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Mardi Gras Murder: A Cajun Country Mystery
by Ellen Byron
About the Book
Mardi Gras Murder: A Cajun Country Mystery
4th in Series
Crooked Lane Books (October 9, 2018)
Hardcover: 304 pages
Digital ASIN: B078LZ5W3H
Southern charm meets the dark mystery of the bayou as a hundred-year flood, a malicious murder, and a most unusual Mardi Gras converge at the Crozat Plantation B&B.
It’s Mardi Gras season on the bayou, which means parades, pageantry, and gumbo galore. But when a flood upends life in the tiny town of Pelican, Louisiana—and deposits a body of a stranger behind the Crozat Plantation B&B—the celebration takes a decidedly dark turn. The citizens of Pelican are ready to Laissez les bon temps rouler—but there’s beaucoup bad blood on hand this Mardi Gras.
Maggie Crozat is determined to give the stranger a name and find out why he was murdered. The post-flood recovery has delayed the opening of a controversial exhibit about the little-known Louisiana Orphan Train. And when a judge for the Miss Pelican Mardi Gras Gumbo Queen pageant is shot, Maggie’s convinced the murder is connected to the body on the bayou. Does someone covet the pageant queen crown enough to kill for it? Could the deaths be related to the Orphan Train, which delivered its last charges to Louisiana in 1929? The leads are thin on this Fat Tuesday—and until the killer is unmasked, no one in Pelican is safe.
A simmering gumbo of a humorous whodunit, Mardi Gras Murder is the fourth piquant installment in USA Today bestselling author Ellen Byron’s award-winning Cajun Country mysteries.
Guest Post by the Author
THE CAJUN NAVY
The terrible floods in the Baton Rouge area inspired the flood that opens MARDI GRAS MURDER, my latest Cajun Country Mystery. You can’t talk about a flood in the U.S. these days without referencing the valiant volunteer rescue efforts of the Cajun Navy, which is why they get a shout-out on page one of my book.
The Cajun Navy is an ad hoc group of volunteers from Louisiana who show up with their boats when a flood disaster happens and start rescuing people. Many of them were inspired by their own losses from 2005’s Hurricane Katrina. They are private citizens who own a variety of small boats that work well in rescue efforts, like air boats, and flat-bottom vessels like johnboats and bass boats, all of which work well in flood waters that can range from relatively shallow to deep.
While the term, “Cajun Navy” had been used in a jocular way before, the group really came to be during Katrina, when a state senator put out a desperate plea for anyone who wanted to help in the relief effort to convene at a local mall. People showed up with almost four hundred boats. A friend of mine once shared a story of how her sister and brother-in-law’s boat wound up as part of an impromptu fleet. The boat was stolen from its storage facility by miscreants who wound up abandoning it. A volunteer who’d traveled to New Orleans to help save its citizens found the boat and put it into action. When my friend’s family eventually reclaimed the vessel, someone had painted on the side, “This boat saved 400 people.” The bottom of the boat was filled with photos, diplomas, and various ephemera people tried to save. It eventually was placed on display during an exhibit commemorating Katrina at the Louisiana State Museum housed in New Orleans’ Presbytere on Jackson Square.
Since Katrina, the Cajun Navy has flexed its volunteer muscle during the Baton Rouge floods (referenced in my book), Hurricane Harvey in Texas, Florida’s Hurricane Irma, and the recent flooding disaster in the Carolinas, among other events. They’re rescued thousands of people and pets around the country.
Realizing control needed to be centralized, the group uses apps like Zello and the Facebook pages titled “Cajun Navy” and “Cajun Navy Relief (Rescue Op. Page) to help coordinate efforts. The description at the end of the latter page is truly inspiring: “We want to leave a legacy to our children and grandchild to learn that Cajuns don’t wait around for help, they are the help. People helping people, no matter who you are, we are all Cajuns. Louisiana proud, Louisiana Strong.”
About the Author
Ellen Byron authors the Cajun Country Mystery series. A Cajun Christmas Killing and Body on the Bayou both won the Lefty Award for Best Humorous Mystery and were nominated for Agatha awards in the category of Best Contemporary Novel. Plantation Shudders was nominated for Agatha, Lefty, and Daphne awards. Mardi Gras Murder launches October 9th. Ellen’s TV credits include Wings, Just Shoot Me, and Fairly OddParents. She’s written over 200 national magazine articles, and her published plays include the award-winning Graceland. She also worked as a cater-waiter for the legendary Martha Stewart, a credit she never tires of sharing.
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