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?
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.
Praise for Bayou Book Thief:
“What a fun read with a fabulous cast of characters! Lots of twists and turns will keep you guessing right up to the hilarious end. Beware reading while hungry. The food descriptions will make you want to book a ticket to New Orleans today.”
– Libby Klein, bestselling author, the Poppy McAllister Mysteries
“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
“Byron’s love of New Orleans, its people, its history, its culture, its food, shines in every page in this charming book. California transplant, the delightful Ricky heads a cast of exceptional supporting characters, all as quirky as the city in which they’re lucky enough to live. Bayou Book Thief is the start of what I am sure will soon become one of my favourite series and I can’t wait for my next visit.”
– Vicki Delany, National Bestselling author
"With a compelling New Orleans setting that makes me want to move from Los Angeles to Louisiana, just like fearless Ricki, Bayou Book Thief is an unguessable culinary mystery that will steal any book lover’s heart."
– Jennifer J. Chow, Lefty Award-Nominated author of the Sassy Cat Mysteries
“Ellen Byron is taking us on a trip to the Big Easy with her new Vintage Cookbook Mystery series. Not only do we get to experience delicious cuisine, a rich variety of characters, and a pair of naughty peacocks, THE BAYOU BOOK THIEF offers layers of mysteries that kept me guessing until the very end. Bravo!”
– Dorothy St. James, author of A Perfect Bind
“Ellen Byron's latest debut cozy is as delightful as the vintage cookbooks she features. Whet your appetite for murder with Bayou Book Thief!"
– Diane Vallere, national bestselling author of the Costume Shop Mysteries
“BAYOU BOOK THIEF is the first in a new series and it’s a great start. New Orleans is colorfully depicted and filled with interesting and fun characters. The ambiance is stellar and the camaraderie between characters is transparent. Overall, this mystery is filled with fun people, good food, and a great whodunit. An interesting cliff-hangar at the end will keep us invested until next time. Vintage Cookbook recipes included! Enjoy!” – Fresh Fiction
“Fans of classic sleuths, Agatha Christie mysteries and cookbook-lovers alike may enjoy this classic tale of mystery and suspense set in the historic Garden District of New Orleans.” – Louisiana Life
“Vintage Cookbook Mystery has been added to my list of favorite series.” – Sandra Murphy, Kings River Life