Cover Image: Wined and Died in New Orleans

Wined and Died in New Orleans

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Member Reviews

Very entertaining book! I love all the characters and family connections. Very excited for the next book!
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Wined and Died in New Orleans is the second Vintage Cookbook cozy mystery by Ellen Byron. Released 7th Feb 2023 by Penguin Random House on their Berkley imprint, it's 288 pages and is available in mass market paperback, audio, and ebook formats. It's worth noting that the ebook format has a handy interactive table of contents as well as interactive links and references throughout.

This is a delightfully light and humorous cozy set in and around a fictitious stately home in New Orleans and the shops and tourist attractions associated with it. Protagonist and amateur sleuth Ricki James-Diaz runs a vintage cookbook and kitschy kitchen supply store in the Bon Vee Culinary House Museum and is a recent transplant to Louisiana from California.

Some of the characterizations and plot developments are admittedly a bit over the top and there are some twists which require a healthy suspension of disbelief, but all in all, it's a pretty good example of why the shopfront cozy subgenre is so popular. Ricki's internal Zen monologue ("breathe, I choose to feel calm" etc) was slightly intrusive at some points, but overall it added whimsy and a little humor to the read.

The eclectic mix of eccentric characters left an open field for most of the book for "whodunit" and why. The denouement and resolution are self contained in this volume and it works well as a standalone. With 2 books extant in the series, it would be a nice choice for a mini-weekend binge read or buddy read. 

Four stars. The author is prolific and competent. 

Disclosure: I received an ARC at no cost from the author/publisher for review purposes
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The newest addition to the “A Vintage Cookbook Mystery” series, Wined and Died in New Orleans, has added a fun and intriguing aspect to this series. Only the second book, yet the characters feel like old friends. The setting is beautiful, and no matter what type of cozy you enjoy, the combination of Ricki, murder, and bad weather will keep you on the edge of your seat. 

When crates of old wine are discovered on the ground of Bon Vee that could be worth a small fortune, greed comes out of the woodwork. It isn’t long before murder follows suit. Just when the investigation gets underway, Ricki, Bon Vee, and everyone in the city is in the path of the worse possible weather. Ricki’s fears are coming to fruition, and she doesn’t have long to figure out who the killer is before it may be too late for all of them. 

The suspects are friends and family, but Ricki wonders if there is more to the story than meets the eye. Regardless of the weather, evidence could be washed away in more ways than one, but when she starts asking questions, it isn’t a hurricane Ricki needs to fear. Plenty of twists and turns throughout the story keep readers on their toes. The pace is good without being too fast or slow. The characters make you smile and worry at the same time. Even the killer holds fascination. The unveiling is easy to imagine and makes Ricki and the reader doubt much of what they thought they knew. 

Wined and Died in New Orleans< is a crowd-pleaser. Everything about this story keeps the reader invested, from the weather and Ricki’s constant fear of a hurricane to the murder and killer, you won’t be disappointed. This book will keep fans excited and looking forward to the next installment.
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Bakers and cooks who also enjoy well-plotted, clever mysteries will devour this series! I often get irritated at cozy mysteries that are highly formulaic and wooden in delivery. In this series, Ellen Byron can write, my friends! No complaints at all from this cozy mystery reader. I’ll be recommending this on all my summer reading lists.
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Wined and Died in New Orleans Earns 5/5 Goblets … Engaging & Fun Cozy!

Crates of vintage French wine, potentially priced through the roof, have been found bringing out several interested parties. Ricki, who’ll try anything to boost business for Miss Vee’s Vintage Cookbook and Kitchenware Shop, seizes the opportunity to announce the discovery. So, with so many vying for a swig of the windfall, is it any surprise a dead body is also discovered? The head of the museum, Eugenia Charbonnet Felice, and Ricki’s mentor, is the prime suspect. Ricki is sure she’s innocent and while anticipating the upcoming hurricane, she’s whittling through complex family dynamics, suspicious behaviors, DNA checks, and a new employee. Totally engaging all the way thru to the surprising and satisfying end. But, a murder mystery is only one mystery Ricki is eager to solve. She’s adopted, and although she has a great relationship with her adoptive parents, the identity of her biological family is important. An added and interesting side story to an already engaging series.

