Lil Bootz’s Halloween Treat: Murder in the Bayou Boneyard

Next up in our Halloween countdown extravaganza is this fun little cozy mystery that we received for free (in exchange for a brutally honest review)  from NetGalley! Since this is light on scares, Lil Bootz recommends this to all the fraidy cats who love a good, cozy whodunnit.


 

image of book Murder in the Bayou Boneyard One look at this cover and I couldn’t hit the “request” button fast enough! How could I resist this adorable vampire basset hound lurking in a spooky graveyard? I always enjoy returning to Maggie’s historic plantation homestead-turned B&B located in the heart of Louisiana’s Cajun country. While reading this, I kept picturing Disney’s Haunted Mansion overlooking an overgrown cemetery shrouded by Spanish moss.

Of course, this cozy mystery is light on scares, so it appeals to even the most squeamish of readers, but the author does a fine job weaving a lot of Halloween hijinks into the storyline. There’s a rougarou lurking in the woods, inexplicable happenings in the attic and–even more frightening–nefarious relatives outstaying their welcome at the Crozat Mansion B&B! Bloodthirsty Cajun monsters ain’t got nothing over Maggie’s Canadian relatives, let me tell ya!

I must warn you, there’s a LOT of characters to sort through in this mystery, so it’s quite a challenge keeping them all straight, let alone sorting out the suspects. Since I’ve read all the other books in this series, it wasn’t so hard, but I did find myself flipping back to the list of characters. I love it when they include these little glossaries in cozy mysteries because the struggle is real, yo!

As for the characters, Maggie and her Crozat family are as charming as ever. It’s cute that she and her granny are planning their weddings together. The only thing I couldn’t figure out was why the granny’s fiancé never entered the picture. Where was he? Hell, I can’t even remember who she’s marrying, to be honest. Guess I’ll need to look in the previous book to catch myself up to speed. I’ll be honest, I’m not a fan of the “spunky grandma” trope in these books. I find them annoying rather than cute, and Maggie’s grandma is walking a fine line…but she does have her moments.

While I’m being nitpicky, I had to roll my eyes at Maggie when she shouted at a suspected killer –who, at the time was brandishing a potential weapon– “Stop in the name of the law!” I know this was supposed to be chuckle-worthy, but it just made me groan.

Gripes aside, this is a quality mystery series filled with Cajun lore, Southern cooking and heartwarming moments. I must warn you: Do not read this on an empty stomach! You’ll get some mad cravings for shrimp gumbo, crawfish etouffee and sugary cakes!

CeeCee’s Book of the Month: Fatal Cajun Festival by Ellen Byron

CeeCee and I love zydeco music, gumbo and scrumptious pralines! So naturally, we just had to read this fun little whodunit set in the one of our most favorite fictional Southern towns, which could quite possibly be the murder capital of Louisiana. As expected, this newest installment of the Cajun Country Mysteries proved to be another fast-paced adventure filled with live boot-scootin’ music, scrumptious Southern cooking and a dash of romance as steamy as a pot of Tugg’s famous jambalaya! Will we see wedding bells in the next book? I hope so!

Summed Up: Maggie Crozat is on the case once again—and this time it’s happening at a music festival starring the illustrious Tammy Barker, a small town mean girl-turned country sensation superstar (think Taylor Swift meet Miley Cyrus…yuck).  The mystery begins when Tammy’s sleazy manager gets zapped to death on stage, and all eyes are on Maggie’s best bud, Gaynell!  It’s up to Maggie to piece together the clues (with her hunky cop boyfriend, of course) to find the real killer before her songbird bestie becomes a jailbird. Sorry, I just couldn’t help myself.

What worked: The mystery proved to be quite a puzzle with loads of suspects who all have ample motives for electrocuting the womanizing manager. As with all cozy mysteries, there’s a tangled web of characters thrown into this big ol’ spicy pot of jambalaya, but thankfully we have a character map at the front of the book to sort them all out. I’m sure that all my fellow cozy mystery lovers would agree that this is a highly necessary tool. Either way, this was another clever whodunit with a surprise ending—even for this seasoned mystery fan.

What didn’t work: I’ll be honest, I’m not a big fan of the sub-plot involving Maggie’s granny doing her “death cleaning,” meaning downsizing her belongings to prepare for the great beyond. I know it’s practical and worth doing, but yeah…it made me squeamish.

Favorite Character:  CeeCee and I love a strong, dog-loving heroine with a penchant for mischief! What we love most about Maggie is her loyalty to her friends and family. Gaynell is a lucky girl to have such a talented super sleuth for a bestie. Let’s face it, in a town with such a high body count, you just never know what’s going to happen!

Least favorite character: Tammy Barker is—hands down—the most deplorable character in this book. She’s everything that’s wrong with country-crossover-pop music these days, and I couldn’t wait for her to become the next victim. Did she end up on the killer’s hit list? You’ll have to read the book to find out!

This book is best pared with: A giant homemade praline and a cold glass of sweet tea.

Mandatory disclaimer: I got an advance copy for free via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.