Spunky and outspoken Eve Appel moves from Connecticut to rural Florida intent on starting a new life, free of drama, and more importantly, her soon-to-be ex-husband. The rural Florida town of Sabal Bay, situated only an hour from West Palm, proves to be the perfect spot for her consignment store. Thanks to the recent economic downturn, Florida's society matrons need a place to discreetly sell their stuff and pick up expensive-looking bargains. But Eve's life, and her business with it, is turned upside down when a wealthy customer is found stabbed to death in a fitting room. As accusations fly and business slows, Eve decides to take things into her own hands. With the help of an unlikely bunch of friends--including her estranged ex, her best friend, a handsome private eye, and a charming mafia don--she struggles to find answers and save lives. Through a maze of distorted half-truths, dramatic cover-ups, and unrequited passions, Eve learns just how far the wealthy will go to regain what they have lost. A Secondhand Murder is Book 1 of the Eve Appel Mysteries Series.
About the Author
Lesley retired from her life as a professor of psychology and reclaimed her country roots by moving to a small cottage in the Butternut River Valley in upstate New York. In the winter she migrates to old Florida--cowboys, scrub palmetto, and open fields of grazing cattle, a place where spurs still jingle in the post office. Back north, she devotes her afternoons to writing and, when the sun sets, relaxing on the bank of her trout stream, sipping tea or a local microbrew. You can find Lesley online at www.lesleyadiehl.com.
Read an Excerpt
It was still early so I strode back into the restaurant, indicated to the hostess I wanted a booth and ordered the breakfast buffet. Anger paired with disbelief gave me a hearty appetite. Returning to my booth after loading my plate with eggs, bacon, pancakes, pastries and a slice of toast, I noticed someone had joined me for breakfast. He was seated with his back to me as I approached the booth but I recognized the sun-streaked hair curling over his collar. My favorite PI. I almost dropped my plate.
"Hi." I tried for nonchalant but sounded more like a hormone-addled teenager.
"Saw you come in. I guess you had an early morning chitchat with the local gendarmes."
"To be continued this afternoon at the station."
"Fingerprints?" He stirred a packet of sugar into his coffee.
"Nope." The tingle in my tummy was more than simple hunger for food. I tried to satisfy it by stuffing a large forkful of pancake into my mouth. I nodded and swallowed. "Like anyone would be dumb enough to leave their prints."
"Certainly, we know you're smart."
"I had no reason to kill Mrs. Sanders. That would be like killing the golden goose."
"You didn't like her very much, did you?"
I dropped my fork on the plate. "What do you mean? I hardly knew the woman."
"So you say, but my sources indicate that's not the whole story." He stared at me. Last night I thought those azure eyes looked inviting. Now they looked more like ice. He smiled.
"You said you were investigating Mrs. Sanders. Sounds like you're trying to nose into my affairs. Why?"
"Don't get mad. I'm not accusing you of murder, you know." He took a sip of coffee.
"I'm not mad." I was a little miffed, peeved even, but not really mad. Okay, I was mad.
"Oh yes you are, and when you get angry, you stick your chin out and turn your head ever so slightly to the right. Your cheek twitches, probably from clenching your teeth. Did you know that?"
I had lost my appetite. I grabbed my purse and slid out of the booth. "I don't recall inviting you to join me for breakfast. I just remembered I have an important appointment."
"That would be ...?" He also stood.
"That would be none of your business."
I stalked out of the restaurant, then remembered as I approached my car that I had forgotten to pay my bill. Damn. Now I'd have to go back in there and face him again. I gritted my teeth, stuck out my chin and slammed through the door. He turned from the counter, credit card in hand.
"Don't worry about it. I got it. Your treat next time."