Ellen Byron presents a clever mystery for the second book in her series to keep me entertained. She includes vivid, sensory-laden descriptions of New Orleans, witty repartee, and entertaining multi-generational, some quirky, characters, along with several suspect and motive possibilities, a few engaging predicaments, an extra homicide, and a threat of a hurricane to make things more stressful. I am a fan of Ellen’s writing style always well-written, steady paced, funny, and poignant. AND … recipes, too! Byron cites and offers insights for several vintage cookbooks. Focusing on wine these recipes are perfect: Biscuit Tortoni, Curried Chicken, and Barbeque Frankfurters along with an alternate recipe using Ground Turkey or Beef. Try Beer Hush Puppies using your favorite brew. And, sans any alcohol, try this traditional dessert: Brownies.
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I thoroughly enjoyed Ellen Byron’s Cajun Country Mystery series, and her Vintage Cookbook Mystery series is just as delightful. Wined and Died in New Orleans, second in the series, is a treat.

Ricki James-Diaz is settling into New Orleans. She’s working to build up business for her vintage cookbook shop on the grounds of the Bon Vee Culinary House and Museum, and she’s trying not to worry about potential bad weather in the form of a hurricane.

When a trove of valuable vintage wine is found on the property, Ricki thinks a post on social media about the find might attract some interest. Little did she know it would go viral, and Charbonnet cousins would start coming out of the woodwork, aiming for a cut of the proceeds. But a cousin ends up dead, and Eugenia ends up as the prime suspect. Can Ricki point the police in a different direction so they can find the real killer?

This book is full of so many good things! Characters I love (and love to hate), vintage cookbooks, recipes, and most of all, a darn good mystery. Byron expertly lays down a variety of trails for us to chase suspects down, and the killer wasn’t someone I suspected. The fact that the murder weapon was a meat mallet from Ricki’s shop doesn’t exactly narrow down the field, either! A hurricane looming out in the Gulf raises the tension level a hair or two as well.

Eugenia’s granddaughter is a particularly engaging character. Ricki has Olivia thrust upon her to help in the shop, and at first, it looks like she’ll be more hindrance than help. But her social media savvy soon has Miss Vee’s drawing attention for all the right reasons, and once you get past the Gen Z attitude, Olivia is a lovely young lady. I hope we see more of her in future books!

And as a Louisiana girl myself, I can say the setting Byron creates is on point. Some books set in my home state make me cringe. This one makes me feel like I’m hanging out with people I already know. 

Be sure to check out the recipes included in the book. I can’t wait to try those out. I do love a cozy mystery with recipes.

Five stars, and I can’t wait for the next in the series!
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Wined and Died in New Orleans by Ellen Byron makes Ricki feels like she has opened a can of worms by trying to do some good for the Bon Vee House Museum.

Vintage wine being found and distant cousins coming to town during hurricane season. Will Ricki find the time to ensure her new business is successful?

Ricki James-Diaz is back in a brand-new mystery! It's fall time in good old New Orleans, which is also hurricane season. Ricki is worried about the hurricanes, but more so for her business, as it has been slow. After discovering the wine, she takes it upon herself to post about it on social media after getting the go-ahead from Eugenia that it's okay to do so. Well, that brings about all sorts of drama for the Bon Vee staff. Ricki and the rest of the Bon Vee staff has more things to worry about when another murder happens on the property. Our resident sleuth has taken it upon herself to solve this one because she knows in her gut that it wasn't Eugenia that murdered this guy.

I loved Ricki in this installment, as she's getting used to being in New Orleans. Ricki is coming into her own here in New Orleans, and it's lovely to see.

