When Jenny McCleary leases her property to be ravaged by the annual mud bog races, the small rural town of Sabal Bay, Florida, is divided into warring camps: environmental activists versus monster truck fans. Jenny, who frequents the consignment store owned by Eve Appel and her friend Madeleine, doesn't seem to mind when Eve and Madeleine join the protesters the day of the races. During the race, Eve catches Jenny's airborne head after it is tossed into the air by the wheels of a truck. Now every protester is a suspect in Jenny's murder. What's left of her alligator-gnawed body is found near the airboat business of Eve's Miccosukee Indian friends, Sammy Egret and his grandfather. When more evidence turns up nearby, Grandfather is arrested. Even without the disembodied head, Eve has her hands full. The town resents her role in the protests and is boycotting the consignment shop on wheels. She is torn between two men--GQ-handsome, devoted PI Alex and tall, dark, and exotic Sammy. Jenny's sweet and needy teenage daughter is dating a petty criminal. Will Eve and Madeleine ever be able to move into their new digs? Not unless the town forgives them. And not if whoever decapitated Jenny gets to Eve before she and her sleuthing buddies solve the mystery. Book 4 in the Eve Appel Mystery series.
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
Chants of “Save the Bog,” “Leave our swamps alone,” and “There’s life in that mud” continued for an hour. The swampers driving the trucks countered with yells of “Back off bitches” and “There’s money in that mud.” The trucking folks did not have any signs to hold up, but their voices seemed louder and angrier. I waved my sign in the air. It read “Don’t harm Mother Earth.” One of the truck drivers stuck his head out the window and yelled at me, “Screw Mother Earth.”
“That’s exactly what you’re doing,” I screamed. He gave me the finger.
The verbal exchanges continued until the trucks began to line up for their runs. At that point the sound of revving engines drowned out our voices. Mud flew in every direction. Madeleine and I pushed forward toward the fence to get a better view. Several trucks roared into the water, moved aggressively across the bog, and then abruptly stopped, mired in the middle. Neither increasing the RPMs or uttering foul language could coax the trucks from their mucky location. The drivers gave up, their growling trucks finally silenced, machinery defeated by mere water and dirt. A chain was attached to the trucks and a vehicle on land hauled them out. The drivers seemed only momentarily saddened by their failure; then their friends tossed them each a can of beer, and the partying began.
“I think we should step back a bit or we’ll be covered in mud,” I said to Madeleine. She looked excited to be where she could see what was happening, and her color had improved.
“You feeling better, honey?” I asked just as another truck roared into the water and attempted to cross the bog. As with the other two, it slowed and finally began to spin its wheels midway through the swamp. The driver continued to rev the engine. Muddy water thrown from the wheels catapulted vegetation as well as mud in our direction. The vehicle churned and rocked and continued to throw globs of whatever was buried in the muddy water out of the bog. I dropped my sign and attempted to fend off the gunk by shielding my face with my hands, but to no avail. The mud coated my head, face, and upper torso. I dropped my hands to my sides in disgust and frustration until the truck tried one more time, its spinning wheels sending more mud and a large projectile my way. I had no choice. I caught it like a running back grabbing a football.
What the hell? It was no football, not even a chawed up turtle shell or mangled cattle egret. It was a head, and one I recognized. Two eyes glazed over by slime and deathone brown, one hazelstared up at me. Madeleine looked over at what was in my hands and threw up all over my ostrich boots.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Reviewed by Liz Konkel for Readers' Favorite Mud Bog Murder by Lesley A. Diehl is a cozy mystery with twists that keep coming until the end. Eve Appel is your seemingly normal, independent and sassy woman who, along with her best friend Madeleine, runs a fashion, jewelry, and houseware shop out of a rig. When customer Jenny McCleary comes into the store, looking for a wedding dress, Eve receives the news that the woman is also planning mud bog races on her ranch in order to make money. Eve and Madeleine join their friends from the Miccosukee tribe at a protest against the races, but just as things get started, a head is flung at Eve, starting a case that only gets stranger. The head belongs to Jenny and the list of suspects for her murder keeps growing. Much to the dismay of her detective friend and her sort of boyfriend, private investigator Alex, Eve decides to take it upon herself to solve the case. Lesley A. Diehl plays the rules of a cozy mystery with the cushioned job and a nosy protagonist, but that’s where the comparisons end. Diehl isn’t afraid to push boundaries with a brazen and sassy Eve, giving her trust issues and an enjoyment of hard liquor, a couple of traits common with hard-boiled detectives. She’s made a name for herself as a nuisance, but when Jenny McCleary’s daughter, Shelley, asks for her help, she can’t say no. Eve is easy to relate to as she struggles to figure out who she is, apart from her failed marriage and her sort of relationship with Alex, and who she wants to be. Mud Bog Murder has several serious moments that address social issues, but the novel isn’t without its humor, including an alligator stuck in the store they’re remodeling. Mud Bog Murder is rich with heart, strength of character, and independence. A must-read for any lover of mystery!
I’m a southern gal and there’s nothing more fun than reading a story set in the land that offers you tasty mudbugs, pecan pie, and sweet tea. Eve Appel came to Sabal Bay, Florida to start fresh. While waiting for her building to be refurbished, she and her friend Madeleine have taken her business on the road, literally. A friend loaned her an RV and she’s fixed it up as a consignment shop on wheels. Business is brisk until the gals join a protest against a mud bog event. The giant trucks tear up the swampland and kill or destroy the habitat of local wildlife. It’s not just the town folk boycotting the business they have to worry about after the host’s head literally lands in Eve’s hands. Okay, I snickered. I could just see it. Those big truck tires slinging mud all over the place, and then this head comes flying out. And once Eve realizes what she’s caught, she knows she can’t just toss it. It’s evidence at a crime scene. It’s a free for all as accusations get slung, finger’s point to suspects, and some damning evidence is discovered, along with a convenient anonymous tip. With so many suspects to choose from, it’s not an easy mystery to solve. So enjoy the ride as the author introduces you to her colorful cast of characters from south of the Mason-Dixon Line. Two of my favorite things about cozies are the characters and the small towns portrayed in them. I had a blast meeting these characters and the town felt familiar. The charming, fun mystery kept me sifting through the clues and snorting at some outrageous scenes. There’s also a bit of a love triangle. Kind of. Sort of. This is the fourth book in the series, but you can read this one without having read the other three. I did. The author drops in some tidbits about previous events and some character insight without barely a hiccup in the story’s flow. I hope you give this book a go. I pinkie swear you’ll have fun.
Jenny McCleary decides to lease her property out to the annual mud bog races. Unfortunately this draws a crowd of environmental activists in to protest the event. Eva Appel and her friend Madeleine join the environmentalists and show up for the first day of the mud bog event. But in the middle of the first race, Jenny’s head goes flying. She has been murdered and it is up to Eva to find out who killed her. I really enjoyed following Eva as she tries to protest the mud bog event yet loses customers because of that choice. She is trying to find the killer but is also torn between Alex and Sammy catching her eye. This is a great cozy mystery. There is lots of action and twists and turns. Eva does a great job fleshing out who the killer was and I admit that I didn’t guess who did it until the end. This is the first book of Lesley Diehl’s I have read. I had no problem figuring out what was happening and didn’t feel lost in the series. But I will be going back and reading the other books in the Eva Appel series. I received Mug Bog Murder for free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.