I Read/I Wrote: Ellen Byron

In the I Read/I Wrote series, authors introduce a book they loved–in the genre in which they write–and share one of their own books.


GENRE: Cozy mystery

I READ: Sleeping Murder by Agatha Christie

I think I’ve read everything Agatha Christie ever wrote, but my favorite Christie mystery is Sleeping Murder, probably because the catalyst to the action is a quote from The Duchess of Malfi, a super-dark Jacobean drama that I love.

In Sleeping Murder, Gwendolyn, a young newlywed, buys a house on the south coast of England. She does some remodeling and has a very specific vision for the nursery wallpaper. When workmen open a long-sealed wall, she sees the exact wallpaper she envisioned. Then they discover that there used to be a door in a place where she wants to put a doorway between two rooms. Weird! Gwen goes to London for a visit with relatives, including the indomitable Christie sleuth, Miss Jane Marple. They attend a production of  The Duchess of Malfi, and when Gwendolyn hears the line “Cover her face; mine eyes dazzle; she died young,” she screams and faints; she saw an image of herself viewing a man saying those words as he strangled a blonde-haired woman named Helen.

Is Gwen losing her mind? Is there paranormal activity? Or is the house familiar for a reason? I’m not telling. You’ll have to read this masterful mystery to find out.

I WROTE: Plantation Shudders

Plantation Shudders is the first book in my Cajun Country Mystery series. I transferred to Tulane University in the middle of my sophomore year and fell in love with south Louisiana. I’m also a big architecture buff and fascinated by the old plantation homes in the area. Those obsessions came together to inspire the series.

In Plantation Shudders, Magnolia Marie “Maggie” Crozat, a feisty artist in her early thirties, leaves New York and moves back to her hometown, eccentric Pelican, Louisiana (town motto: “Yes, We Peli-Can!”), to work at her family’s historic plantation-turned-B&B.  The business is in peril after an obnoxious eightysomething couple staying at the B&B on their honeymoon – yes, their honeymoon – mysteriously drops dead within minutes of each other.  Rufus Durand, the lazy Pelican Chief of Police, carries a longstanding grudge against the Crozats, so he’s no help in the investigation.  And she can’t trust the sexy new detective in town, Bo Durand, because he happens to be Rufus’s cousin. So Maggie Crozat is forced to become an amateur sleuth, aided by her accordion-playing best friend Gaynell, her cross-dressing pal JJ, and her cocktail-loving Grandmere. Laissez les bon temps rouler!


Ellen Byron authors the Cajun Country Mystery series. A Cajun Christmas Killing and Body on the Bayou both won the Lefty Award for Best Humorous Mystery and were nominated for Agatha awards in the category of Best Contemporary Novel. Plantation Shudders, was nominated for Agatha, Lefty, and Daphne awards. Mardi Gras Murder is available for presale. Ellen’s TV credits include Wings, Just Shoot Me, and Fairly OddParents. She’s written over 200 national magazine articles, and her published plays include the award-winning Graceland. Ellen is a proud founding blogger of Chicksonthe case.com. She also worked as a cater-waiter for the legendary Martha Stewart, a credit she never tires of sharing. For more information, please visit www.ellenbyron.com.

7 thoughts on “I Read/I Wrote: Ellen Byron”

  1. Thanks so much, Ellen. Such a wonderful Agatha Christie story. Your description gave me a flashback to grad school: The Duchess of Malfi was one of several revenge tragedies on my comprehensive exam list, and I still remember feverishly reviewing my index cards beforehand, trying to keep straight how each character died in each play…oh, the body counts!

    And I love your series: Maggie is a great protagonist. Really looking forward to Mardi Gras Murder.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Loved hearing about both books, Ellen (I’m already a fan of Plantation Shudders!) I don’t think I’ve read this Christie book — it sounds so compelling, I’m sure I would have remembered it!

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Let the good times roll, indeed! I have not read that particular Agatha Christie Mystery, but it sounds like my next read will be Plantation Shudders, (as soon as this semester is over!) I have been to Lafayette and Monroe and I can feel the humidity and see the draping Spanish Moss now. Thanks for sharing this Ms. Byron. Humor and dead bodies. Does it get any better? Oh, yeah, the sexy new detective in town…..

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Interesting to see you’ve had such a wide variety of works as a writer, from Murder Mysteries to the Fairly Odd Parents. I hope I find myself having such a degree of experience with writing someday.

    Liked by 2 people

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