The Mystery
Nobody at either Bon Vee or Charbonnet liked the murder victim after he inserted himself into everyone's affairs that dealt with the money side of both businesses. The Charbonnet family has many family members coming out of the woodwork to get what's rightfully theirs through the wine auction. I have to say that this mystery was one that I had a hard time following. See, I have to say that I fell for one of the red herrings and hoped it was one of the distant cousins that killed each other. I know, bad me. Everything tied together smoothly once the murderer was found, and I have to say that Ms. Byron led me like a fool to one of her carefully laid-out red herrings.

Five Stars
Wined and Died in New Orleans by Ellen Byron is the next installment in this Vintage Cookbook Mystery series, and I loved every minute of being in New Orleans during the fall season. Granted, we didn't get to celebrate Halloween there, but it was hurricane season. Ms. Byron makes the reader feel like they are in the story with the characters as they go through the case's developments. I am giving Wined and Died in New Orleans by Ellen Byron five stars and recommending it to anyone that loves a great southern cozy culinary mystery set in New Orleans.

Also, don't forget to check out the recipes at the back of the book. We have Biscuit Tortoni, Curried Chicken, Barbeque Frankfurters, Ellen's alternate recipe: Barbeque Ground Turkey (or Beef), Beer Hush Puppies, and Brownies.

I voluntarily reviewed an Advance Reader Copy. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Thank you for dropping by! I hope you enjoyed this review of Wined and Died in New Orleans by Ellen Byron.

Until the next time,
Karen the Baroness

If you would like to see other reviews like this one, check out Baroness Book Trove.
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Ricki James-Diaz hasn’t lived in New Orleans long.  It makes her more than a little nervous to hear a hurricane is on the way.  It’s not easy to put her fears aside and concentrate on her vintage cookbook shop.  However, she tries to do just that.

When a buried treasure is discovered on the Charbonnet property, long-lost relatives come to claim their share of the prize.  Of course, it’s up to the Charbonnet family to figure out who really shares their DNA.  Amid the excitement, a dead body shows up and the police focus their attention on Eugenia Charbonnet Felice, Ricki’s boss.  

Ricki is sure her boss is innocent and intends to prove it. 

I absolutely love this series.  I enjoyed the first one but this one is even better as I got to know all the characters even more than before.  Ricki is now on my favorite amateur sleuth list.  She’s strong, capable and a little vulnerable, too. 

Each character is well-written and jumps right off the page.  They are wacky, fun and a couple are pretty evil.  The story moved along at a fast pace.  All of this combined to make an exciting cozy mystery.

I’ve never been to New Orleans, but it’s on my list of places I’d love to visit.  This book really gave me a taste of it. The author transported me into the story and right to New Orleans.  She does make armchair traveling fun.

Although the mystery is contained in this book, there’s also a secondary storyline which carries through the series.  I think it’s so much fun to read from the start.  This is only the second book in the series, which makes it easy to catch up.  

I’m so looking forward to meeting up with Ricki and her zany friends again in the next book.  This book has landed on my favorites of 2023 list.

FTC Disclosure: I voluntarily reviewed a free Advance Reader Copy of this book from NetGalley and the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review.  All opinions expressed are my own.
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Dollycas's Thoughts

We are back in New Orleans and at Bon Vee Culinary House Museum where Ricki James-Diaz has her Miss Vee’s Vintage Cookbook and Kitchenware Shop, and it is hurricane season. Ricki gets nervous whenever the clouds get dark and rain moves in. These days she tries to keep busy with her shop hoping to be distracted by what is happening outside.

A fabulous distraction takes hold when several cases of old, valuable French wine are found on the premises.  Trying to use social media to attract more visitors to the museum Ricki reveals the discovery in a viral post. It does bring in more visitors but it also brings in long-lost relatives of the home's builder, Jean-Louis Charbonnet, all wanting to reap the rewards the wine will provide. It also attracts a murderer  . . . or was the murderer already there?

