enter. If you are entering via email please include you mailing address in case you win, it will be deleted after the contest. You can read our privacy statement here if you like.
Check out other mystery articles, reviews, book giveaways & mystery short stories in our mystery section. And join our mystery Facebook group to keep up with everything mystery we post, and have a chance at some extra giveaways. Also listen to our new mystery podcast where mystery short stories and first chapters are read by actors! They are also available on Apple Podcasts, Google Play, and Spotify. A new episode went up this week.
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Disclosure: This post contains links to an affiliate program, for which we receive a few cents if you make purchases. KRL also receives free copies of most of the books that it reviews, that are provided in exchange for an honest review of the book.
Sounds interesting! Count me in!
Can’t wait to read it! Sounds so interesting and fun to read. Thank you for the chance the recipe sounds delicious. The setting is intriguing. Donakutska7@gmail.com
Ellen Byron is one of my favorite authors. Looking forward to reading the new series.
Bayou Book Thief was really good. I’m anxious to read this one, book 2. Thanks for the chance.
Love those bonus recipes. Thank you. Karen94066@aol.com
I am still somewhat new to cozies and really appreciate reviews (and giveaways!) It helps me discover new to me authors in my new favorite genre. aprilbluetx at yahoo dot com
I love her Cajun Country mysteries and can’t wait to read this new series.
I will be adding this book to my TBR list! Thank you for the chance to win a copy of it
This looks like a good read and I love recipes!
I’ve kept up with this series and ready to read
the latest installment. thanks for the chance.
Would love to get a copy! tWarner419@aol.com
We have a winner!