Sunday, September 11, 2016

Ellen Byron returns to Crozat Plantation for enchanting 'Body on the Bayou' cozy mystery

Ellen Byron follows up her award-winning, acclaimed cozy mystery “Plantation Shudders,” set at the Crozat Plantation B&B of Cajun Country, with another winner, “Body on the Bayou.”
Set in Pelican, Louisiana, outside of Baton Rouge, Maggie Crozat is about to lose her mind planning a wedding for her demanding friend and co-worker Vanessa Fleer. But things get really hairy when Vanessa’s cousin Ginger shows up, an equally demanding woman who also loves to scam people by faking accidents. Naturally, Ginger has her enemies, which is why when her body is found in the bayou, the suspects are numerous. Maggie, along with love interest and police detective Bo Durant, research the many suspects, including Ginger’s disgruntled coworkers, an ex-Marine with PSTD, Ginger’s spurned husband and even Vanessa. The intricate mystery’s woven in and out of an out-of-control southern wedding dressed in LSU colors, resulting in a rollicking story that will keep you hanging until the very end.
As we say in the South, Byron’s not from around here, lives in Los Angeles where she works as a TV writer, playwright and freelance journalist. But she studied at Tulane and did her homework, so she passes muster. But don’t take my word for it, her last mystery was an Agatha Award finalist for best first mystery, a Lefty Award finalist for best humorous mystery and a Daphne du Maurier Award nominee.

New releases
Everett Lueck has produced an informative book on the “Red River and Gulf Railroad: A Short History,” that looks at the rail lines that traversed from Lecompte to Long Leaf and on to Kurthwood with branch lines from Long Leaf to Bolton and Meridian from 1905 to 1954. The well-researched book is filled with great historical photos, maps and personal and regional stories.
Lueck’s book is available for $15 at the Southern Forest Heritage Museum in Long Leaf. For a copy by mail, send $17.50 to Southern Forest Heritage Museum, P.O. Box 101, Long Leaf, LA 71448.

Ashley Mace Havird’s “Lightningstruck: A Novel” centers around 11-year-old Etta McDaniel, whose horse is struck by lightning in 1964 and survives with new supernatural powers. Along with other characters, the lightning-struck horse initiates Etta into the world of “action and liability” as the Civil Rights Movement takes hold in her rural South.
            Lee R. Hadley has recently published “Cajun Justice,” a related side story to his previous three novels that are part of the trilogy Towers Series.
Allen Cates of Lafayette has published “Full Circle,” a novel centered around Cates’ time in Southeast Asia flying helicopters with the Marines and then Air America.
“I was involved with five SAR events and familiar with many others,” Cates wrote me by email. “Each were different but collectively the procedures used are accurately described in my book.
“The purpose of the book is to acquaint the public about a secret government Air Force used in Laos to support the USAF covertly and clandestinely, with an entertaining read.”
For the last 40 years, Allen has worked in the oil and gas industry domiciled in South Louisiana.
Robert Hicks, the New York Times bestselling author of “The Widow of the South” and “A Separate Country,” releases his latest novel on Tuesday, “The Orphan Mother,” an epic account of a woman’s quest for justice.

Cheré Coen is the author of “Forest Hill, Louisiana: A Bloom Town History,” “Haunted Lafayette, Louisiana” and “Exploring Cajun Country.” She writes Louisiana romances under the pen name of Cherie Claire. Write her at cherecoen@gmail.com.