The police place the head of the Charbonnet family, Eugenia Charbonnet Felice at the top of the suspect list. She definitely is hiding something but Ricki knows she is no killer. Ricki pours herself into proving just that as storms rage and family secrets are revealed. Hold on tight, this could be a doozy.


The incredible quirky cast of characters from Bayou Book Thief is back with gusto. They continue to develop so well. They feel true to real life and at times they are delightfully funny. Ricki is a strong protagonist and a worthy amateur sleuth. In this story, she is given an intern who is fantastic. Olivia is Eugenia's granddaughter and a sophomore at Tulane. She is totally addicted to her phone and social media but she teaches Ricki a thing or two. She is only supposed to be there for a semester but I hope we see a lot more of her. The other new characters are the Charbonnet "cousins" that seem to have fallen out of the woodwork wearing their greed on their sleeves.  They are cleverly created to invoke the mood and emotions the author intended which was no surprise. Ms. Byron excels at character development.

The author takes her readers right to New Orleans, the Bon Vee Culinary House Museum, Miss Vee’s Vintage Cookbook and Kitchenware Shop, and more. From the weather to the grounds, to the street out front, and to each room we visit, her descriptive style is amazing. Vivid pictures formed in my mind. It was almost like watching a movie complete with sound. I have never been to New Orleans but after reading everything this author has written it is on the top of my bucket list of places I want to visit.

I know hurricanes make Ricki nervous but the author has plotted a great tornado twister of a story. The pace is fast and filled with twists and surprises that kept me guessing the entire way. She entwined the main plot with several subplots, and they all come together to what I only can deem as a perfect ending.

I loved every minute of Wined and Died in New Orleans. Surprises and excitement abound within these pages. I totally escaped right into this book.

I highly recommend both books in this series and for maximum enjoyment, they need to be read in order. I have given Wined and Died in New Orleans my highest rating, "A Trip to Paradise", the first of the year, and a spot on my Best Reads of 2023.

I am really looking forward to the next book in the Vintage Cookbook Mystery Series and my next virtual New Orleans vacation.
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Ricki James-Diaz runs Miss Vee’s Vintage Cookbook and Kitchenware Shop located in the Bon Vee Culinary House Museum. There was trouble there recently, and the staff is trying to move on, regain their balance, and stay safe during hurricane season. It’s Ricki’s first and she finds herself checking the weather app a lot.

A spectacular find underneath the house seems like the answer to prayers. Crates of a very old wine, historically important and still drinkable, were found and Ricki is happy to spread the word on social media to drum up more business.

Unfortunately, as with most good news, there’s always someone willing to jump at the chance to take advantage. Distant relatives are coming out of the woodwork and are as appealing as any rat would be. Ricki regrets her social media post but tongues will wag, and there’s no way it would have been a secret for long.

Someone will be willing to go to the extreme of killing to get their hands on more of the moola. A body brings the police and their suspicions that Eugenia Charbonnet Felice, family matriarch and head of the museum, has the most to gain by the death. Ricki is sure she’s innocent. After all, the woman is impeccably dressed for every occasion and would never resort to anything so crass. On the other hand, she has been acting kind of weird. It’s not going to be any easy puzzle to solve, even though there are plenty of suspects to choose from.

Ricki is starting to feel New Orleans is home. Except for the threat of hurricanes, she’s happy with her new friends, her job, and sharing two dogs with the hunky guy across the street. I hope in book three, readers will get to meet Ricki’s parents. Seen only on Zoom until now, they will add even more spice to the stories.

Speaking of spice, check out these vintage recipes at the back of the book: biscuit tortoni, curried chicken, barbeque frankfurters (or with ground turkey), beer hush puppies, and for dessert, brownies.
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Wined and Died in New Orleans is the second book in the Vintage Cookbook mystery series. Ricki James-Dias is happily managing her vintage cookbook/kitchenware shop in the Bon Vee Culinary House Museum when another murder takes place at the museum. After some very valuable old French wine is found on the premises, distant relatives of the house's builder start arriving to stake their claim. One of them, a particularly unpleasant claimant from France, is discovered murdered. With the head of the museum board, Eugenia Charbonnet, under suspicion, Ricki works to solve the mystery.

