by Sandra Murphy
& Ellen Byron
This week we have a review of a fun food mystery by Ellen Byron, and a fun Halloween recipe from Ellen. Details at the end of this post on how to enter to win a copy of Body on th Bayou, and a link to order it from Amazon, as well as a link to purchase it from an indie bookstore where a portion goes to help support KRL.
Body on the Bayou: Cajun Country Mystery by Ellen Byron
Review by Sandra Murphy
Poor Maggie Crozat. If she could just say no, her life would run smoothly. On the other hand, a generation-long feud can make you agree to most anything rather than suffer the consequences.
Rufus, usually the police chief who gives Maggie grief every chance he gets, is suspended without pay after an argument over a parking space. He’s engaged to Vanessa who is a co-worker of Maggie’s. Vanessa is also eight plus months pregnant and determined to marry Rufus before the baby is born. She’s selected Maggie to be her maid of honor and apparently that comes with lists, text messages, spread sheets, and detailed phone messages to school Maggie on all her duties—which is basically, anything Vanessa wants and can’t afford on her own.
One of the duties is to entertain Vanessa’s cousin Ginger who comes with all kinds of cryptic warnings. She seems to be a lovely person but soon her instincts to take advantage show themselves. Ginger is accompanied by her assistant, Trent, and intern, Bibi.
Ginger leaves destruction in her wake wherever she goes. When Maggie finds Ginger’s body, the list of suspects is long. Vanessa’s sure Ginger went and got herself killed just to ruin the wedding.
Bo, Rufus’ cousin who is a police detective and Maggie’s secret significant other, has a little problem on his hands in the form of his gorgeous ex-wife who thinks she might want him back.
Maggie’s Gran’ seems to be having a romance of her own. She swears it’s just a flirtation. Stevens Troy, a retired lawyer, has just moved to town and certainly seems smitten with Gran’.
In addition to her maid of honor duties, Maggie has to find time to figure out who killed Ginger because when a second murder occurs, Vanessa is a prime suspect.
This is the second book in the Cajun Country Mystery series. Maggie is a good friend, better than Vanessa deserves. The romance between Maggie and Bo is a good one, full of obstacles but also promise. Pelican is a town you’d love to visit while staying at the Crozat B&B. Recipes are included—turkey dinner in a braid, bananas foster coffee cake, and jambalaya. The first book in this series Plantation Shudders was also reviewed for KRL on August 29, 2016.
Byron shares an entertaining look at Southern small town life, with all its complications and friendships, good food, and mysteries while adding humor. Enjoy both books while the weather is still warm enough to sit outside under a shade tree while sipping a glass of sweet tea.
Spooky, Spicy Cookies
by Ellen Byron
Check any list of America’s most haunted states and you’ll find Louisiana in the top ten, if not the number one position. Myrtles Plantation is known as one of “America’s most haunted homes.” New Orleans’ LaLaurie Mansion, which may be the most haunted site in the entire country, is so creepy that the television series, American Horror Story, built an entire season around it.
The locations that inspired my Cajun Country Mystery series have their own spooky histories. There have been multiple sightings of a ghostly young girl at Houmas House Plantation. Madewood has a poltergeist that suddenly picked up a table centerpiece and dropped it on the floor during dinner one evening. When I toured Ashland-Belle Helene in the 1980s before it was closed to the public, I swear I felt the presence of souls from centuries past.
As an homage to Louisiana’s paranormal past and present, I’ve created Les Cookies Fantome – Ghost Cookies. They’re frosted sugar cookies with an unexpected kick. Eat one at your own risk – because you’ll probably want to go back for another. Whoooo…
1 cup (2 sticks) butter
1 cup sugar
2 large eggs
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
3 cups flour
1 tsp. cinnamon
½ tsp. cayenne pepper
½ tsp. baking soda
½ tsp. salt
A ghost-shaped cookie cutter
Boxed royal icing mix (available at craft stores)
Cream the butter, then add the sugar and beat until it’s fluffy. Beat in the eggs and vanilla. In a separate bowl, combine all the dry ingredients. Stir the dry ingredients into the butter and sugar mixture. Mix together until well combined. Chill the dough for a minimum of two hours, or overnight.
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Roll out the cookie dough to ¼ inch thickness on a well-floured board. Cut the dough with the ghost cookie cutter, and place the unbaked cookies on an ungreased cookie tray. (If the dough sticks to the rolling pin, add more flour to the board.)
Bake for 5-8 minutes, basically until they’re golden brown around the edges. Let cool completely.
Once the cookies have cooled, follow the directions on the icing box to make the icing. (Royal icing hardens quickly, so you don’t want to make it too soon.) Ice the cookies, and place the candy eyes on the cookies before the icing dries.
Makes approx. two dozen cookies.
To enter to win a copy of Body on the Bayou, simply email KRL at krlcontests@gmail[dot]com by replacing the [dot] with a period, and with the subject line “bayou,” or comment on this article. A winner will be chosen October 22, 2016. U.S. residents only. If entering via email please include your mailing address, and if via comment please include your email address.
Check out other mystery articles, reviews, book giveaways & short stories in our mystery section.
Use this link to purchase the book & a portion goes to help support KRL & indie bookstore Mysterious Galaxy:
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