"There won't be a next time." I spun around and pushed open the door. By the time he reached his car, I was already starting my engine, wondering what the man knew about Mrs. Sanders and me.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
A SECONDHAND MURDER-Lesley A. Diehl-Camel Press-TPB-2013-First in the series taking place in Florida with Eve Appel, owner of a consignment with her friend Madeleine Boudreau. Some of the wealthy women there are having money problems and are buying some clothes from the shop. The opening day Eve goes to a dressing room and finds one wealthy woman with a knife in her. Will this murder help or hurt the shop? Her almost ex-husband arrives in town? How is he connected to the whole situation? First line: "I JERKED THE dressing room curtain closed, swallowed, then swallowed again.
3.5 stars Every reader needs a little fluff now and then—at least, I do—and A Secondhand Murder fills that need quite nicely. The combination of a small shop and wealthy customers works well and I particularly appreciated that author Lesley A. Diehl gets the action up and running on the very first page with a body on the dressing room floor. Despite the fluffy effect, the mystery here, multiple mysteries actually, are well-drawn and it’s not until nearly the end that all the pieces begin to come together and make some sense. Besides murder, shop owner Eve has to cope with an obnoxious ex-husband, a mobster with questionable motives, and a private eye who may not be the real thing but the crowd manages to pull off some kind of silly sleuthing without too much damage to themselves or others (if you don’t count the klutziness of Eve’s partner, Madeleine). Speaking of characters, I found myself not liking Eve a whole lot, mainly because she’s a bit too impulsive and reckless for my taste, and borders on the amateur sleuth who always has to be rescued. I also was a little annoyed by Grandy for being too much like a stereotypical grandmother who wants to matchmake but is oh-so-cute on her own. Other characters, though, hit me just right, especially a pair of cowboys and a charming mobster. All in all, cozy fans will enjoy a pleasant few hours with A Secondhand Murder and then look forward to the next Eve Appel adventure.
Eve moves away from her life to make space with her future ex husband and opens a consignment store. Unfortunately at opening, her dressing room becomes a crime scene and she gets wrapped up into the motive and mystery behind the murder. I loved the characters and the way their lives intertwined The twists and turns behind the who dun its was great! I couldn't wait to read and read to find out how it was all going to unravel. The one thing that I would suggest to make this book even better - is better transitions, this book just didn't feel like a smooth read. A great plot and characters, but with some edits this book could be over the top!
In A Secondhand Murder, the first book of the Eve Appel Mystery Series, author Lesley A. Diehl weaves an entertaining cozy mystery that will keep the reader laughing-out-loud. Set in the rural town of Sabal Bay, Florida, and written in the first person narrative, the reader follows the madcap adventures of Eve Appel and best friend Madeleine Boucheau, as they try to solve the murder of a West Palm socialite that occurred in the dressing room during the grand opening of their consignment shop, Second to None. When Eve is targeted as the suspect in the murder, she is determined to find out who the real murderer is with the help of a gang of amateur sleuths: best friend Madeleine, a sexy PI named Alex Montgomery, her estranged husband Jerry, a shady mobster, and some hot cowboys. Can Eve and her quirky gang of misfits solve the murder mystery? This was such a fun book to read! I really enjoyed following sassy Eve, clutzy Madeleine, and the rest of the quirky cast of characters on their zany adventure to solve the murder mystery. The author easily draws the reader into the story with a mixture of drama, mischief, and suspense that keeps them guessing what would happen next. The author does a great job of providing clues about the murder mystery, while adding a sexy romance between Eve and Alex into the mix. I really enjoyed the lighthearted humor that is so prevalent throughout the story. A Secondhand Murder is a fast-paced cozy mystery that has enough drama & mischief, suspenseful twists and turns, and a slow-building romance that is sure to keep the reader entertained. It is an enjoyable story that will tickle your funny bone.
