Wednesday, June 15, 2022

Review: Bayou Book Thief (A Vintage Cookbook Mystery) by Ellen Byron (Blog Tour-Tour-Wide Giveaway)


Bayou Book Thief (A Vintage Cookbook Mystery) by Ellen Byron

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 

ISBN-10 ‏ : ‎ 0593437616

ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-0593437612 

Digital ASIN ‏ : ‎ B09FPJHVGK

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?

My Review

Miracle “Ricki” Fleur de Lis James-Diaz hasn’t had an easy life.  Her birth mother abandoned her, but she was quickly adopted.  Then her husband was killed doing an internet stunt.  Ricki decides it’s time for a change so she leaves Los Angels to start over in New Orleans.

She applies for a job at the Bon Vee Culinary House Museum where she opens the museum’s gift shop featuring vintage cookbooks.  Everyone is thrilled with the idea and she receives many book donations.  Imagine her shock when one of the trunks filled with books isn’t filled with books at all.  Instead, there is a dead body.  The body of a former museum employee who had been fired for theft.  

With almost all of the museum employees, including Ricki, under suspicion of murder, she fears the  museum and her shop are in danger of being shut down.  She decides to lend the police an unwanted hand in investigating the crime.  Ricki finds herself stumbling over quite a number of potential suspects.

I’ve been wanting to read Ellen Byron’s books for a long time.  When I saw she had a new series, I wanted to jump right in on the ground floor.  I’m so glad I did.  What a delightful book!  I felt as if I were transported to New Orleans.  It’s filled with the flavor and excitement of the city. 

There were many characters to get to know, since this is the first introduction to these characters.  I loved Ricki right from the start.  She is surrounded by a quirky crew of supporting characters who will make you laugh.  

The murder mystery is intriguing and kept me guessing to the end.  It surprised me, but it all fit together perfectly. The plot also has a couple of side storylines going on and kept me interested.  The main mystery is wrapped up in this book, but there is a hint of a continuing thread.  

This is an exciting new cozy mystery series that is quite entertaining.  It has humor, mystery and a touch of romance all blended together for a fun filled adventure.  Bayou Book Thief is on my "best of 2022" list.

For reading challenges:

Craving for Cozies Reading Challenge 2022
Cloak & Dagger Reading Challenge 2022
Literary Escapes Reading Challenge 2022 (Louisiana)
NetGalley & Edelweiss Reading Challenge 2022

FTC Disclosure: I voluntarily reviewed a free Advance Reader Copy of this book from NetGalley and the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review.  All opinions expressed are my own.


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 

Purchase Links 


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Tour-Wide Giveaway


  1. Sounds like a fun read.

    Have a fabulous day, Yvonne. Big hug. ♥

  2. Thank you so much for the wonderful review! I'm thrilled to be on your "Best of 2022" list already!!


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