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 matters 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 Mystery Series.
It was still early so I strode back into the restaurant, indicated to the hostess I wanted a booth and ordered the breakfast buffet. Anger paired with disbelief gave me a hearty appetite. Returning to my booth after loading my plate with eggs, bacon, pancakes, pastries and a slice of toast, I noticed someone had joined me for breakfast. He was seated with his back to me as I approached the booth but I recognized the sun-streaked hair curling over his collar. My favorite PI. I almost dropped my plate.
“Hi.” I tried for nonchalant but sounded more like a hormone-addled teenager.
“Saw you come in. I guess you had an early morning chitchat with the local gendarmes.”
“To be continued this afternoon at the station.”
“Fingerprints?” He stirred a packet of sugar into his coffee.
“Nope.” The tingle in my tummy was more than simple hunger for food. I tried to satisfy it by stuffing a large forkful of pancake into my mouth. I nodded and swallowed. “Like anyone would be dumb enough to leave their prints.”
“Certainly, we know you’re smart.”
“I had no reason to kill Mrs. Sanders. That would be like killing the golden goose.”
“You didn’t like her very much, did you?”
I dropped my fork on the plate. “What do you mean? I hardly knew the woman.”
“So you say, but my sources indicate that’s not the whole story.” He stared at me. Last night I thought those azure eyes looked inviting. Now they looked more like ice. He smiled.
“You said you were investigating Mrs. Sanders. Sounds like you’re trying to nose into my affairs. Why?”
“Don’t get mad. I’m not accusing you of murder, you know.” He took a sip of coffee.
“I’m not mad.” I was a little miffed, peeved even, but not really mad. Okay, I was mad.
“Oh yes you are, and when you get angry, you stick your chin out and turn your head ever so slightly to the right. Your cheek twitches, probably from clenching your teeth. Did you know that?”
I had lost my appetite. I grabbed my purse and slid out of the booth. “I don’t recall inviting you to join me for breakfast. I just remembered I have an important appointment.”
“That would be ...?” He also stood.
“That would be none of your business.”
I stalked out of the restaurant, then remembered as I approached my car that I had forgotten to pay my bill. Damn. Now I’d have to go back in there and face him again. I gritted my teeth, stuck out my chin and slammed through the door. He turned from the counter, credit card in hand.
“Don’t worry about it. I got it. Your treat next time.”
“There won’t be a next time.” I spun around and pushed open the door. By the time he reached his car, I was already starting my engine, wondering what the man knew about Mrs. Sanders and me.
In A Secondhand Murder, Eve Appel and her friend Madeleine, co-owners of Second to None, a high-end consignment shop find one of their clients lying on the dressing room floor dead with a knife poking out of her chest on their opening day. Second to None is located in rural Sabal Bay, which is fairly close to West Palm. Many of the residents of West Palm have lost their fortunes to ponzi scams and the economic downturn. Eve’s consignment shop caters to those high society ladies who want to continue to buy expensive couture but at bargain prices.
Eve becomes the prime murder suspect when the police find a knife missing in a cutlery set on consignment and it becomes known the victim and Eve share unpleasant history. To make matters worse, Eve’s soon to be ex-husband, Jerry, shows up in dire need of a divorce so he can marry his pregnant girlfriend who is the daughter of a mafia boss. Jerry’s ponzi scheme leaves Valerie Sanders, the deceased, and her husband Leon in financial distress. Eve must figure out who murdered Valerie in order to clear her name and save her business. She is assisted in her investigation by an odd assortment of friends, acquaintances and family to include her ex-husband, a mafia boss, a private investigator who Eve thinks is “yummy,” her beloved grandmother, and Madeleine, who is incredibly accident prone.
A Secondhand Murder is an extremely fun and wickedly entertaining cozy mystery. The quirky characters and the complex entanglements each of them have with the deceased and the protagonist is the best part of the book. The author creates a well-plotted, light-hearted mystery that has some really good laugh out loud scenes. Cozy mystery lovers will thoroughly enjoy A Secondhand Murder; it is an outstanding read from beginning to end.
Manic Readers receives books from authors, publishers, and publicists which are given to
reviewers in exchange for their honest opinion. Each review represents the opinion of the reviewer
which may or may not have been influenced by receiving the book at no cost.