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.
Book 6 in the Eve Appel Mystery series.
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About the Author
Lesley A. Diehl 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, and gators make golf a contact sport. Lesley is the author of a number of mystery series and mysteries as well as short stories. For more information, go to www.lesleyadiehl.com.
Read an Excerpt
"Mr. Montrose didn't say. I think a number of people thought she should be committed, but he wouldn't hear of it. He seemed to be able to calm her down, and he was the only one who could. She seemed to despise Eleanor. 'That hateful child,' she always called Eleanor. I know County Social Services was notified on occasion, but when a social worker came to the house, Mrs. Montrose was always calm and Mr. Montrose didn't want their help. I guess they figured he was able to handle his wife and protect Eleanor. Aside from Mrs. Montrose's public displays, no one saw much of the family. They kept to themselves."
They were hiding something, something I needed to know.
"They lived here for how long?"
"Since Eleanor was in high school. I don't have any idea where they moved here from. Maybe the school records would say."
"I'd sure like to see those records, but I'd be the last person the principal would show them to." I looked imploringly at Mrs. Falco, who understood what I wasn't saying.
"You think it's that important?" she asked.
"I'm sure it is."
She crumpled up her sandwich wrappings and rose to her feet. "Well, then, I guess I'll have to have a talk with the principal's secretary, Mrs. Dorren, about making certain his office door isn't left unlocked the way it is in the late afternoon when he walks the halls checking the classrooms."
"A wise precaution," I said.
"Mrs. Dorren agrees with me. She thinks the principal is a bit of a pill also. We can trust her."
We walked to the park entrance and stopped there. I spotted Nappi's car parked around the corner. Mrs. Falco assured me she'd get in touch tomorrow evening. She turned to walk down the sidewalk, while I started to step off the curb to cross the street. I waved to Nappi, a spring in my step. With those school records, I might be able to track down Eleanor's past, a past she had been reluctant to talk about. I heard the squeal of tires on the pavement and spotted a blur of black as a car careened around the corner from my left. I heard Mrs. Falco cry out and then felt someone grab my arm and pull me back onto the curb. I stumbled and fell as the car roared past me.
"That driver tried to run you down," said Mrs. Falco, helping me to my feet. "Are you hurt?"
I looked down and saw a ripped knee in my jeans and one of my classy red stiletto-heel shoes lying crushed in the gutter. Some blood trickled down my elbow from where I'd scraped it on the pavement.
Nappi rushed up to me, saw the look on my face, and followed my mournful glance as I assessed my mangled shoe.
"That could have been you," he said.