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Review 🔍 Murder in the Bayou Boneyard by Ellen Byron

September 8, 2020

Review 🔍 Murder in the Bayou Boneyard by Ellen Byron

Maggie Crozat, proprietor of a historic Cajun Country B&B, prefers to let the good times roll. But hard times rock her hostelry when a new cell phone app makes it easy for locals to rent their spare rooms to tourists. With October–and Halloween–approaching, she conjures up a witch-crafty marketing scheme to draw visitors to Pelican, Louisiana.

Five local plantation B&Bs host “Pelican’s Spooky Past” packages, featuring regional crafts, unique menus, and a pet costume parade. Topping it off, the derelict Dupois cemetery is the suitably sepulchral setting for the spine-chilling play Resurrection of a Spirit. But all the witchcraft has inevitably conjured something: her B&B guests are being terrified out of town by sightings of the legendary rougarou, a cross between a werewolf and vampire.

When, in the Dupois cemetery, someone costumed as a rougarou stumbles onstage during the play–and promptly gives up the ghost, the rougarou mask having been poisoned with strychnine, Maggie is on the case. But as more murders stack up, Maggie fears that Pelican’s spooky past has nothing on its bloodcurdling present.

Release Date: Sep 8, 2020
Series: A Cajun Country Mystery
Book: 6
Publisher: Crooked Lane Books
Price: $12.99

Maggie Crozant has planned a series of “spooky specials” for guests staying at area bed and breakfasts in Pelican, Louisiana. Maggie is willing to get creative to come up with ways to compete with a businessman who is buying up local properties that visitors can rent using an app. Her family business has also just opened a spa and Maggie hires a newfound distant cousin as the massage therapist and hopes she won’t come to regret this decision. In spite of all the festivities, Maggie confesses to her fiance, police officer Bo Durand, that she actually hates Halloween! When a murder occurs and Maggie becomes the prime suspect, her opinion of the scary holiday doesn’t get any better. She and Bo do some sleuthing of their own to clear Maggie’s name and catch the real killer.

This is the sixth book in this series, but there is a list of characters at the beginning of the book to help readers meeting Maggie and her friends for the first time. Maggie is an efficient businesswoman and an artist and has solved more than her share of murders. This time, the murder hits close to home and she feels she needs to start her own investigation to stay out of prison. She follows up several possible leads, but the motives start piling up and things get more and more complicated. The bed and breakfast also experiences some thefts, some more troubling than others, and Maggie isn’t sure how that fits it with everything else currently going on in Pelican.

Both she and her beloved “Gran” are planning an upcoming double wedding. Unfortunately, business troubles and the murder investigation have to come first for Maggie. Gran is a gem and at least she is having fun making some of the decisions for the ceremony, but I wish we had been treated to more lighthearted scenes with her and Maggie planning the event. I enjoyed the nice scenes between Maggie, Bo, and Bo’s eight-year-old son Xander, who clearly doesn’t have Maggie’s aversion to Halloween. I really like how their relationship has grown and how Bo fits right in with Maggie’s close-knit family.

The mystery gets a little over-complicated, but as always, I enjoyed the main characters, the setting, and the details about life in the Bayou that are woven into the story. One of the twists at the end wasn’t even on my radar, so I was very surprised at that plot turn as well as by the solution to the murders when all was revealed. Overall, this is another solid installment in this enjoyable series, and I hope there are more of Maggie’s adventures to come.

~ Christine


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