About the Book
It's smooth sailing for Eve Appel and her friend Madeleine, owners of Second to None Consignment Shop in rural Florida's Sabal Bay, land of swamps, cowboys, and lots and lots of 'gators. Eve and her detective boyfriend Alex have joined Madeleine and her new beau David Wilson for a pleasure cruise on his boat. But cloudy, dangerous waters lie ahead. A near fatal encounter with Blake Reed, David's supremely nasty neighbor, is soon followed by a shooting death on the dividing line between David and Blake's land. Both men run sport-hunting reserves, but Blake imports "exotics" from Africa and promotes gator killing, while David stays within the law, pointing clients toward the abundant quail and turkey as well as the wild pigs that ravage the landscape. Nevertheless, when a mutual client is killed, it is David who is arrested and charged with murder.
Blake's nastiness is only exceeded by that of his wife, Elvira, who forces Eve and Madeleine out of their shop, intending to replace it with a consignment shop of her own. It seems that bad luck looms over them all, even Eve's brawny and hard-to-resist Miccosukee Indian friend Sammy, whose nephew has disappeared. As the case against David grows stronger and his friends' misfortunes multiply, Eve and her strange and diverse group of friends, including her ex, a mobster, her grandma, and Sammy's extended family, band together to take on the bad guys. But the waters are getting muddier and more troubled, and Eve and Madeleine may end up inundated in every sense of the word.
Rural Florida is quite an interesting place for a mystery novel.
"Gators cross the roadways to get to water, food and mates."
"Feral pigs are running around."
"All kinds of bugs and crawly things come to visit in the night."
It's where matrons from the coast drive out to drool over the Indian warrior hunk giving airboat rides and to go two-stepping with the sexy cowboys down at The Biscuit, the local watering hole that just so happens to have the best ribs in town.
But the sense of serenity that an end of the day sunset gives to the residents of Sabal Bay is often short lived. The environment is ever changing. Dark, ominous looking clouds are always threatening to blow in from off shore, the wind ready to whip the palm trees around even while it lifts the oppressive heat and humidity from the air. Because danger is always lurking in an area where different nationalities are forced to mix and those lower down the economic ladder are exploited, taken advantage of by the well to do. It creates a sense of hopelessness for the working class along with a stubborn determination to hold on.
"Like her home, Mrs. Warren looked worn out, but her hair was a bubble of salt and pepper curls and her clothing neat and pressed."
The streets are laid out in a grid pattern, but the canals connecting them meander in all different directions, causing outsiders to have to backtrack and find a bridge to get to the other side. It's a confusing sort of environment that functions more as a maze, trapping its poorer residents where they land, and giving the upwardly mobile their own tiny insulated community, free of strife.
But the salt of the earth working stiffs cling to what makes them happy.
"The casino wasn't grand, no fancy bars or restaurants—only worn and tired carpeting and gray and dingy walls—rural Floridians' need to toss away their money and drink without having to travel too far."
But when native Miccosukee men start going missing from the casino, things become a lot more dangerous than a cowboy's jangling spurs upping the charm factor. Because the rusticity doesn't look so charming when minorities are getting picked off left and right with hunting rifles.
That's when a line gets crossed and things go way too far.
Eve Appel is often accused of reading too many mystery novels, her overactive imagination getting the better of her. But she refuses to believe the ingrained prejudice that runs so deeply though her hometown—that these missing natives are just off somewhere, drying out after a bender. She knows they're not all alcoholics and drug addicts, running away from their problems. They're good, decent, hard-working men, looking to provide for their families. They would never up and leave them without any means of support.
And that's why Eve is determined to bring them home, or die trying, even when her friends keep asking her:
"Why do you try to make everything your issue?"
Because for Eve, it's not a choice. It's just something she has to do, be a champion for those being denied a voice.
A Sporting Murder can be purchased at:
Barnes and Noble
Formats/Prices: $4.95 ebook, $13.95 paperback
Genres: Cozy Murder Mystery
Release: July 15, 2015
Publisher: Camel Press
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About the Author
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, and gators make golf a contact sport. Back north, the shy ghost inhabiting the cottage serves as her literary muse. When not writing, she gardens, cooks and renovates the 1874 cottage with the help of her husband, two cats and, of course, Fred the ghost, who gives artistic direction to their work.
She is the author of a number of mystery series and mysteries as well as short stories. A Sporting Murder follows the first two books in the Eve Appel mystery series, A Secondhand Murder and Dead in the Water.
Links to connect with Lesley:
Blog Tour Site
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