I wanted to read this novel because I enjoyed the first book in the series so much. I love vintage cookware and cookbooks, so that is a huge plus for me with this series.

Ricki is a fun amateur detective, quirky and smart and brave. I enjoyed watching her detecting process.  I like her friends, her romantic interest, and the pair of dogs she co-owns with her crush.

My favorite features of this series, though, are the food history and vintage cookbook details, and the New Orleans atmosphere. There are great descriptions like:

"They reached the carriage house and climbed the stairs to the second floor, where Ricki found the box waiting for her. She borrowed the office box cutter to slice open the top and extracted the tureen from its nest of protection. Sleek and crème-colored, decorated with a design of raised ceramic leaves painted in warm fall tones, the tureen was stunning. The women admired it. “This may the nicest item in your shop,” Cookie said. “It’s gorgeous.” 

“I know.” Ricki examined the tureen and matching ladle with a practiced eye. “And in perfect condition. The date on this is 1958. Tureens weren’t as popular by then, so it’s pretty rare, especially in this pattern. It’s called Autumn Days. The maker is Sunbaked, a ceramics company in California that went out of business in 1959. The person I bought this from didn’t know what they had.” (eBook position 556).

This is becoming one of my most anticipated cozy mystery series, and I already am looking forward to the next book in the series. I highly recommend Wined and Died in New Orleans (along with the first book, Bayou Book Thief) to fans of cozy mysteries, and especially for anyone who enjoys vintage cookbooks, food history, or New Orleans.  Lots of atmospheric fun here!
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I like the characters and reading about New Orleans always makes me want to go visit. They mystery was interesting and it kept me guessing.

Thank you to the author, publisher and NetGalley for my eARC in exchange for an honest review.
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It was wonderful to be back in New Orleans and at the Bon Vee Culinary House Museum, but especially at Miss Vee’s Vintage Cookbook and Kitchenware Shop, which is located on the premises and owned by Ricki, in Wined and Died in New Orleans by Ellen Byron.

We meet up with the characters we’ve met before, along with many new ones. Of course, there are murders, crimes, some shady characters, good food, and better wine which had me turning the pages to see what would happen next!

Ricki is an amateur sleuth who seems to stay one step ahead of the local police in helping to solve the crimes committed. The whodunnit wasn’t obvious to me, which is always a plus when reading a cozy mystery. 

There are so many twists and turns to the story, along with multiple storylines revealed. Some subplots are just as important as the main ones and really held my interest. I liked the friendships that crossed generations and how Olivia doing her internship with Ricki, really flourished and grew up as a result. The number of vintage cooking gadgets, cookbooks, foods, and wine just added another layer of fun to the story.

There’s some romance mixed in with the mystery. There are lovely and vivid descriptions of the neighborhood, the businesses, the homes, and even the unpredictable weather. The story even takes us to the panhandle of Florida to gather clues. 

I loved the cover, and the title of the book was playful and spot on. The recipes at the back of the book and some historical facts about the cookbooks they came from were a nice touch and tied into the story nicely. I can’t wait to see how Ms. Byron tops this book and continues the series.

Wined and Died in New Orleans is a cozy mystery with wonderful characters set in a picturesque location that had me looking forward to what unfolded next.
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Brought to you by OBS Reviewer Jeanie

This was a fast-paced, fun, and intriguing mystery! My lack of culinary know-how didn’t matter a bit; it is a delightful “foodie” and vintage recipe focused series. I enjoyed many of the characters; they were described with excellent word pictures and conversations. Reading about hurricane “season” was eye-opening as far as the length of the season.

