FATAL CAJUN FESTIVAL, the fifth book in the Cajun Country Mysteries by Ellen Byron, is another entertaining addition to an award-winning series! The reader is treated to a music festival, Cajun-style, in Pelican, Louisiana. Ms. Byron is effective at writing highly visual scenes that tantalized my senses as I turned the pages. The sounds of the zydeco bands, the tastes of the Cajun food served at the festival booths, the sights of the bayou and plantation homes, and the sticky feel of humidity in the hot months of summer were brought to life. The protagonist, Maggie Crozat, and her family own the Crozat Plantation turned bed and breakfast. Local girl turned famous and her backup band have taken over the Crozat’s B & B while in town to perform. The Pelican native, Tammy Barker, seems to have let fame go to her head, yet she can’t let go her grudge against a high school mate, one of Maggie’s close friends. This ramps the drama up and provides a subplot that weaves together with the mystery.
Despite the angst going on in the story, the author manages to create humorous scenes to lighten the mood involving Maggie’s family. I especially loved Maggie’s feisty grand-mère, who just so happens to be the instigator of the festival and has been known to quote, “It’s Louisiana chère. When do we not celebrate?” I appreciate that Ms. Byron has created a close-knit, supportive family for the protagonist, with both her parents and grand-mère, and captures the vernacular of the characters. And of course I can’t pass up mention of Maggie’s fiancé, Bo, Pelican’s handsome detective. It was refreshing to see that Bo respects Maggie’s intelligence and actually asks for her input, realizing she has access to information that people won’t share with him.
I’ll have to admit I thought I knew who the victim was going to be, but Ms. Byron threw in a twist that kept me on my toes the rest of the book. Not only was I uncertain if the victim was the intended target, but who were viable suspects. The twists and turns kept me glued to the pages to see how the author would fit the puzzle pieces together in a convincing mystery. And fit them together she did, with an unforeseen curveball that left me thinking about the story long after it was over.
Maggie’s mother creates quite a few delectable dishes to serve at the family’s B & B, plus Maggie herself is in charge of creating the pralines to serve at the family’s booth at the festival. So many mentions of yummy regional food had my mouth watering. Luckily for the reader, Ms. Byron includes several recipes at the back of the book, including one laugh out loud mention of her attempts at making Sweet Potato Pralines. (I’ll admit, I am intrigued by the elusive confection!) I was drawn to the Rum Raisin Cake with Rum Buttercream for a couple of reasons. I love any recipe that starts with a cake mix because I know it’ll be an easy, no-fail recipe. And second? Well, rum… lots of rum! This deliciously light cake is a yummy treat that will impress dessert lovers!
Louisiana B&B owner Maggie Crozat kicks up her heels at a country music festival–but she’ll have one foot in the grave if she can’t bring the killer of a diva’s hanger-on to heel.
Grab your tickets for Cajun Country Live!, the pickers’ and crooners’ answer to the legendary New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival. Maggie Crozat, proprietor of the Crozat Plantation B&B, plans to be in the cheering section when her friend Gaynell Bourgeois takes the stage with her band, Gaynell and the Gator Girls.
The festival’s headliner, native daughter Tammy Barker, rocketed to stardom on a TV singing competition. She has the voice of an angel…and the personality of a devilish diva. But Maggie learns that this tiny terror carries a grudge against Gaynell. She’s already sabotaged the Gator Girls’ JazzFest audition. When a member of Tammy’s entourage is murdered at the festival, Tammy makes sure Gaynell is number one on the suspect list.
Gaynell has plenty of company on that list–including every one of Tammy’s musicians. Posing as a groupie, Maggie infiltrates Tammy’s band and will have to hit all the right notes to clear her friend’s name.
A special thanks to Ellen Byron for providing one winner with a hardcover copy of FATAL CAJUN FESTIVAL. Contest ends Wednesday, September 18, 2019 at 11:59 pm PST and is limited to U.S. residents. Please use the Rafflecopter box located below to enter. The winner will be announced on this page and on Cinnamon & Sugar’s Facebook page, as well as notified by email (so check your spam folder!)
- 1 cup golden raisins
- 1 cup rum
- 1 box white cake mix
- 1/4 cup water
- 3 egg whites
- 1 cup softened butter
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 3 tablespoons rum
- 1/8 teaspoon salt
- 1 - 3 tablespoons milk (or use rum, if you like your frosting boozier)
- 4 cups confectioners' sugar
Soak the golden raisins in rum for thirty minutes to an hour.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees (F).
In a mixer on low speed, blend together the cake mix, water, and eggs. Turn off the mixer and add the rum and raisins. Set the mixer to medium and blend all the ingredients for 2 minutes.
Pour the batter into 2 greased 8-inch cake pans.
Bake for 20 - 30 minutes, making sure to check at 20 minutes because the layers cook faster with liquor substituted for water as the batter liquid. If you insert a toothpick into the middle, it should come out clean. Do not overbake! The cake will dry out.
Cool cakes in pans for 5 minutes then turn out onto a wire rack.
Let the cake layers cool before frosting.
Cream the butter with the vanilla, rum, salt, and 1 tablespoon of milk.
Slowly add the confectioners' sugar, blending it well with the other ingredients. If you need to thin the frosting, add another tablespoon or two of milk - or rum. Add additional confectioners' sugar if frosting needs thickened.
To assemble the cake, slice a thin layer off one of the cake layers so that it will be level on the bottom, then invert the cake layer onto a plate so that the flat side - the bottom - is facing up. (Feel free to eat the thin slice!) Frost this layer.
