Friday, June 17, 2022

Book Review and Giveaway - Bayou Book Thief (A Vintage Cookbook Mystery) by Ellen Byron

My Review

Ricki James is a young widow who has moved to New Orleans for a new start in life. She lands her dream job, managing a museum gift shop that specializes in vintage cookbooks and cookware. When a pesky docent shows up dead - and books he owned (many stolen) are sent to her - she becomes involved in solving the murder mystery.

I wanted to read Bayou Book Thief because I have enjoyed Ellen Byron's Cajun Country Mystery series so much. I love New Orleans. And most important - I collect and sell vintage cookbooks.

This is my favorite start to a new cozy mystery series in ages. Ricki is a smart and likable protagonist. She really knows her vintage cookbooks, and her knowledge about cookbooks - and cooking history - is interspersed through the novel in fascinating tidbits.

I loved the delightfully captured New Orleans atmosphere, and the beauty and quirkiness of the museum as well. I liked Ricki's friends on the staff, and her potential romantic interest as well.

The mystery was well plotted and kept me guessing. It was well paced and so engrossing that I didn't want to take "life breaks" from reading.

I highly recommend Bayou Book Thief for fans of cozy mysteries, especially anyone who loves vintage cookbooks or New Orleans settings. 

Book Synopsis

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?

Author Bio

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 comment:

Ellen Byron/Maria DiRico said...

Thank you SO much for this wonderful review. I'm thrilled you also collect vintage cookbooks!