Monday, February 6, 2023

Wined and Died in New Orleans - Cozy Mystery Review

Goodreads: Wined and Died in New Orleans (A Vintage Cookbook Mystery #2) by Ellen Byron

Rating: Really Liked It (4 Stars)
Source:   Publisher

Description:  It’s hurricane season in New Orleans and vintage cookbook fan 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 unearth crates of very old, very valuable French wine, buried by the home’s builder, Jean-Louis Charbonnet. Ricki, who’s been struggling to attract more customers to Miss Vee’s, is thrilled when her post about the discovery of this long-buried treasure goes viral. She’s less thrilled when the post brings distant Charbonnet family members out of the woodwork, all clamoring for a cut of the wine’s sale.

When a dead body turns up in Bon Vee’s cheery fall decorations, the NOPD zeroes in on Eugenia Charbonnet Felice as the prime suspect, figuring that as head of the Charbonnet family, she has the most to gain. Ricki is determined to uncover the real culprit, but she can’t help noticing that Eugenia is acting strangely. Ricki wonders what kind of secret her mentor has bottled up, and fears what might happen if she uncorks it.

In the second Vintage Cookbook Mystery, Ricki has to help solve a murder, untangle family secrets, and grow her business, all while living under the threat of a hurricane that could wipe out everything from her home to Bon Vee.

Genre: Mystery - Cozy 

Why I Picked This Book:  I liked this first book in the series and was curious to see how the series developed.

My Impression: I went in to this book with somewhat mixed expectations.  In the previous book I loved the setting and the side characters but Ricki drove me absolutely bonkers.  I was so glad to see that Ricki has adjusted a bit more to her new home (though still doesn't have the local general nonchalance about hurricanes) and is really starting to find her feet running her store.  In addition to the entertaining and varied group of side characters we met in the first book the author added in Iris, the overly enthusiastic tour guide, Olivia, Miss Eugenia's very teenage granddaughter, and a whole host of Charbonnet family members of varying degrees of eccentricity and nefarious schemes.  Add in the complication of one gorgeous but not so nice Charbonnet relative just happens to be the assistant to Ricki's massive crush and co-dog parent Virgil, and Ricki has a lot going on.  And that's before she has to start collecting other suspects to keep Eugenia from being the prime suspect in a murder.

This was a fun read.  The author clearly knows her way around New Orleans and I enjoyed being able to really visualize the places that Ricki explored.   I had a good time trying to guess which New Orleans institution Charbonnet's was based on (my guess in Antoine's as Brennan's has ridden changes in times a bit better) as well as trying to guess just what chaos was going on within the Charbonnet clan.  The mystery kept me guessing and reading and I loved that we got some new information into the mystery of Ricki's backstory.  

If you're looking for an entertaining read with a great setting and a likable cast of side characters you can't go wrong with this book - though I do recommend reading the first book first so you know all the whos whos.

Would I Read More of this Series/Author?  Absolutely!  I really loved her Bayou series and I thoroughly enjoyed this book.

Would I Recommend this Book?  Definitely!  And if you were a bit meh on the first book I recommend you give the series another try.

* I received this book in exchange for an honest review.  As always my opinions and impressions are completely my own. *


  1. That New Orleans setting is always a good one....especially for mysteries.

  2. I love the setting. I'm glad the main character isn't driving you as crazy anymore.

  3. This one sounds like a winner for you and I know you really like a New Orleans setting.

  4. This sounds great and I like that it is set in New Orleans.

  5. I enjoyed this one too. I didn't read the first book, and I wish I had just to know more about the characters' backstories.