Old Bones Never Die ($15.95, 272 pages, ISBN: 978-1-60381-317-4) is the fifth cozy mystery by Lesley A. Diehl in a series set in rural Florida and featuring consignment shop owner and amateur sleuth Eve Appel. After the half-brother of Eve’s friend Sammy finds human bones on a construction site, he is killed in a hit-and-run. People usually try to discourage Eve’s amateur sleuthing, but this time Sammy and his half-brother’s orphaned nephews urge her to investigate.
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The series began with A Secondhand Murder and continued with Dead in the Water, A Sporting Murder, and Mud Bog Murder. Three short stories, available as Kindle Singles only, also feature Eve Appel. Lesley has written numerous other short stories and has seven other published mysteries: A Deadly Draught, Poisoned Pairings, Dumpster Dying, Angel Sleuth, Grilled, Chilled, and Killed¸ Murder is Academic, and Failure is Fatal.
“I loved my introduction to Eve Appel and her snooping friends. Old Bones Never Die is book 5 in the Eve Appel series. I found myself a few pages in wondering where I’ve been. How could I have missed this author and this series? [….] Although Old Bones is book 5 I didn’t feel like I needed to read any of the prior books in the series. But I ended up wanting to.” Read more….
—The Journey Back Blog
Critics have raved about the Eve Appel Mystery series:
Mud Bog Murder: “The new Eve Appel Mystery is here and it is absolutely terrific[….] A great mystery that is all about a fun cast combined with an excellent plot, readers will be thrilled with this one.” —Suspense Magazine
“Settle in for a nerve-wracking mystery set in the rural Florida. Lesley A. Diehl’s A Sporting Murder may include women from West Palm Beach, but the characters and murderous activities are right out of old Florida[….] character-driven and action-packed.” —Lesa’s Book Critiques
Dead in the Water: “There is action galore. The plot becomes more convoluted as new developments take place just as answers seem evident. Each twist is followed by a further twist, the action is continuous, and Eve is suitably confused[….] Recommended.” —Michael F. Hennessey, I Love a Mystery
“Fun from Page one![….] I absolutely enjoyed reading A Secondhand Murder. The web of murder and deceit is well spun, but the characters Ms. Diehl has created are truly the shining stars of this book.” —Long and Short Reviews
Just before Walter Egret is killed in a hit-and-run, he phoned his half-brother Sammy to report that he’d unearthed their missing father’s pocket watch, along with a pile of human bones. The project is put on hold until it can be determined if the site is an Indian burial ground. Then the bones disappear.
Now Sammy and his brother’s three orphaned children want Eve Appel to go pro, applying her innate snoopiness to the trade of private investigator.
Eve already has her hands full with her two consignment stores. What is she going to do? Sammy and Walter are Miccosukee Indians, and Walter was employed as a backhoe operator on a construction site for a sportsmen’s resort. Was Walter’s death murder or an accident? If the bones belong to Sammy’s father, how did they get there? Delving into these mysteries, Eve is aided by her usual crew of friends and family. This adventure will not only up the stakes for Eve as an investigator, but it will also open her eyes to life possibilities she never imagined.
Says Diehl, “Indigenous peoples in the Americas struggle with the conflict between fitting into white culture and keeping their own traditions. In Florida the encroachment of development has removed natural habitat for numerous animal and plant species and destroyed breeding grounds, making it doubly difficult for a new generation of Native Americans to reclaim their historical roots in a shifting and often unfamiliar landscape. For the Miccosukee Indians in Eve Appel’s life, this struggle means walking the thin line between claiming what is good for their children in the old world and finding their place in the world created by white people.”
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. 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. Click here to find Lesley online.
Keep reading for an excerpt:
Smoke. Heavy, stale, like a burned-out campfire.
I moved out of the doorway and back into the hall. Someone was in the house. I knew it. I stopped and listened, but I heard nothing except my own heart racing in my chest until the compressor in the refrigerator kicked in. Wherever the intruder was, he or she had to have seen the lights of my car and Sammy’s truck. Wouldn’t the person be eager to get out of here to avoid discovery? Unless my unwanted visitor had something else in mind. I tried not to let my imagination provide unpleasant scenarios. I sniffed again. The smell seemed less pronounced. Maybe they had left. Better not to take chances.
I retreated down the hallway toward the living room. I’d turned on the ceiling light when I came in the door, but turned it back off at the switch on the wall by the hallway leading to the bedroom. I flipped the light back on and sighed with relief. No one was in the living room, and I could see across the way into the kitchen. The door to the garage was closed, but was it locked? Had my unwelcome visitor left by that exit and was now hiding in my garage? Or maybe in the bathroom or my guest room? Perhaps they’d gone out through the back door. I glanced at my purse on the couch. Get the hell out of the house, Eve, and call the cops. I moved toward the couch and reached for my purse to get my cellphone on my way out. The overhead light went out. Before I could retrieve my purse and retreat to the door, a hand encircled my throat in a steel grip. I tried to pull it away, but the hold tightened, and I thought I might pass out. I stumbled backward, reaching for the door knob. Another hand grabbed my arm.
“Quiet or you’re dead.” It was a man’s voice I thought I’d heard before, but he hadn’t spoken enough words for me to identify it. I tried to pull back, but he brought both his hands to my throat and tightened them. The pressure around my eyes mounted. I coul“What do you want?” I managed to squeak out. He said nothing, but pressed his thumbs into my throat and rammed his body against mine, moving me out of the living room and into the hallway.
If I’d left my stiletto heels on, I might have been able to stomp on his instep and do some damage. They were, miraculously, still in my hand, but I was too weak to take any kind of a swing at him. My shoes had never failed me before. They’d always proven to be an effective weapon. Now they just seemed like silly shoes worn by a woman too vain to consider sturdier footwear.
He relinquished his chokehold and shoved me toward my bedroom. “Get the door,” he said.