Plantation Shudders: Welcome to Cajun Country. It’s nothing like I expected that’s for sure

What is this about?: Maggie finds herself and her parents in the middle of a murder investigation when two guests are murdered at their BnB. Which you know, for a BnB, not a good look.

What else is this about?: An introduction to Maggie and the town of Peli-CAN.

Blurb

It’s the end of the summer and Prodigal Daughter Maggie Crozat has returned home to her family’s plantation-turned-bed-and-breakfast in Louisiana. The Crozats have an inn full of guests for the local food festival–elderly honeymooners, the Cajun Cuties, a mysterious stranger from Texas, a couple of hipster lovebirds, and a trio of Georgia frat boys. But when the elderly couple keels over dead within minutes of each other–one from very unnatural causes– Maggie and the others suddenly become suspects in a murder.

With the help of Bo Durand, the town’s handsome new detective, Maggie must investigate to clear her name while holding the family business together at the same time. And the deeper she digs, the more she wonders: are all of the guests really there for a vacation or do they have ulterior motives? Decades-old secrets and stunning revelations abound in Ellen Byron’s charming cozy debut, Plantation Shudders.

Plantation Shudders is the first in the Cajun Country cosy mystery series and it is charming, light reading that might be the kind of pick me up you may need.

Maggie has returned home after a broken long-term relationship. She is living and working with her parents at their BnB, and running tour groups as well, while she tries to figure out what she wants to do next. Her Gran, who is more internet savvy than anyone else in the book, lives with them and is essentially their marketing and social media guru, ensuring the Crozat name spreads far and wide.

However, when a cantankerous old woman is murdered, on the heels of her husband’s heart attack (like two cantankerous old coots within minutes of each other), that is not what anyone wants the Crozat name to be associated with.

Throw in Beau, the new cop in town, as a potential romance and it really is cosy mystery goodness.

The other guests are hilarious goodness, right down to the Cajun Cuties, a club of women who love the South. There’s nothing particularly earth-shattering about this book, though the inclusion numerous cuisines is mouthwatering!

What I was not too chuffed with about 2/3 of the way through is Maggie: her investigations lead her to the conclusion that someone close to her might be involved. Which, the first thing you would do is go to said person and find out exactly what’s what. But no. For no good reason the book tells me, she decides to throw that person under the bus with the cops. And, in the grand scheme of things the suspect is so improbable, I couldn’t fathom why this had been thrown up as a red herring? An excuse to show Beau as sympathetic? Who the hell knows.

Then, Maggie finds out something else and climbs up on her high horse again, and goes to her cousin’s place, throwing her weight around demanding the truth. There’s no set-up for this, so it was very much out of the blue and out of character for Maggie, who until then was devoted to her family.

And then there’s the caste system (after a fashion): the idea that certain families have better breeding than anyone else who isn’t in their realm of family history ie money. It’s condescending and kind of awful, no matter how its delivered, but it got me thinking: is that sort of thinking still present currently?? People are still considered as refined or not according to their family history and money?

Maggie’s characterisation threw me out of the story for a bit, but there’s much to enjoy here.

11 Comments

  • The fact that Maggie’s gran is more internet savvy than anyone else in the book makes me want to pick it up to read xD

  • Stormi has been really on to me to read this one. I am sure I’ll love it and she says Gopher is the best. Does sound like it might have a few issues, but overall, for a cozy, it sounds pretty good!

  • Lydia says:

    This was such a good review. While this isn’t my sort of book, I love your writing style. 🙂

    I also wanted to comment on the “better breeding” thing. I know exactly one person who publicly* subscribes to the idea that having money and coming from a “good” family makes you a better person than other folks.

    Anecdotes aren’t data, but they are one of the most unpleasant and unkind people I’ve ever met. That belief does still exist in modern society, but my hope is that it’s only held by people who have very little else of merit to offer the world. As in, hello giant red flags that should never be ignored!

    *And I sure do hope that no one else I know believes this privately either.

    • Verushka says:

      Thank you! You are such a gem to say that!

      And, oh wow — how can they (and anyone else like them) think like that still? That they’re so unpleasant makes sense if they think like that. It was such a befuddling part of the book bc the characters who voiced these opinions were actually some of my faves otherwise — so it made sense that this was par the course in society.

  • Yikes, I am thinking I would want to hit Maggie over the head with a cast-iron skillet! lol Now her Gran and I will get along just fine. I love the setting and I am glad you found things to enjoy.

    • Verushka says:

      Maggie was doing fine until she started doing stupid things. On the upside, it didn’t last very long (which kind of made it stick out even more)

  • I like the setting but I think I would have some issues with Maggie and how she handles some things. I’m glad you were still able to enjoy this one.

    • Verushka says:

      The only saving grace about Maggie’s fall into stupid things is that is doesn’t last long, but it was still at odds with the rest of her.

  • Kelly says:

    But is there a doggo involved? i love these quaint little mysteries, they won’t keep you up at night and there’s usually no gruesome details either. I’m curious about the old family money and living on a plantation aspect. I’m not fluid in American culture but interested in whether slavery was mentioned at all because I can imagine those type of areas have very volatile histories. Thank goodness Maggie comes to her senses quick smart, she sounds pretty level headed, seeing her not use her smarts though is pretty frustrating. It sounds like a lovely, quick read Verushka and so glad you enjoyed it. Beautiful review!

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