To add the second layer, invert it onto a plate, then place it on the frosted layer with the flat side down. (This is how you get a professional-looking cake - placing flat side to flat side, that is, bottom of the layer to bottom of the layer. Frost the rest of the cake.
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I was provided an advance copy. All thoughts and opinions are my own.
Never attended a music festival.
Hope you get to go someday!
I’ve never been to a music festival.
I have been to concerts, but never to a music festival. I hope I can remedy that!
My mom and I just went to the Fort Worth Symphony Music Festival earlier this month. It was great. ??????
I’ve been to concerts but I have never attended a music festival, maybe some day. The cake sounds amazing, I will have to make it some day. Thanks for this amazing chance.
We have attended a couple country music festivals. Loved them
I make rum cakes during the holidays but not with raisins.
I have not been to a music festival, but I think a blues or folk one would be fun.
I’ve never been to a music festival, but have gone to many festivals where there’s music. It’s a Louisiana thing!
I’ve been to a very small jazz and rib fest in our nearby town’s downtown. Hubby and daughter were there for the ribs and we didn’t actually stay around. I’d probably enjoy country music and something besides ribs more.
I was on an exchange trip to Germany in high school and the town we stopped in for the night happened to have a music festival going on. Really cool experience.
Never been to a music festival.
I never have but I went to many rock concerts ! Loved this review sounds very good. I always wanted to go there
I never have been to one but it sounds like fun.
I have been to a few music festivals. Thank you for the chance.
I’ve been to some music festivals, but not enough!
Back in the day, I attended several music festivals…not so much anymore.
Back in the day, I attended several music festivals…now not so much.
I’m excited for this book!! The recipe sounds yummy..Yes I’ve attended many music festivals, years past and now! Love them, tons of fun!
Sorry but your question got me to chuckling. We live in the Folk Music Capital. There is music just about on every corner in town at any given moment. We actually have a pickin’ park. There are concerts on the courthouse square on weekends and special events. Our town is home to the spring and fall Bluegrass Festival, Grandpa Jones Banjo weekend on Labor Day weekend as well as concerts every Thursday, Friday and Saturday at the Ozark Folk Center as well as numerous concerts at other venues throughout the town.
We have been coming here on vacation for years. Three years ago we said now or never and sold out picking up and moving to our dream destination. We love it!
Can’t wait for the opportunity to read “FATAL CAJUN FESTIVAL”!
The recipe for Ninette’s Rum Raisin Cake with Rum Frosting sounds very similar to one my Mom use to make. I will be trying it to see if the memories of how delicious it was are still true to heart.
I used to attend music festivals when I was younger but haven’t in a while.
I have not attended a music festival before.
I wanted to attended music festival. But we couldn’t get the tickets . I wanted to see Sawyer Brown. Thank you for a chance to win a hardcover copy of Fatal Cajun Festivities.
my mom passed away in 1999 and I still remember how overjoyed she was every time I took her to a Country music Festival. She sang along and even danced with some of the performers as we always got first row seats! God Bless her wonderful disposition and her willingness to enjoy herself even at 81 and in poor health! ???❤️??
I’ve been to several music festivals—country and bluegrass.
I’ve never been to a music festival.
I haven’t been to a music festival yet. The cake sounds delicious. I can’t wait to read your newest book!
I have attended a few music festivals.
I’ve been to a couple of music festivals in Chicago.
Kim, this is fantastic!! The video is amazing!! I’m going to share it in my next newsletter, if that’s okay with you.
Thanks so much, Ellen! I’m always delighted to host you on the blog and of course, please feel free to share the video, recipe, and photos whenever and wherever you wish!
I used to attend them when I was younger.
I’ve been to a few festivals but none were centered solely on music. I live vicariously through your books! I’m so excited that this one is out! I’ve missed Maggie and her family!
I’ve never attended a music festival but would love to. I love music!
They have a good one in my state but I don’t always get a chance to go.
i don’t attend music festivals.
Yes! I was a clarinet playing high school band geek!
Yummy ! I love rum raisin cake. I went to an outdoor country music festival years ago – had a great time. Thanks for the recipe and the contest. trwilliams69(at)msn(dot)dom
It’s been a very long time! Thanks for the chance to win!
I have never attended a music festival but would like to.
I have not. A couple art festivals when I was young.
I have been to a few music festivals.
I haven’t been able to comment on everyone’s comments but I’ve read them all and love them. Good luck, everyone!
I have never been to a music festival. I would love to read Ellen’s book! Thanks for the chance!
That is one of the things I really miss not living in Louisiana’s Cajun Country – music and food festivals that are year round! We have music festivals here in Texas but it ain’t the same. They don’t play the good Cajun sounds. It is more Tex-Mex music or new country rock. And nobody knows how to make Cajun Gumbo! 😉
I have not attended a music festival
Tons of concerts, but never a festival.
I haven’t attended any music festivals.
I have during college.
Yes, we have the W.C.Handy Festival here which last a week and has thousands of people from all over with events everywhere in the area..It is a lot of fun and I go every year…
Yes I have but it was a long time ago!
I’ve been to concerts but not music festivals.
I have not been to any music festivals.
I have not attended a music festival but I would like to.
Oh yes…lots of them all through my life. Don’t go now because it’s just too hard to stand there for so long. They were fun and really cool!
I have attended music festivals. And years ago, I participated in them.
I have attended quite a few music festivals. I love the outdoor music festivals at Manassas Virginia every year. It’s called Bull Run and it’s awesome. Thanks for the chance
My daughter and I have gone to some local ones in the past but any large multi-day metal festivals are too far away to go to.
I have not attended a music festival, but have attended many festivals that had music performed by different bands. I have always wanted to attend a music festival. My fiance got to go to Woodstock. I love hearing his stories about that.