Ricki was born in New Orleans and abandoned by her teen mother in the hospital. Her adoptive mother, Josepha, was a NICU nurse who had helped care for her. When Josepha married Luis, a man in the film industry, he adopted Ricki and they moved to California where she grew up. She has only been back in New Orleans for a few weeks and has made several friends. Her proposal to open her dream vintage cookbook and kitchen gadgets shop had been accepted at Bon Vee.

Vee Charbonnet had owned Bon Vee for many years and was a legendary restauranteur in New Orleans. Having had no children, she left the property to her beloved niece, Eugenia Charbonnet Felice. Eugenia, who is also Ricki’s mentor, turned the gorgeous old home into a house museum dedicated to culinary arts. Her cousins, Ralph and Hugo, own the historic Charbonnet’s restaurant, and her nephew, Theo, is the director of community relations of Bon Vee.

Eugenia’s granddaughter Olivia, a phone and social media obsessed college student, is an unpaid intern at Bon Vee for the semester. Eugenia asked Lyla, Ricki’s boss, and Ricki, to take Olivia under their wings in their respective areas and oversee her internship. Olivia would rather be anywhere except the museum and shops. Ricki needs to become social media savvy to increase sales for her walk-in and online shop. While Olivia learned about the shops, she showed Ricki how to make attention-getting posts.

A staff member found ten long-hidden cases of an 1853 Madeira wine that was still sealed with the original wax! Badly in need of cash for the house museum and Charbonnet’s Restaurant, a master sommelier/ auctioneer was found who knew he could easily start bids at $1,000 per bottle. Ricki used her new skills to post the find with news of the upcoming auction. The first Charbonnet cousin, Jean-Louis, came from France after seeing her post. He was the descendant of the man who had hidden it over 170 years ago, returned to France, and never returned. Jean-Louis came to get his share of the proceeds.

Two more cousins arrived, both of whom had questionable pasts. Within days, Jean-Louis is found dead after filing a lawsuit against Eugenia to get his portion of the wine and the entire property. Ricki has already helped solve a murder and hopes to help find another before her mentor is taken away in handcuffs. Then a major clue is found that may seal Eugenia’s fate.

I felt I knew Ricki and several of her co-workers within a short time. I was introduced to and quickly invited to join the gang for anything from lunch, to preparing for the auction, then a road trip to some of the worst dive bars in Florida. Ricki is one of the most “normal” people, along with Eugenia and Virgil. I liked them and Zellah and grew to really like Olivia. Iris, continually popping out of bushes, was quite the card, and the cousins who arrived for anything they could get – it wouldn’t hurt my feelings if they went to prison, but not killed.

Plot twists escalated the pace of the story even as Ricki continued to seek clues. The laugh-out-loud humor calmed more than one tense scene, and friendships among Ricki and the Bon Vee crew were wonderful to see. Doors of understanding were opened about how justice is different for different people. It was enlightening to see how many businesses are currently operating on a shoestring, especially from the pandemic and past hurricanes. It was heartwarming to see the staff working together to find the real killer, and how family is more than those we are related to by blood. I was somewhat surprised at the real killer, very pleased with the ending, and I highly recommend it!
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The Second Vintage Cookbook Mystery

Hurricane warnings have Ricki James-Diaz flustered even more than the low sales at Miss Vee’s Vintage Cookbook and Kitchenware Shop that she runs at the Bon Vee Culinary House Museum. The exciting discovery of wine hidden under the mansion since the mid 1800s could solve the historic home's financial woes. Facing her fear of social media, Ricki posts about the find, hoping to lure prospective buyers for the auction. Instead she lures shady Charbonnet relatives, all looking to cash in. When the head interloper in murdered on the property with vintage kitchenware from Ricki's shop police aim their sights at the New Orleans Charbonnet clan. In order to prove Eugenia's innocence Ricki will have to look into the Charbonnet family history and the financial problems that may have created a killer.  

The weather isn't the only thing that's stormy in the second Vintage Cookbook mystery when family and romantic relationships collide with murder! The mystery was clever with several motives, sketchy characters, and lots of avenues to explore. I like how Ricki's relationship with NOLA PD is improving, indeed how a friendship is forming. I'm also pleased with the different romantic relationships slowly evolving.

