Wined and Died in New Orleans (A Vintage Cookbook)
by Ellen Byron
About Wined and Died in New Orleans
Wined and Died in New Orleans (A Vintage Cookbook)
2nd in Series
Setting – Louisiana
Berkley (February 7, 2023)
Mass Market Paperback : 288 pages
ISBN-10 : 0593437632
ISBN-13 : 978-0593437636
Digital ASIN : B09TZPW81C
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.
I thoroughly enjoyed Ellen Byron’s Cajun Country Mystery series, and her Vintage Cookbook Mystery series is just as delightful. Wined and Died in New Orleans, second in the series, is a treat.
Ricki James-Diaz is settling into New Orleans. She’s working to build up business for her vintage cookbook shop on the grounds of the Bon Vee Culinary House and Museum, and she’s trying not to worry about potential bad weather in the form of a hurricane.
When a trove of valuable vintage wine is found on the property, Ricki thinks a post on social media about the find might attract some interest. Little did she know it would go viral, and Charbonnet cousins would start coming out of the woodwork, aiming for a cut of the proceeds. But a cousin ends up dead, and Eugenia ends up as the prime suspect. Can Ricki point the police in a different direction so they can find the real killer?
This book is full of so many good things! Characters I love (and love to hate), vintage cookbooks, recipes, and most of all, a darn good mystery. Byron expertly lays down a variety of trails for us to chase suspects down, and the killer wasn’t someone I suspected. The fact that the murder weapon was a meat mallet from Ricki’s shop doesn’t exactly narrow down the field, either! A hurricane looming out in the Gulf raises the tension level a hair or two as well.
Eugenia’s granddaughter is a particularly engaging character. Ricki has Olivia thrust upon her to help in the shop, and at first, it looks like she’ll be more hindrance than help. But her social media savvy soon has Miss Vee’s drawing attention for all the right reasons, and once you get past the Gen Z attitude, Olivia is a lovely young lady. I hope we see more of her in future books!
And as a Louisiana girl myself, I can say the setting Byron creates is on point. Some books set in my home state make me cringe. This one makes me feel like I’m hanging out with people I already know.
Be sure to check out the recipes included in the book. I can’t wait to try those out. I do love a cozy mystery with recipes.
Five stars, and I can’t wait for the next in the series!
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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. Bayou Book Thief will be the first book in her new Vintage Cookbook Mysteries. She also writes the Catering Hall Mystery series 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. An alum of New Orleans’ Tulane University, she blogs with Chicks on the Case, is a lifetime member of the Writers Guild of America and will be the 2023 Left Coast Crime Toastmaster. Please visit her at https://www.ellenbyron.com/
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