A Secondhand Murder was a delightful read. It was a mystery that had a substantial list of suspects and the story was definitely character driven. The writing was smooth and easy to follow from start to finish; but the characters were the shining star for this book. I enjoyed following Eve as she first encountered the murder at the secondhand store and then threw herself into the investigation to resolve "whodunit" before the store was ruined by bad publicity and gossip. The story was interesting and it was quite late in the book when the reader realized who the culprit was. Eve's friends and family who helped her were quirky,loyal, some inept, some professional and comical. Although I enjoyed the read, there were some things that were reminiscent to the Stephanie Plum series by Janet Evanovich, i.e. both heroines experienced their cars being blown to smitherenes. Both heroines had grandmothers who sought adventure with their grand-daughters. I was also taken aback with the PI Alex Montgomery. I just couldn't picture him as moping after the heroine. But those were the only things that bothered me about the story. Overall, I found it very enjoyable and I will look forward to the next book in the Eve Appel Mystery Series.
These cozy mysteries are really starting to grow on me. They’re so fun and lighthearted, and they give you a good puzzle to solve. A Secondhand Murder is the first in a new series by Lesley Diehl and is focused on Eve Appel. While once a high society New Englander, Eve has moved to a small town in Florida to start her life over after her husband humiliates her by showing up to her birthday party with some blonde bimbo. Taking advantage of the stale economy, she decides to open a high-end consignment shop with her best friend Madeleine. A wrench is thrown into her plans when one of the customers ends up with a knife to the chest on opening day. Business slows and allegations are made against Eve. With the help of some questionable friends, she takes matters into her own hands, diving headfirst into a web of lies, drama and illusions. Eve sure is a little spitfire. Standing tall over most people, she can also be a little intimidating, especially when she opens her mouth. Eve’s mouth is a problem for her. She has a big one and doesn’t mind opening it to give you a piece of her mind. Unfortunately, she doesn’t always think beforehand and it tends to get her into trouble. Especially when she’s around hunky PI, Alex Montgomery. Alex is a bit confusing at times. He seems to be the nice guy wanting to help Eve but he’s very secretive and it makes you wonder. What a tangled web we weave! I’m usually pretty good at figuring out the bad guy(s) but this story kept me guessing until the very end. I didn’t know who was good or bad, or who was on who’s side. Diehl does a great job of creating an interesting puzzle to finish and adds in a little bit of humor to spice things up. With all of the ups and downs, twists and turns, it will keep you turning the pages to find out what’s in store. I would recommend this book to fans of light mysteries, especially those who favor cozies. Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book, at no charge to me, in exchange for my honest review.
Lesley A. Diehl in her new book, "A Secondhand Murder" Book One in the Eve Appel Mystery series published by Camel Press introduces us to Eve Appel. From the back cover: Spunky and outspoken Eve Appel moves from Connecticut to rural Florida intent on starting a new life, free of drama, and more importantly, her soon-to-be ex-husband. The rural Florida town of Sabal Bay, situated only an hour from West Palm, proves to be the perfect spot for her consignment store. Thanks to the recent economic downturn, Florida's society matrons need a place to discreetly sell their stuff and pick up expensive-looking bargains. But Eve's life, and her business with it, is turned upside down when a wealthy customer is found stabbed to death in a fitting room. As accusations fly and business slows, Eve decides to take matters into her own hands. With the help of an unlikely bunch of friends-including her estranged ex, her best friend, a handsome private eye, and a charming mafia don-she struggles to find answers and save lives. Through a maze of distorted half-truths, dramatic cover-ups, and unrequited passions, Eve learns just how far the wealthy will go to regain what they have lost. A Secondhand Murder is Book 1 of the Eve Appel Mystery Series. Who knew that owing and running a second-hand clothing store could be so dangerous? A wealthy customer is found stabbed in one of the fitting rooms and that is causing a damper on business. In an effort to restore her business Eve takes matters into her own hands. However she cannot solve what is going on alone and some of the individuals she gets involved with will have you shaking your head in disbelief. Yes, it is a murder mystery however there are moments when you will be laughing out loud. "A Secondhand Murder" is a wonderful thriller as the tension mounts as Eve is trying to identify the killer. "A Secondhand Murder" is loaded with twists and turns and red herrings that will leave you guessing all the while you are flipping pages to find out what happens next. Ms. Diehl has provided us with a great character in Eve Appel and I am already looking forward until the next book in this series comes out. Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Partners In Crime. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."