Sunday, June 12, 2022

Bayou Book Thief - A Review & Giveaway


Bayou Book Thief by Ellen Byron
The First Vintage Cookbook Mystery

After spending most of her life in California, Ricki James decides to return to New Orleans, the city of her birth, after the death of her husband. A lover of vintage cookbooks and kitchen accoutrements, Ricki has a great idea to open a culinary themed gift shop in Bon Vee, a Garden District mansion turned museum. Fortunately, the grande dame of the estate loves the idea and Ricki is soon selling wares and making friends. While going through boxes of donations, she makes a grisly discovery, the body of the cantankerous tour guide who was recently fired for stealing books! When the police appear to shrug off the clues Ricki's found, she decides to stop sharing and start sleuthing.
The elegance as well as the attempts to hide fading glory and the gritty realness that is New Orleans imbue the first Vintage Cookbook Mystery with a real sense of this wonderful city. That reality also reminds us not to judge a book by its cover! Miracle James-Diaz has a tendency to jump to conclusions. As a book lover she should remember the adage to never judge a book by its cover and readers would be wise to keep that in mind.
The characters truly make BAYOU BOOK THIEF stand out. A young widow with loving and fun parents who nonetheless would like to discover more about her birth, a hot chef with a damaged heart, a lost soul, a rowdy senior, and more intriguing people inhabit the pages and not only make me want to learn more about them, but make me start to care for them. I like Zellah and Kitty while I'm not a fan of Cookie, and I absolutely adore German and want to learn more about Mordant. I'm also a huge fan of Gumbo and Jambalaya.

The murder was intriguing leading to several additional mysteries. I like that while the murder is solved, there are lots of other questions still raised and I'm eager to see developments as the series progresses.
BAYOU BOOK THIEF brings together quirky characters and an engaging mystery in a wonderful setting. Vintage cookbooks, memorable characters, and the intoxicating setting that is New Orleans make this a fantastic start to a new series. Just remember, looks can be deceiving. 

 Bayou Book Thief (A Vintage Cookbook Mystery) by Ellen Byron

About Bayou Book Thief

Bayou Book Thief (A Vintage Cookbook Mystery)
Cozy Mystery 1st in Series
Setting - New Orleans, Louisiana
Publisher: ‎ Berkley (June 7, 2022)
Mass Market Paperback: ‎ 304 pages

A fantastic new cozy mystery series with a vintage flair from USA Today bestselling and Agatha Award–winning author Ellen Byron.

Twenty-eight-year-old widow Ricki James leaves Los Angeles to start a new life in New Orleans after her showboating actor husband perishes doing a stupid internet stunt. The Big Easy is where she was born and adopted by the NICU nurse who cared for her after Ricki’s teen mother disappeared from the hospital.

Ricki’s dream comes true when she joins the quirky staff of Bon Vee Culinary House Museum, the spectacular former Garden District home of late bon vivant Genevieve “Vee” Charbonnet, the city’s legendary restauranteur. Ricki is excited about turning her avocation – collecting vintage cookbooks – into a vocation by launching the museum’s gift shop, Miss Vee’s Vintage Cookbooks and Kitchenware. Then she discovers that a box of donated vintage cookbooks contains the body of a cantankerous Bon Vee employee who was fired after being exposed as a book thief.

The skills Ricki has developed ferreting out hidden vintage treasures come in handy for investigations. But both her business and Bon Vee could wind up as deadstock when Ricki’s past as curator of a billionaire’s first edition collection comes back to haunt her.

Will Miss Vee’s Vintage Cookbooks and Kitchenware be a success … or a recipe for disaster?

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

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  1. Thanks so much for a great review, Kathy! I think Cookie will grow on you in the second book. She and Ricki are fun to pair up, lol! xo

    1. Thanks so much for stopping by. We'll have to see about Cookie. lol

  2. Great review on book. Love book cover, title, design, excerpt. The bok looks like an incredible read.
    Would love to read & review this book in print format

  3. This sounds like a really fun book that I'd enjoy!

  4. Sounds like a great book.

  5. I love the books of yours that I have read so I am excited to read this one. Thank you for offering a print battling RSD and can't do digital peggy clayton