Thursday, October 5, 2017

ARC Review: A Cajun Christmas Killing by Ellen Byron

A Cajun Christmas Killing
Author: Ellen Byron
Series: A Cajun Country Mystery (Book 3)
Publication: Crooked Lane Books (October 10, 2017)

Description: 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.

My Thoughts: Maggie Crozat is back in Pelican, Louisiana, after a break up with her boyfriend in New York City. She's working with her family in their plantation bed and breakfast. Currently they are dealing with a flood of bad reviews on tourist websites and possibly losing the house. Her uncle's business which restores historical properties for new uses and which own the plantation is under a hostile takeover attempt.

When they learn that an unpleasant guest is actually the head of the group planning the takeover, they are upset. However, Maggie doesn't expect to find his dead body when she is leading a tour at her job. It takes little investigation to find out that Steve Harmon had many more enemies than the Crozats. Adding to the suspect pool is Maggie's former boyfriend who is now employed by Harmon as his "art adviser." It seems that life hasn't been going well for the ex-boyfriend who would like to get Maggie back. This throws a little confusion into Maggie's current love life especially when the ex-boyfriend attempts to exploit her current boyfriend's autistic son who is showing quite a talent for art.

Add in a health scare with Maggie's father, job insecurities caused by a gung-ho new supervisor at the plantation where Maggie works, and Maggie has a full plate of things to do as Christmas is coming in Louisiana.

This story was engaging. I like Maggie and could empathize with her as she tries to find some time to fit in her own art career around her family responsibilities. I like that she has a close supportive family. I like that her new boyfriend is a loving father who still has a reasonable relationship with his ex - despite the kerfluffle about exploiting their child.

The story had a great setting and the mystery was well-developed. Even the recipes in the back of the book sound good. Readers who know Maggie and her family will enjoy her third adventure. Readers who haven't met her yet won't be lost starting with this book but will want to read the earlier two books to catch up on the earlier mysteries.

Favorite Quote:
"He smells like sweat and gasoline," Gran' said as she watched him go. "It's surprisingly appealing. did you know he once wrestled an alligator?"

"Half the guys in Louisiana claim they've wrestled an alligator If alligators could roll their eyes, they'd be doing it."
I received this one in exchange for an honest review from NetGalley. You can buy your copy here.

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