Book review: Mardi Gras Murder

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Mardi Gras Murder, Ellen Byron
Thanks to NetGalley and to Crooked Lane Books for an advance copy of Mardi Gras Murder by Ellen Byron. This is the fourth in the series from the Cajun Country mysteries, but the first I’ve read of either the series or the author.

I loved the cover and the description and dived into the book with enthusiasm … then I almost closed it again when faced with a seemingly enormous cast of characters. However, I pressed on, ignoring the pages-long list, and I’m glad I did.

Murder seems to follow main character Maggie wherever she goes, and where better to hide a murderer than during mardi gras, although the story opens before mardi gras actually starts when a body is discovered following recent devastating floods to the district.

I really enjoyed the characters in the end, even though there were lots of them. They were colourful and interesting. I also enjoyed learning about some of the local customs.

I did get lost with some of the descriptions, wondering in which house we were now and I felt that some characters were introduced a little early.

There was what felt like padding dotted all over the place, such as the Miss-longest-beauty-pageant-in-the-world-title contest that practically every character had to refer to in full and sometimes several times in just one paragraph, and the information-dump that some single sentences were used for.

I was also surprised when one character at the end was suddenly experiencing unexplained growths having to be removed from his head. And I felt the *other* mystery could have been wrapped up sooner, perhaps before the main mystery was solved, as when the main mystery *was* solved, it felt like the end of the book, but then there were a further two chapters and an epilogue.

But it’s a great story that kept me interested and the pages turning. I’ll certainly look out for more by this author, and may go back to the start of the Cajun Country mystery series.