WINED AND DIED IN NEW ORLEANS rocks. Seedy relatives arriving like leeches, an annoying Gen Z who turns invaluable, and an assistant with a black heart all assail Bon Vee and add plenty of drama and fun. The characters are really coming into their own in this second outing. They're more vibrant and less flighty. I'm still not a fan of Cookie, but I don't dislike her as much, and I enjoy seeing the other friendships grow. Clarissa was a good addition, making trouble for Ricki and being a good villain. Ricki showed more restraint for dealing with her that I would have!

WINED AND DIED IN NEW ORLEANS is a fast paced New Orleans adventure with troubled families, rare wine, and devious behavior all mixing under the threat of a hurricane.
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3.75 Stars

When crates of 19th century French wine are discovered under the Bon Vee Museum, long lost Chardonnet cousins make an unwelcomed visit to New Orleans to stake their claim to the profits. Did greed lead to murder?


• An unexpected culprit.
• Intriguing family secrets!
• New Orleans atmosphere makes a fabulous backdrop for a cozy mystery.
• Many mentions of vintage cookbooks, cookware, and curious recipes, like gelatin and aspic molds.

WINED AND DIED IN NEW ORLEANS is a solid mystery, though Ricki's main goal was cooking up other suspects for the police to focus on instead of her boss, Eugenia. By not reading the first book, I felt like I was missing some backstory details, but not so much that I was lost. There were quite a few viable suspects, and in the end the killer was someone I had not considered. A large, diverse cast of characters and plenty of humor made this a delightful cozy mystery.
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4.5 stars 

Wined and Died in New Orleans is a delightful follow-up to Ellen Byron’s first book in the Vintage Cookbook Mysteries – Bayou Book Thief. Like its predecessor, this book too is full of vibrant, diverse characters (including the city of New Orleans itself) and a layered mystery that had me thoroughly engaged from beginning to end.

Ricki remains a wonderful protagonist, and I keep rooting for her to succeed professionally and personally (hello, swoony chef neighbor). Her new ‘assistant’ Olivia and their interactions (particularly related to social media) provided plenty of opportunity for humor but also a lot of heart. I really enjoyed this addition to the supporting cast around Bon Vee, especially as their closer connection is revealed. Hold on to your hats, though, because a bevy of impossible-to-like distant branches of the Charbonnet line come out of the woodwork after a rare wine find means potentially mega bucks for the family coffers. These tertiary characters have very few, if any, redeeming qualities (they’re not supposed to) but they do provide some extra comic relief as well as additional tension related to the mystery plot – it certainly wouldn’t have been the same without them.

I really enjoyed book one in this series, and there were a couple of subplots that I was eager to see developed further in the next offering. Wined and Died in New Orleans gave me exactly what I was hoping for with regards to those subplots and even teased some more development for them in book 3. I love story arcs that continue across a series, and Ricki’s discoveries/mysteries about her biological family as well as her brewing romance with hottie Virgil keep me solidly invested in the series, apart from the enjoyable characters and solid plots which also keep me coming back for more. I also love her relationship (part antagonist, part friendship) with Detective Nina, and this sentence from Ricki to Nina made me laugh out loud:

“You’re about to get a new suspect, along with a lack of specific proof and a heavy dose of my imagination.”

haha! Isn’t that true of every good cozy amateur sleuth? And that’s why we love them, right?

Bottom Line: Wined and Died in New Orleans by Ellen Byron is a fun way to spend a few hours, wrapped up in the stormy Louisiana setting and a house museum full of endearing characters. Readers will love Ricki from her personality to her vintage cookbooks & accessories, her dogs, and her nearly Luddite approach to social media, not to mention her dogged pursuit of the culprit – or culprits – behind the variety of crimes going on in her purview. The mystery is expertly crafted and full of surprises, so settle in for another great read!

