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Murder Etouffee Stories Recipes and Lagniappe Eric Wilder Virtualbookworm by laurenb

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									Murder Etouffee: Stories, Recipes, and Lagniappe
Eric Wilder
Virtualbookworm.com Publishing, College Station, TX, $20.95 USD, hardcover (176p)
ISBN: 1-58939-860-2

Etouffee, a spicy Cajun stew, owes its unique taste to the combination and interaction of
its ingredients, much like the “rich mixture of vastly divergent cultures” that coalesce to
form the legendary atmosphere of New Orleans. Eric Wilder’s novel of life in pre-Rita
New Orleans is much like a simmering pot of this Cajun delight. An collection of short
stories, regional recipes, historical facts, personal recollections, and traditional vignettes,
Murder Etouffee: Stories, Recipes, and Lagniappe enriches readers with a “taste of New
Orleans . . . and a little extra.”

Many of the short stories follow Wyatt Thomas, a former trial attorney and investigator,
as he is occupied in his pursuit of “fixing things for people.” From the tourist-laden
French Quarter, where the affluent bask in the prestige and revelry of its Mardi Gras
Krewes, famous restaurants, and political corruption, to the rural Bayou homes where
simple lives strengthened by familial ties reign supreme, readers follow Wyatt through
the hot and spicy world of seafood, pink lemonade, and Dixie beer as he seeks answers
for his eclectic clientele.

Other short stories offer “slices of life” that are essential ingredients of the region’s
mystique. Exploring the darker side of New Orlean’s culture, Wilder introduces us to
Mambo Aghnee and Mama Mulate, two voodoo priestesses whose spiritual practices are
as differing as their intentions, and Johnny T. Sampson, a desperate man on the brink of
self-destruction who finds temporary relief in the kindness of a friend. On the lighter side,
Wilder gives us the Picou family, raised on the bayou and sustained by the oysters,
crawdads, and catfish they so diligently harvest, whose lives are enriched through the
family traditions that define them.

The short stories themselves offer vivid, insightful glimpses into the diversity of life in
New Orleans. Before each story is a Lagniappe, what Wilder calls the “something extra,”
that serves to familiarize the reader with New Orleans culture by providing short lessons
in Cajun tradition and local lore. The addition of regional recipes further enhances this
literary/culinary work of art, leaving the reader with not only a greater understanding and
appreciation for the unique culture that can only be found in Cajun Country, but also with
a satisfying feeling of belonging. Anyone indulging in this deliciously irresistible book
will be left with a hunger to not only see this great area rebuilt to the thriving community
it once was before the devastation of its flooding, but to also experience life in the Big
Easy firsthand.




                                                                         BookWire Review
                                                                            July 1, 2006

								
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