Wednesday, June 8, 2022

Bayou Book Thief by Ellen Byron: Review & Giveaway!

 Bayou Book Thief


About Bayou Book Thief


Bayou Book Thief (A Vintage Cookbook Mystery) 

Cozy Mystery 

1st in Series Setting - New Orleans Louisiana 

Publisher ‏ : ‎ Berkley (June 7, 2022) 

Mass Market Paperback ‏ : ‎ 304 pages 

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?

About Ellen Byron

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

Author Links

My Thoughts

Bayou Book Thief by Ellen Byron is the debut of A Vintage Cookbook Mysteries.  This is a cute, lighthearted Southern cozy mystery.  There is a cast of unique characters.  Miracle “Ricki” Fleur di Lis James has left her life in Los Angeles behind for a fresh start in New Orleans where she was born.  Ricki comes up with the idea for Miss Vee’s Vintage Cookbook and Kitchenware Shop which is to be housed in the Bon Vee Culinary House Museum.  She is fortunate that the idea is approved.  One morning, Ricki is opening donations that arrived that morning with help from other workers at Bon Vee.  They open an old trunk to find disgraced former docent, Franklin inside.  Ricki is worried when the staff and volunteers come under suspicion.  She feels the police are not working quickly enough to solve the crime, so Ricki decides to do a little investigating on her own.  Ricki uncovers what she believes could have been the motif.  She needs to follow the thread and see if it leads her to the killer.  

Bayou Book Thief contains Ellen Byron’s fun writing style.  She provides us with quirky characters and plenty of Southern charm.  I enjoyed the descriptions of New Orleans, the vintage cookware, and the cookbooks.  There is humor sprinkled throughout the story that will have readers chuckling.  The whodunit was entertaining.  No one was sad to see Franklin end up dead in a trunk.  The man was not liked.  The more Ricki learns about the man, the more she can see why someone murdered him (just surprised it did not happen sooner).  Detective Nina Rodriguez is nice and accepts information from Ricki.  She does give her a warning about sleuthing on her own.  There are clues to help readers solve the mystery before the reveal.  I enjoyed the takedown scene (it will have you laughing).  There is a secondary mystery involving an air conditioning repairman.  I do not know how Ricki put up with the heat and humidity.  I would have gone out and purchased a window unit rather than a swamp cooler.  Southern heat along with the humidity can be brutal.  There is a large cast of characters so it can be difficult to keep them all straight.  It will get easier as the series progresses.  There are delectable food descriptions that will have you craving a po’ boy, beignets, and shrimp etouffee.  I loved the ending.  It has me eager for the next A Vintage Cookbook Mystery.  There are recipes at the end of the book as well as a preview of Wined and Died in New OrleansBayou Book Thief is finer than a frog hair split four ways with a man who is as useless as a screen door on a submarine, a bounty of books, a vile victim, a diligent detective, an artful air conditioning repairman, warm weather, and a riled Ricki.  

Bayou Book Thief is available from Amazon, B&NKobo, Google BooksAlibrisIndieBound, and PenguinRandomHouse.  The next A Vintage Cookbook Mystery is Wined and Died in New Orleans which publishes February 7, 2023.  You can find Ellen Byron's other novels here.  As part of the tour, Ellen Byron is giving away one print copy of Bayou Book Thief (sorry, but US only).  You can click here to enter or use the Rafflecopter form below.  Good Luck!  Thank you for joining me today.  Tomorrow I am featuring Death by Beach Read by Eva Gates.  It is the latest A Lighthouse Library Mystery.  I hope that you have a day filled with joy.  We need more happiness in our lives.  Do not forget to leave a comment for an extra entry in the contest for a copy of the Bayou Book Thief.  Good Luck!  Take care, stay cool, and Happy Reading!


The Avid Reader 

a Rafflecopter giveaway
Tour Participants

June 8 – The Avid Reader – REVIEW

June 8 – Ascroft, eh? – CHARACTER INTERVIEW 

June 8 – Island Confidential - REVIEW 

June 9 – Christy's Cozy Corners – REVIEW 

June 9 – I Read What You Write – CHARACTER GUEST POST 

June 10 – Books to the Ceiling – SPOTLIGHT 
June 10 – Carla Loves To Read – REVIEW 

June 11 – Reading Is My SuperPower – REVIEW 

June 11 – Maureen's Musings – SPOTLIGHT 

June 12 – The Mystery of Writing – AUTHOR INTERVIEW 

June 12 – Cozy Up With Kathy – REVIEW 

June 13 – #BRVL Book Review Virginia Lee Blog - SPOTLIGHT 

June 14 – Rosepoint Publishing – REVIEW 

June 14 – My Reading Journeys - REVIEW 

June 15 – Socrates Book Reviews – REVIEW 

June 15 – Books a Plenty Book Reviews – REVIEW 

June 16 – The Mystery Section – RECIPE 

June 17 – View from the Birdhouse – REVIEW 

June 17 – Moonlight Rendezvous – REVIEW 

June 18 – Ruff Drafts – SPOTLIGHT 

June 19 – Lisa Ks Book Reviews – GUEST POST 

June 19 – StoreyBook Reviews – REVIEW 
June 20 – Melina's Book Blog – REVIEW 

June 20 – Celticlady's Reviews – SPOTLIGHT

June 21 – Novels Alive – REVIEW – SPOTLIGHT 

June 21 – Sapphyria's Book Reviews – SPOTLIGHT

*This post contains affiliate links.  As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases.


  1. Sounds like a good read. I like the cover.

    1. I love the cover, Rita! I'm having so much fun sharing it.

  2. Thanks so much for a GREAT review!

  3. Love the New Orleans setting. Looking forward to reading the book.