(I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy of this book)
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Everything is not as it seems; there are multiple surprise reveals that will keep you glued to the pages.

Having family from south Louisiana, I always love a book with that setting. This is the second in this series set in New Orleans and features a family that some might consider nobility in certain circles of N'awlins.

In the second installment of this series, cases of rare wine are discovered under Bon Vee, which sets off an influx of "family" that state that they have a claim on the proceeds. Greed has a way of bringing out the worst in people, especially family members. These characters keep Rickie, Eugenia, and the rest of the gang on their toes while they sort through the details.

I loved the book from start to finish. I find Rickie's shop to be quite intriguing. I love to cook and have many cooking gadgets myself, but nothing antique, but I do love roaming through cooking stores and imagine that I could spend hours rummaging through Miss Vee's store.

A new family addition is Olivia. She is Eugenia's granddaughter and something of a typical Gen Z., but that also brings about a multitude of talents that Rickie can use, from posting tips to videos and images. While Olivia might seem a bit surly at times, I grew to love her character and hope we see her more in the future.

I had to chuckle at Carissa, who has the hots for Virgil (but I'm pretty sure he likes Rickie), and her antics. Never come between two people and their dogs! It will never end well for you.

I will not reveal any spoilers, but this is becoming a new favorite from this author. I can't wait to see what happens in the next installment.

We give this book 5 paws up!
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Being from New Orleans, I have to say I love the setting.  The story line in this one was very compelling as I always enjoy mysteries within mysteries.  The character development is strong.  I love the personalities of the cast and the new members introduced.  

Ellen does a fantastic job capturing the vibe of both the city and the people.  I had to laugh a bit.  Some not familiar with hurricanes and hurricane season may not have understood the significance of the named storms.  If the storm names are at the end of the alphabet, it's been a rough year for sure (which actually happened when we went in the Greek alphabet a few years ago)..  Ricki putting masking tape on the windows was a blast from the past.  My entire childhood, I had no idea what else it was used for, I kind of still don't lol.

Such a great book and series and I cannot wait to continue the journey.
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3.5 Stars

Ricki James-Diaz recently moved back to her hometown of New Orleans after spending several years in Los Angeles. She loves her job running the vintage cookbook and kitchenware gift shop within a historic home and museum. Ricki is getting used to dealing with hurricane warnings and up-and-down sales but still enjoys her job and spending time with her new friends. She and the other employees of MIss Vee’s museum are excited by the discovery of valuable 150-year-old wine discovered in a crawl space of the home, but the added publicity brings long-lost relatives of the family who owns the museum out of the woodwork, as well as a murderer.

This book is the second in the Vintage Cookbook Mystery series. I fell in love with the premise and the setting of this series after reading the first book. I had mixed feelings about the main character, Rikki, who is sometimes wise beyond her years and sometimes very immature, and I felt this way again in this book. This second book works fine as a standalone since plenty of background information is given, but I didn’t enjoy it as much as the first. The setting is still wonderful and the information about vintage cookbooks and gadgets is just as interesting, but unfortunately isn’t as big of a part in this book. Rikki is more likable this time around, but still acts immature much of the time, ironically usually when she’s trying to impress the much older man she is attracted to.

The returning side characters from the first book, who are friends and colleagues of Ricki, are easy to like. However, the plot of this book, which calls into question the inheritance of the museum’s namesake and original owner of the home, Miss Vee, brings in several new characters. They all say they are relatives and make various claims upon the estate. Even with the list of characters at the beginning of the book, I had a hard time keeping everyone straight. One of the new characters that did make an impression on me is Olivia, the college student who is interning at the museum. She and Ricki work well together and I hope they team up again in future books. The moments of humor throughout the story helps to elevate the book. The murder investigation gets complicated, and Ricki needlessly puts herself in danger to try to solve the case. However, the book ends dramatically but positively, and I am curious to know what happens next in Ricki’s life.

~ Christine
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