It’s Mardi Gras season on the bayou, which means parades, pageantry, and gumbo galore. But when a flood upends life in the tiny town of Pelican, Louisiana—and deposits a body of a stranger behind the Crozat Plantation B&B—the celebration takes a decidedly dark turn. The citizens of Pelican are ready to laissez les bon temps rouler—but there’s beaucoup bad blood on hand this Mardi Gras.

Mardi Gras Murder by Ellen Byron

Full of atmospheric details about the unique Mardi Gras customs of Louisiana’s small towns, Mardi Gras Murder is a fun and fast-paced cozy that kept me turning the pages.  Ellen Byron’s screenwriting background shows in the book’s peppy pacing and well-crafted dialogue. What I really appreciate about the Cajun Country Mysteries is the way lighthearted mystery is enriched with fascinating and often little-known historical and cultural context. 

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Interview with Magnolia “Maggie” Crozat

Maggie, welcome to Island Confidential! I’ve been following your adventures from the start, but would you mind telling our readers a little bit about yourself?

I’ve always been the town rebel in some ways – bucking against my family’s genealogic pedigree, pursuing an art career – and in keeping with that, I always refused to compete in the local Miss Pelican Mardi Gras Gumbo Queen contest. My parents were totally okay with this, never forcing me into it even though many past Crozats and Doucet women have worn the sash. Well, this year, much as I didn’t want to, I had to serve as a judge, replacing my grandmere when she fell ill. And confession time: I fell in love with the crown, which features the image of a gumbo pot made entirely out of different-colored crystals. Don’t tell anyone, but for a moment I was sad that I never had the chance to wear it!

Who are your favorite characters in Mardi Gras Murder?

My parents and my boyfriend, of course. But I have a very special relationship with my grandmere. She’s so smart and slyly funny. I have to say, I think she’s my best friend.

Every good story has a conflict. Is there anyone you don’t get on so well with?

Oh, that’s easy – Vanessa Fleer. She drives me nuts! She can be so totally clueless and say exactly the wrong thing without knowing or caring. She considers us besties, which can be super awkward. Honestly, I do like her – but in very small doses.

Just between you and me: What do you really think of your author?

She’s the most brilliant writer since Emily Bronte. Sorry – she told me if I don’t say that, she’ll fire me and make Vanessa the protagonist of the series.

Ouch! So barring any major personnel changes, what’s next for you?

Oh, a lot! In the spring, there’s the first annual Cajun Country Live! festival, where a prodigal daughter returns as a pop diva who won an American Idol type contest and is just a total… not great person. And in the fall, all the local B and Bs are going to be doing a joint package revolving around Halloween. Not to give too much away, but people will be murdered at both events. So… good times!

About The Author  

Body on the Bayou, the second in Ellen’s Cajun Country Mystery series, won the Left Coast Crime Lefty Award for Best Humorous Mystery, and was nominated for a Best Contemporary Novel Agatha Award. Her debut book in the series, Plantation Shuddersmade the USA Today Bestsellers list, and was nominated for Agatha, Lefty, and Daphne awards. Ellen is also a recipient of a William F. Deeck-Malice Domestic Grant from the Malice Domestic Convention. Her TV credits include Wings, Fairly OddParents, Still Standing, and Just Shoot Me, as well as network and cable pilots. As a journalist, she’s written over 200 magazine articles for national publications. Her plays, published by Dramatists Play Service, include the popular Graceland and Asleep on the Wind. She also worked as a cater-waiter for the legendary Martha Stewart, a credit she never tires of sharing.

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