Murder in the Family (An Eve Appel Mystery)
by Lesley A Diehl
It is my pleasure to welcome Lesley Diehl to Escape With Dollycas today!
Tell us a little bit about yourself.
I grew up in the country on a dairy farm in Illinois. As far as I’m concerned it was the best place to be as a child, exploring the fields and the woods, being with our animals and developing a love of the smell and look of rural life. So of course all my protagonists are country gals because they also grew up in the country or have adopted the rural life. Although I no longer live on a farm, I have not strayed far from my country roots. The settings for all my work whether full length novels or short stories are in small communities. Right now, as I look out my office window in my small cottage, I am watching a mother robin raise her brood of three. That sight makes me happy and inspires me in my writing. Nothing dark for me, only humorous cozies.
What are three things most people don’t know about you?
I got my undergraduate degree in a small college in Iowa, as I like to tell people, “it was in the middle of a corn field.”
I love to shop; whether in a thrift shop, department store or now online, I’m crazy about clothes and household furnishings. I also love shoes.
Not only do I talk to my cat, but I also talk for him. I’ve always done this with all my cats and have had some of the most intelligent conversations this way.
What is the first book you remember reading?
Here’s an odd one. Next to Nancy Drew and the Dana girls, I read Darwin’s Origin of Species. It was a second edition I found on my grandfather’s bookshelf.
What are you reading now?
I’m into the Country Club Murders, Book 7, Shadow Dancing by Julie Mulhern. It is set in the 1970s, the same period of my Aunt Nozzie and the Grandmothers works. It’s a favorite decade of mine.
I love that series!
What books have most inspired you?
I love Lori King’s books about Sherlock Holmes and Mary Holmes. I read all of them during the past year. It was my way of traveling in another time and around the world while isolated during the pandemic. They are so carefully researched and so beautifully written. It’s a joy to see how she had created another side to Holmes with her introduction of Mary into his life.
What made you decide you wanted to write mysteries?
As you can guess, I began to read mysteries at a young age, first Nancy Drew and then Agatha Christie and then any mystery I found in our small town’s library. I was intrigued by the puzzle these books presented and by the main characters. These were the neighbors one might find in a small town like the one I lived in. I always suspected my real neighbors had hidden lives, ones I’d never know about unless I made them up. Behind the most mundane were secrets waiting to be revealed, and I wanted to expose them. I loved words; I loved to be able to use them to describe the world. Why not use words to write about hidden lives?
Do you have a special place where you like to write?
When I’m in my cottage on the trout stream, I write in my office near the window and get a view of birds in the yard as well as an occasional woodchuck wandering by, a few chipmunks, rabbits, and the daylilies and lilacs in bloom.
Where do the ideas for your books come from?
Plots just seem to pop into my head sometimes inspired by observations of the world. For example, an alligator hiding under a neighbor’s car in Florida inspired me to write a short story in which a very nasty man got his up and comings when an alligator grabbed his arm.
But characters? Lately, I’ve found that people from my past especially my quirky relatives have found their way into my work.
Is there anything about writing you find most challenging?
Sometimes I have a beautiful plot and then some tiny, but significant detail gets in the way and ruins the logic. I usually find my way out of these holes late at night when I can’t sleep.
What do you think makes a good story?
The characters are the most important for me. Without interesting people, the story is nothing. Why continue reading if you aren’t taken with the character? And usually the character helps create the plot.
Which, of all your characters, do you think is the most like you?
In the stories from the six The Killer Wore Cranberry anthologies from Untreed Reads, I write four characters from my childhood, an aunt, two grandmothers and the narrator who is me. The stories are all set in the early 1970s, and the narrator is a woman in her late twenties, the age I would have been at that time. She is a college professor, a farm girl, loves her aunt and grandmothers, is unsure of how to relate to her mother and she struggles with weight and men issues. She is me from that time and age.
What makes your books different from others out there in this genre?
My protagonist is bolder, less refined, less like anyone most of us have met. She loves high end fashion but moves to rural Florida where her punked, gelled and dyed hair and her three inch stilettoes definitely do not fit in. But what is endearing about this gal is her love of family and her loyalty to her friends, and some of her friends like to play loose with the law. There are no dogs, cats, bunnies or hamsters in these stories. There are, however, alligators. How could a writer create a story set in rural Florida without them?
What’s next on the horizon for you?
The trio of relatives inhabiting the Thanksgiving anthology stories (The Killer Wore Cranberry: Books 1-6) and a novella about Halloween (Happy Homicides: Book 4, Fall into Murder) are too good to let go, so I have written a book length mystery with these three crime stoppers. Led by Aunt Nozzie, Grandma Mama and Grandma Papa try to find out who killed their niece Darcie’s colleague and why. It’s yet another riotous ride in an aging motorhome through the hills of Upstate New York. It is currently being considered for publication.
Thank you Lesley so much for visiting today!
Keep reading to find about Lesley’s new book.
About Murder in the Family
Murder in the Family (An Eve Appel Mystery)
8th in Series
Publisher: Camel Press (April 14, 2021)
Paperback: 214 pages
Digital ASIN: B08TFDNN14
The past comes back seeking vengeance. To save her family and friends, Novice PI Eve Appel, pregnant with her second child, must outwit the bad guys in a final act of desperation, risking her life and that of the man she’s asked to help her, her mob boss friend, Nappi.
Someone is targeting the friends and family of Eve Appel Egret, owner of a rural Florida high-end consignment shop and part-time private investigator. The intimidation includes stealing the horse of one of Eve’s rancher friends, forcing her car off the road, attempting to kidnap her daughter and leaving messages on her phone threatening more dreadful acts to come. Eve almost succumbs to gas inhalation when someone enters the consignment shop and cuts the gas line while she is in the shop. And just when Eve could use the help of her mob boss friend, Nappi, with his far-reaching resources, she discovers he has gone into hiding, himself a target. By the time she finds him, he has lost all his financial assets and his influence, but not his determination to help Eve. It’s clear to Eve that someone from the past has returned to seek vengeance on her and those she loves. Her hunches lead her to believe she can bring the person responsible for the threats into the open by setting a clever and desperate trap. She knows the bad guy will come with reinforcements, but she never counted on who they would be.
About Lesley A. Diehl
Cows, Lesley learned growing up on a farm, have a twisted sense of humor. They chased her when she went to the field to herd them in for milking, and one ate the lovely red mitten her grandmother knitted for her. Determining that agriculture wasn’t a good career choice, instead she uses her country roots and her training as a psychologist to concoct stories designed to make people laugh in the face of murder. “A good chuckle,” says Lesley,” keeps us emotionally well-oiled long into our old age.” She is the author of several cozy mystery series and numerous short stories.
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