A Secondhand Murder
by Lesley Diehl
on Tour October 1 – November 30, 2013
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.
I am absolutely in love with this story. Lesley Diehl has created such a fun character in Eve Appel! She was funny, sassy and smart. She’s a great protagonist. The story has a great mystery and there’s so many different things going on that I was definitely surprised by the ending. I love a good mystery dashed with humor.
By Lesley A. Diehl
Author of A Secondhand Murder
Creating a protagonist who owns a consignment shop was a natural for me. Refusal to buy new gallops in my family. I can trace its roots back to my grandmother.
My grandmother was an early recycler. When others after World War II were buying new and fueling the post war economy, Grammy was figuring out ways to reuse what was in her house and avoid purchasing anything from local merchants or through catalogues. I never knew her to travel out of our small town in the Midwest to shop. She didn’t live long enough to experience shopping malls but she would have hated the idea of all that new merchandise in one convenient location. What’s the challenge in that, she’d say.
Like many of her generation, she bathed once a week, and she used as little water as possible, maybe like three or four cups in the tub. She was really tiny so it worked just fine for her. I mean how much dirt can stick to a small person? If the wind is blowing, not much dust could gather on her compared to a much larger individual. After she finished bathing, she took the water and washed the sink, toilet and bathroom floor. Then she scrubbed the hallway and down the stairs finally ending with the kitchen. The water left over she dumped in the washer and when she had enough, she laundered grandpa’s dirty bib overalls.
Just to reassure you, I don’t do that, but she did teach me about reusing clothes. Her daughter, my redheaded aunt was well over six feet tall. Grammy was less than five feet.
She took over all my aunt’s used clothes including her size eleven shoes. Granma’s shoe size had to be less than a six, but she made them stay on her feet by sewing grosgrain ribbons onto the sides and tying them into a bow over her foot. My aunt’s dresses she made fit by the use of strategically placed safety pins and a few basting stitches.
I liked this idea. My aunt bought stylish clothes and lots of them. The items not fit for use by Grammy were given to me, little five foot three me. Using grandma’s old treadle sewing machine I stitched my way to fashionability in our small town high school. One of my favorite skirts was the “bumblebee”. It was corduroy, full, with diagonal stripesof yellow and black. The effect was startling enough that it might have caused seizures if you weren’t prepared the first time you looked.
Once I movedaway from home to go to college, I was on my own for used items. I discovered consignment shops as well as stores such as Goodwill and Salvation Army and church bazaars. Yard sales were also a good bet for fashion as well as furniture. And the hunt goes on in the present. I’ve experienced some high end shops in locations such as Bryn Mawr, PA, Provincetown, MA and Coral Gables, FL. I spent some winters in Key Largo, FL, the place Iconsider the penultimate in Saturday morning yard sales. I visit there several times each winter from my home in rural Florida and always on the weekend so I can get myyard sale fix.
And wouldn’t you know it, I moved into a small village in upstate New York that has a church sponsored used shop where the items are free. Free! My grandmother would do a jig in her tiny coffin. I felt so guilty the first time I went in that I tried to offer them money. They refused. I now use it as a kind of clothing exchange service, dropping off items and picking up new used ones.
You tell me, did I learn all of this from grannie or is it in my DNA? I think it’s a bit of both, but whatever caused my lust for the bargain, I have my grandmother to thank for it, so I gave my protagonist in A Secondhand Murder my Grammy’s maiden name, Appel. Thanks for helping me make Eve Appel come to life, Grammy.
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.