Wednesday, February 08, 2023

Wined and Died in New Orleans by Ellen Byron

First Line: Ricki's heart hammered as she glanced at the ominous black clouds hovering over New Orleans from the front window of her shotgun cottage home.
It's hard to focus on business when it's hurricane season in New Orleans and you're a hurricane virgin, but Ricki Diaz-James needs to keep Miss Vee's Vintage Cookbook and Kitchenware Shop stocked. When a trove of valuable vintage wine is unearthed during some repair work on the Bon Vee Culinary House Museum and the news goes viral, Ricki is thrilled at the thought of the potential boost in her sales.

Eugenia Charbonnet Felice, head of the Louisiana Charbonnets as well as the museum, immediately begins planning for an auction and other related events. The money all this brings in will help keep the museum afloat. But one thing that Eugenia didn't plan for was every possible Charbonnet relative popping out of the woodwork and heading straight for New Orleans and their share of the proceeds.

Then a dead body turns up on the museum grounds and Eugenia is the prime suspect. Ricki isn't about to let the older woman take the blame for a crime Ricki is positive she didn't commit, so for the second time in a few months, it's Ricki to the rescue.


This second Vintage Cookbook mystery is every bit as entertaining as the first. I enjoyed reading about seasoned New Orleanians' reactions to hurricane season as opposed to newbie Ricki's, and I certainly enjoyed tagging along as she bought stock for her shop. As someone who's always hated cooking, you'd think that I wouldn't touch a series with a theme of vintage cookbooks and kitchenware, but I find myself a bit enchanted with it. Perhaps it's because Ricki and her stock bring back memories of my mother and grandmother. Who knows? But this series isn't solely vintage-- I also appreciated Eugenia's granddaughter's crash course in using social media to boost sales.

Speaking of Eugenia, the head of the Louisiana Charbonnets, another source of entertainment was watching all the distant relatives scuttle out of the woodwork when the cache of extremely valuable wine was uncovered. I never knew when a new branch of the family was going to pop up next (or where it would be from). 

There are a lot of family dynamics in Wined and Died in New Orleans, and it doesn't just concern who's going to get a share of the wine profits. Byron's series is shaping up to be one of my favorites because, not only does it have a strong, interesting main character, but it also entertains and educates. Who could ask for anything more?

Wined and Died in New Orleans by Ellen Byron
eISBN: 9780593437643
Berkley Prime Crime © 2023
eBook, 288 pages
Cozy Mystery, #2 Vintage Cookbook mystery
Rating: B+
Source: Net Galley


  1. I've read a bit of Byron's other series, Cathy, but not this one. I think she does do a fine job with the Louisiana setting, and there are some great characters, too. I'm glad you liked this one.

  2. I read the first one in this series and enjoyed it so I look forward to reading this one also.

    1. I'm glad to hear that you liked the first book, Dorothy.


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