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Publisher's Summary

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?

©2022 Ellen Byron (P)2022 Penguin Audio

Critic Reviews

“Fans of Byron’s award-winning ‘Cajun Country’ mysteries will enjoy her return to New Orleans with an engaging, fun cast of characters.”–Library Journal

“BAYOU BOOK THIEF is a murder-mystery set around a shop for vintage cookbooks that includes a dash of a diverse cast of likeable characters, each with a pinch of eccentricity. This is a story with humor, expertly paced, and with more twists than a corkscrew. Cheer for a loveable heroine in Ricki James. Watch out for those peacocks. Nobody does New Orleans like Ellen Byron.”–Gabriel Valjan, author of the Company Files and Shane Cleary Mysteries series.

“Rickie James-Diaz and her quintessential New Orleans friends are bound to captivate readers as they wander their way through mayhem and murder! Don't miss this first in a new series!”–Terrie Farley Moran, Agatha Award-winning author of the Read 'Em and Eat Mysteries

What listeners say about Bayou Book Thief

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not for me

I was looking forward to this series because the Cajun Country Mystery Series by this author ended. Unfortunately, I couldn't get into this book. There are a lot characters, too many descriptions about characters and other unnecessary things. This makes the pacing of the book slow. I begin to lose interest and couldn't finish the book.

2 people found this helpful

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Great Cozy

I enjoyed this book very much. I listen to it 3 times to make sure I caught every minute! 😄

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My first book by Ellen Byron

Enjoyed the first in this series. Will definitely get the next one. A nice change from my normal blood and guts reading ( listening.)

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Great New Cozy Set in The Big East

I thoroughly enjoyed this new cozy series set in New Orleans, primarily in the beautiful Garden District although it also takes place in other areas including the French Quarter. Ricky has returned to the town of her birth after several unfortunate events including the accidental death of her husband leaving her a widow at 28. She now has a new job inside a mansion which is a museum to a famous and legendary female chef, in which she can sell vintage cookbooks and other related cooking and entertaining items. Ricky used to curate a rare book collection in Los Angeles for a millionaire convicted of running a Ponzi scheme.

There were a number of subplots including 2 murders with plenty of suspects. The plot was well developed and the way the murders were solved was surprising. I never suspected the killer.

There is a separate mystery in that Ricky was abandoned as a newborn in a New Orleans hospital. Fortunately a maternity nurse took her home and raised her. They later moved to Los Angeles. Now Ricky is trying to find some relatives.

These characters are wonderful and well developed and I look forward to seeing what happens to Ricky and the rest of the main characters.

The narration was well done and brought the story to life.

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New series

situational-humor, verbal-humor, NOLA, cozy-mystery, recipes, murder, murder-investigation, law-enforcement, widow, family, famous-author, adopted, amateur-sleuth, antiques, senior-citizens****

A fun start to a new series by a favorite author and set in NOLA. It doesn't get any better! New quirky characters populate this cozy set in the beautiful Garden District. The whodunit is well done, the background works well to introduce those characters who will continue, and there are plenty of laughs.
Amy Melissa Bentley is the very perky narrator

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Great First In Series

I loved this first in series and found Ricki and all (most) of the characters to be likeable, and those who weren't, weren't supposed to be. NOLA is a much used location for mysteries, cozy and non-cozy, alike, and I wondered about yet another series set there. However, I needn't have worried. Ellen Byron did her usual brilliant job of making the location, the story, and the characters her own. Ricki's shop is delightful, as is the entire premise of Bon Vie. I actually did not figure out the killer before the official unveiling, and that does not happen often. I gave the book a 4 rather than 5 star rating because as with many first in series, the beginning is rather cluttered with names, relationships, descriptions, etc. It is necessary, but it always makes for a slower start to me. That said, this is a fun read, a challenging mystery(ies), and I know Ricki and company are my delightful new friends. I cannot wait for the next book.

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