Cajun Kiss of Death: A Cajun Country Mystery
by Ellen Byron
About Cajun Kiss of Death
Cajun Kiss of Death: A Cajun Country Mystery
7th in Series
Setting – Louisiana
Publisher : Crooked Lane Books (August 10, 2021)
Hardcover : 320 pages
ISBN-10 : 164385738X
ISBN-13 : 978-1643857381
Digital ASIN : B08N6SMX1J
The next shot from Cupid’s bow may be fatal in USA Today bestselling, Agatha Award-winning author Ellen Byron’s hearty and delightful seventh Cajun Country mystery.
In Pelican, Louisiana, Valentine’s Day has a way of warming the heart, despite the February chill. But the air at Crozat Plantation B&B turns decidedly frigid when celebrity chef Phillippe Chanson checks in. And when the arrogant Phillippe–in town to open his newest Cajun-themed restaurant–perishes in a fiery boat crash, Maggie Crozat’s dear friend JJ lands in very cold water.
Did JJ, proprietor of Junie’s Oyster Bar and Dance Hall, murder Phillippe because he feared the competition? Might Maggie’s mother, Ninette, have bumped off the chef for stealing one of her cherished recipes? Or was the culprit a local seafood vendor, miffed because Phillippe was somehow able to sell oysters for a remarkably reasonable price, despite an oyster shortage?
Maggie had planned to devote her February to art lessons in New Orleans, a present from her sweetheart, Bo. But now she has to focus on helping her friend and her mother cross a murder charge off the menu. Meanwhile, Maggie receives a series of anonymous gifts that begin as charming but grow increasingly disturbing. Does Maggie have an admirer–or a stalker? And are these mysterious gifts somehow related to Phillippe’s murder?
Blood may be thicker than water, but this case is thicker than gumbo. And solving it will determine whether Maggie gets hearts and roses–or hearse and lilies–this Valentine’s Day.
Love is in bloom in Pelican Louisiana. Maggie and Bo, Gran and Lee, Rufus and Sandy all got married on New Year’s Eve just before the clock hits midnight. Their reception was catered by JJ, of Junie’s Oyster Bar and Dance Hall. But soon JJ is going to have some real competition, famous chef Phillippe Chanson is opening Chanson’s Cajun Kitchen, the newest addition in his Chanson Restaurant Group. He hopes his “fancy” eatery will become a “destination restaurant”. The locals are split on if this is a good thing or a bad thing for Pelican. JJ definitely is not happy and knows it could be a very bad thing for him.
A few weeks later most of the new restaurant’s staff is calling the Crozat B&B their temporary home and Phillippe is visiting some of the locals. He does have an ulterior motive. He has an excellent palate and he is putting it to use. He has them make their finest dish and is stealing their recipes. This trickery has him at odds with JJ and Maggie’s mother Ninette. The arrogant chef also has big plans to kick off his grand opening.
Sadly that event ends with a blazing fire and the demise of Phillippe Chanson. The man had made a few enemies including some of his staff but also includes Ninette and JJ and who knows who else.
With Valentines Day right around the corner, Maggie has made some plans of her own but with another dead body and her mother and her friend entwined in the case, she knows there can be no celebrating until she clears their names. She also has another mystery to solve . . . someone is sending her romantic gifts and the mystery man is not her beloved husband. When things take a creepy turn she knows she doesn’t have a secret admirer . . . she has a stalker and she may need help to get them off her tail.
I just love the characters in this series and having six of them have one of the happiest days of their lives together really warmed by heart. But you can’t have a trip to Pelican with drama and murder and Ellen Byron encases these characters in another fantastic story.
In Cajun Kiss of Death, the egotistical chef is killed in a way the damages the bridge on the main thoroughfare in and out of Pelican. That brings a wonderful opportunity to bring the ferry back to get people across the Mississippi. We have a ferry nearby that we try to take at least once each summer. With COVID and our busy family, we have not had the pleasure the last couple of years and I really miss it. It was a bit of a hassle for the people of Pelican but Maggie grew to enjoy it and I bet others did too.
The murder investigation had a lot of moving parts and with some of the staff saying at the B&B Maggie and her family were able to get a greater insight into their lives. This also gave Maggie a unique opportunity she may not have had otherwise. I really enjoy the way the whole family got involved in trying to bring a killer to justice, especially after another murder. The clues were unique and the big reveal was masterful. I felt like a fly on the wall and was completely entertained.
In addition to the main mystery of the book, there were a plethora of subplots and when I got to the epilogue I knew why. Sadly this 7th installment is the final book in this series but the author gives her readers a terrific mystery and her characters one heck of a send-off. There are many happily ever afters but one thing is very clear . . . “Crozat will always be there . . . for however long forever lasts”.
I will miss my virtual trips to Pelican and I will genuinely miss these characters but I bid them a fond farewell. I also want to thank Ellen Byron for sharing them with us for 7 marvelous mysteries. Reading them was time well spent and brought me hours of enjoyment. I hope they bring as much joy to future readers. I highly recommend them all. For me, they were all Perfect Escapes.
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About Ellen Byron
Ellen’s Cajun Country Mysteries have won the Agatha award for Best Contemporary Novel and multiple Lefty awards for Best Humorous Mystery. She writes the Catering Hall Mystery series, which are inspired by her real-life, under the name Maria DiRico. Ellen is an award-winning playwright, and non-award-winning TV writer of comedies like WINGS, JUST SHOOT ME, and FAIRLY ODD PARENTS. She has written over two hundred articles for national magazines but considers her most impressive credit working as a cater-waiter for Martha Stewart.
Great Escapes Praise for Cajun Kiss of Death: A Cajun Country Mystery
by Ellen Byron
Cajun Kiss of Death is finer than a frog’s hair with purloined recipes, a jubilant New Year’s Eve gathering, flaring fireworks, stinky trash, stalker secret admirer, and a Valentine’s Day revelation.
~The Avid Reader
I absolutely love how Byron keeps the plot, with its multiple mysteries, moving forward at the perfect pace . . . I love having multiple mysteries to solve because they keep you on your toes. You won’t want to skim anything, or you might just miss an important clue.
~Christy’s Cozy Corners
I love visiting Pelican Louisiana and the Crozat Plantation B&B even though there always seems to be a murder or two happening close by.
~My Reading Journeys
The mystery was, of course, well-plotted, and it wasn’t until near the end that I knew who the killer was. The characters in this series have always been entertaining, but I noticed early in the book that they had all attained their happily-ever-afters. This had me wondering if I was reading the end of the series.
~Mysteries With Character
This book takes us to the heart of a community and tests the bonds of loyalty and competitive edge.
Quite the page-turner as we watch beloved characters develop and grow.
. . . a fun mystery full of surprises while laced with Southern charm. These characters are always a hoot making for a fun read. Another fabulous addition to this wonderful series. I totally loved it so I give it 5/5 stars.
~Books a Plenty Book Reviews
There are several moving parts outside of solving the murder including a Gala for the Doucet museum, art lessons, and a ferry brought back into service for a short period of time which is an adventure unto itself. All of these minor storylines just add to an already robust book.
The Cajun flavor is delightful and the pace is steady . . . There are plenty of surprises, right to the very end.
~Christa Reads and Writes
I love it! Everything is perfect. Maggie is superb. My rating for Cajun Kiss of Death by Ellen Byron is five stars.
~Baroness’ Book Trove
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Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. Receiving a complimentary copy in no way reflected my review of this book. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”