Today Eve Appel Egret is visiting Ascroft, eh? to tell us about Murder in the Family, the latest novel in the Eve Appel mystery series.
Welcome, Eve. Let’s get started, shall we?
Tell us about the novel that you live inside. Is it part of a series? If so, please tell us about the series too.
My name is Eve Appel Egret, and for the last few years I’ve inhabited the Eve Appel Mysteries. There are eight books in the series, the eighth one having been released by Camel Press in April. It’s entitled Murder in the Family. I’m a gal from Connecticut who has settled in rural Florida to open a high-end consignment shop with my best friend Madeleine. Before we could even get our business off the ground, on opening day I found someone stabbed to death on our dressing room floor. Murder may attract customers in the short run, but it’s never good for business long term. Anger fueled my determination to track down the killer. And that’s the way it has remained throughout all eight of the books: Someone gets murdered, and I jump in to save the day. Of course, I have a lot of help from my family and friends who sometimes caution me against acting precipitously, but I don’t really know the meaning of curbing my curiosity.
Does the writer control what happens in the story or do you get a say too?
The writer thinks she creates these stories, but what does she know? I’m a tall, spunky, in-your-face kind of woman, one who can run in high heels and who is in the prime of her life. The writer is much older than me and she does nothing but sit at her computer and dream up crazy stories. I’m the action member of the pair, so I guess I must concede that we both have a hand in the stories. BUT the series wouldn’t be as filled with deeds requiring physical stamina, skill and sheer boldness if my chubby creator had to do them. She’s nothing without me.
How did you evolve as the main character?
The writer got this idea for a short story featuring me as the main character. She submitted it to a contest (Sleuthfest Short Story Contest sponsored by Mystery Writers of America, Florida Chapter 2009) and won first place. She liked me as the protagonist so much (not everyone who meets me feels the same as I can be a bit too much because I can’t seem to ever keep my mouth under control) and the rural Florida setting is unique, so she decided she had the makings of a series. I do have to thank her for introducing me to my husband Sammy. Along with not reining in my curiosity, the writer gave me the best husband and family ever.
Do you have any other characters you like sharing the story with? If so, why are you partial to them?
I’m a very fortunate women to have been raised by a grandmother who is my role model for snoopiness, for my best friend who taught me some manner and social appropriateness, and for my mob boss friend, Nappi, who gets me and supports me as much as any other man except for my husband and his family. Along with my husband’s family members, especially his grandfather, who are all Miccosukee, Sammy loves me more than I probably deserve. He and I have been through some trying times including getting lost in the swamps of Florida, but together we’ve come through. And my mob boss friend has connections that have helped me ferret out some really awful criminals. Without him I would be lost. Police detective Frida Martinez has always backed me up although she worries about the relationship between Nappi and me, but just between us, I’m not certain he’s really part of the mob. So you see, it’s as if I have an entire posse to work with.
What’s the place like where you find yourself in this story?
Physically, I’ve settled in rural Florida and am happy here. I’ve surprised myself at how well this city gal has become a country dweller. I don’t even miss the fine restaurants in the city as long as there’s barbeque, slaw and a good scotch available at the Burnt Biscuit Bar and Grill. I still, however, insist upon wearing my stiletto heels. No cowboy boots for this fashionista!
This new book finds me pregnant with Sammy and my second child. We have one girl already, Netty, a clone of me with her sassy mouth and stubborn attitude, and we have three adopted sons, children from Sammy’s half-brother. I still own the consignment shop with Madeleine, but I’m devoting more and more time apprenticing with Crusty McNabb, a local private detective. The work is perfect for me. How do I find time to do everything? Well, there are a few problems, but you can see how well I handle some of them and not others in Murder in the Family.
Is there anything else you’d like to tell readers about you and the book?
You’re going to love being introduced to the swamps of Florida, a place you might think would be creepy. It’s much more than that. It has its share of creatures you might not like, snakes, alligators, feral pigs, and humans engaging in bad behavior, but it also has its share of wild beauty, broad vistas with grazing cattle, cowboys on horseback, exotic birds and sunsets you won’t see anywhere else. The people here are as rugged as the land. They might hold beliefs I don’t agree with, but they are strong and determined… like me.
Thank you for answering my questions, Eve, and good luck to you and your author, Lesley Diehl, with Murder in the Family, the latest book in the Eve Appel mystery series.
The novel is available at the following online retailers:
About Lesley 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.