Wined and Died in New Orleans by Ellen Byron

It’s my stop today on the blog tour for Wined and Died in New Orleans by Ellen Byron. Many thanks to Lori from Great Escapes Virtual Book Tours for the invite.

Title: Wined and Died in New Orleans (A Vintage Cookbook Mystery #2)

Author: Ellen Byron

Published on: 7 February 2023

Genre: Cozy Mystery

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Rating: 5 out of 5.

Wined and Died in New Orleans is the second book in Ellen Byron’s Vintage Cookbook Mystery series.

It’s hurricane season in New Orleans and Miracle ‘Ricki’ James-Diaz is trying to shelve her weather-related fears and focus on her business, Miss Vee’s Vintage Cookbook and Kitchenware Shop, housed in the magnificent Bon Vee Culinary House Museum.

Repairs on the property unearths a very old and valuable French wine. Ricky posts about the findings on the internet and the next day, a Frenchman claiming to be Jean-Louis Charbonnet, the last standing relative of the original Charbonnet, comes over and says he needs a cut from the wine sales. Soon, two more Charbonnets appear, each wanting a share from the wine sales.

Jean-Louis goes a step ahead, claims profits from the property and threatens to contest Vee’s will. The next morning, Jean-Louis is found dead in the museum garden. Eugenia, the president of the museum is acting strangely. Ricki wonders what kind of secret Eugenia’s bottled up and what might happen if she uncorks it.

What a fantastic and completely entertaining addition to the series. I enjoyed reading every bit of this story. Be it the characters, the setting, the mystery or the writing – simply perfect!

I read the first book – Bayou Book Thief – a couple of days ago and as eagerly waiting to see what’s next for Ricki. After all, the first book ended with a shocking twist – something to do with Eugenia and Ricki; although Ricki doesn’t have a clue as to what’s in store for her in the near future. In this book, the shocking discovery (aforementioned) is explored further. The series of events that finally led Ricki to the discovery was unexpected.

When a very old and valuable French wine belonging to the original owner of the Bon Vee house is found, people from various corners of the world turn up claiming to be a Charbonnet. Although the Frenchman Jean-Louis is legit, the same cannot be said about his intentions. It finally leads to his murder and evidence points to one person. But Ricki is quite sure the ‘suspect’ is innocent.

The mystery deepens, leading Ricki to unearth a series of secrets – including the one that Eugenia’s been hiding. Speaking of hiding, we have the hottie handsome chef Virgil who co-parent Thor and Princess (Chihuahua and German Shepard) with Ricki. Virgil has a new assistant named Carissa. There’s a hostile situation here – Carissa is jealous of Ricki and Virgil’s friendship. She probably sees herself as Virgil’s next wife or something – and makes sure Ricki suffers for ‘trying to interfere.’ Well, Ricki has no interest whatsoever… ahem, she finds him handsome, though. *wink*

The mystery behind the murder kept me guessing till the end. Multiple red herrings made it impossible to identify the killer before Ricki could. The killer’s identity was unexpected and shocking. Thinking of the events and how it finally connects to the killer, I must say this is a mystery well-written.

The recurring characters and their side stories made the story extra enjoyable. We have two new characters this time – Olivia and Iris. Olivia is Eugenia’s relative and currently interns with Ricki. She plays a significant role in the story and I cannot wait to see how Olivia will blend in with the Bon Vee crew. On the other hand, Iris is a classic example of the cringe employee who sings praises and more of it about their employer. Ugh, even Eugenia was nauseated by Iris’ behavior.

Overall, Wined and Died in New Orleans by Ellen Byron was a totally engrossing and entertaining read. Eclectic mix of characters, vibrant setting, and a mystery to keep one guessing for more – what else does a cozy mystery lover need?

There’s a rafflecopter giveaway for this tour. Deets here.

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