Killer Tied (Eve Appel Mystery)
by Lesley A. Diehl
I am so happy that Lesley Diehl is here today for a visit!
Changes in a Cozy Series Character
by Lesley A. Diehl
People often say they don’t like change. Change requires adjustment, and that’s often difficult. On the other hand, sameness in our lives is unexciting. Changes such as marriage, birth of a child, promotion in a job, graduation from high school or college, a vacation, even purchasing the home of our dreams are usually viewed as bringing happiness or joy, but they also involve alterations to our lives. On the surface getting married would appear to be an almost totally happy experience yet it is accompanied by other, less positive issues such as who pays for the wedding, how much, who is invited, will there be a honeymoon, who has the final say in choosing the bridal gown? Those are just a few, yet humans perceive this day as a to be yearned for milestone in life. Any change alters what has gone before. It modifies our lives, and the accumulation of changes makes us into people we weren’t before we began adulthood. Yet change is what we see as the trajectory of living. As much as we would like to avoid negative events and what they demand of us, we must admit that life would be oh so boring without the reworking and revision we engage in to accomplish what we want or what is demanded of us.
Readers expect development and change in a series character. Rarely do we encounter a protagonist who remains unaltered throughout the series. There are exceptions. We like the Jack Reacher character in Lee Child’s books just as he is when we first meet him. We do not expect nor want him to marry, settle down, get a day job or open a charge account. Reacher, however, is an iconic character in his changelessness. It is what defines him and what attracts him to us.
In cozy mysteries, life changes in the main character are expected. The protagonist arrives in the first book with issues that need to be resolved not only for the reader, but these issues are part of what drives the character as she strives to find her true love, deal with her teenage daughter’s crush on the bad boy in school or exit an unhappy relationship. She may find her husband is cheating, her business may encounter financial problems, or her mother dies suddenly. Cozy mystery writers like to throw many roadblocks in her way as she struggles to live her life. Then, of course, the writer also tosses in a murder for her to solve. The murder is probably the only unique problem the protagonist confronts. All the others are common to many readers’ lives and are the stuff that defines who the protagonist is and the reasons why the reader comes to both like and identify with her.
Protagonists in a cozy mystery series take careful development. Not only does the reader expect resolution of the issues presented to the protagonist in an individual book, but the writer must leave something or somethings unresolved to arise in the next book. The murder will be solved, and the love affair might look as if there will be wedding bells, but as to the latter, does the writer want to begin the second book with marriage or should the protagonist be reluctant to marry? Perhaps book 2 might introduce another love interest? There are a variety of issues both internal to the protagonist and external to her life which can be proposed, resolved or left to the next book. Many of the internal roadblocks to change arise from fears or yearnings within the character and may define the evolution of the character through the series.
In the case of Eve Appel, protagonist in the
Eve Appel mysteries, it appears she has found the love of her life, and her husband’s father, after a long absence, has returned to the family. Great, but I decided to create an in-law problem with a twist when he is accused of murdering the man who might be the father of Eve’s half-sister. Even though Eve’s father-in-law doesn’t like her, and she finds him annoying, her husband’s family hires her as the PI to find out the truth about the murder. There’s trouble in Eve’s own family when she has reason to believe her grandmother has lied to her about her parents’ deaths. I also decided to take Eve back to the Northeast to confront issues which she believes were resolved when she was a child.
One enduring issue for Eve, the one she struggles within each book, is her impulsivity. It is one she now is aware of and works to overcome. Less obvious and subtler is that of distrust arising from Eve’s childhood and loss of her parents. Book 6 Killer Tied reveals this concern to be one Eve must acknowledge and come to grips with as it affects her and the people closest to her.
Killer Tied represents a turning point in Eve’s life from the youthful and adventurous Eve to a woman more mature yet still the old sassy gal she has always been. I want to be careful I don’t violate Eve’s true nature; the person readers want to remain constant. Readers will find the Eve they love, but they will see her as more nuanced and complex than before. Eve takes changes in her life in stride. How could she not? She’s taken on alligators, a Cape buffalo and a whole host of baddies. Eve is growing, and the changes in her make her even more intriguing to the cozy mystery reader.
Than you Lesley for visiting today!
Now let me tell you about Killer Tied.
About the Book
Killer Tied (Eve Appel Mystery)
6th in Series
Camel Press (March 15, 2018)
Paperback: 264 pages
Digital ASIN: B0789824WQ
Eve Appel Egret is adjusting to married life with Sammy and their three adopted sons in Sabal Bay, Florida. While still running her consignment stores, she is going pro with her sleuthing by becoming an apprentice to a private detective.
Until her marriage, Eve’s only “family” was her grandmother Grandy, who raised her after her parents died in a boating accident. Now, in addition to her husband and sons, she has a father-in-law who clearly dislikes her. Sammy’s father, a full-blooded Miccosukee Indian long presumed dead, has emerged from the swamps where he’s been living like a hermit, and he isn’t happy about Eve’s marriage to his half-Miccosukee, half-white son.
As for Eve’s family, are her parents really dead? A woman named Eleanor claims to be Eve’s half-sister, born after her mother faked a boating accident to escape her abusive husband, Eve’s father. Then Eleanor’s father turns up dead in the swamps, stabbed by a Bowie knife belonging to Sammy’s father, Lionel. Strange as Lionel Egret is, Eve knows he had no motive to kill this stranger. In order to clear him, Eve must investigate Eleanor’s claims, and she might not like what digging around in her family’s past uncovers.
About the Author
Lesley is a country gal through and through, from her childhood on a dairy farm in Illinois to college in a cornfield in Iowa, Lesley creates sassy, snoopy protagonists who embrace chasing killers in country settings. Lesley writes several series: the Big Lake Murder mysteries and the Eve Appel mysteries both set in rural Florida; the Laura Murphy mysteries located on a lake in upstate New York; and short stories, some featuring a few of Lesley’s unique relatives from back on the farm (Aunt Nozzie and the Grandmothers). She is inspired by an odd set of literary muses: a ghost named Fred and a coyote as yet unnamed. Killer Tied is the sixth mystery in the Eve Appel Mysteries. To read more about Lesley’s unusual and humorous cozy mysteries, go to www.lesleyadiehl.com.
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