Nearly Departed (An Eve Appel Mystery)
by Lesley A. Diehl

About Nearly Departed

Nearly Departed (An Eve Appel Mystery)
Cozy Mystery
7th in Series
Publisher: Epicenter Press (January 14, 2020)
Print Length: 180 pages
Digital ASIN: B083G9GDJY

Tired of sitting surveillance on insurance fraud, apprentice PI Eve Apple Egret gets her first big case, one where the outcome is important and personal. Eve’s best friend Madeleine has few relatives, so her Uncle Shamus is special, but someone is determined to kill him and has tried several times. Eve is certain she can identify who is after him, but this time she may have taken on more than even our self-confident Eve can handle. Coping with a growing toddler and a teenager, devoting time to the consignment shop and finding someone who can go undercover in a sexual harassment case all vie for Eve’s attention. Eve knows she cannot fail Madeleine. This is more than her favorite uncle’s life. His death would mean devastating loss for Madeleine and call into question Eve’s commitment as a friend and her ability as a PI.


Interview with the Author

What initially got you interested in writing?

I was an only child, raised on a farm in Illinois, so I had few opportunities until I entered school to socialize with other kids my age. I think this made me a shy child, but one with a curious mind. I liked to create fantasies as I played alone in the hayloft or in the fields. I began to write down some of these “tales” when I went into junior high. I even created operas which I sang to myself in a made-up language. In high school my English teacher encouraged creative writing and liked my stories. I was also lucky in college to have a short story published in the college magazine. Unfortunately, creative writing got lost in graduate school and in my career as I moved into nonfiction work. So, retirement led me back to writing stories and in my first year of retirement I began a novel length mystery. That first draft was really awful, but I liked the characters and the story, so I revised it, and finally got it published.


What genres do you write in?

I write humorous cozy mysteries with sassy protagonists. I’ve also published several short stories (cozies also). As I wrote more and more, I found I couldn’t hold back on the humor, so I like to give my readers lots of laughs as well as a tight plot and relatable characters. My protagonists like me are country gals.


What drew you to writing these specific genres?

Mysteries are always what I loved to read from Nancy Drew to Cherry Ames to Agatha Christie. I like the small-town setting in cozies where everyone knows everyone, but where keeping secrets can result in murder.


How did you break into the field?

I first won the MWA Florida Chapter short story contest one year. I felt that acknowledged me as a writer. Around the same time, I sent manuscripts to several small publishers. I was accepted by two of them so that within a year I had two novels in print. Unlike many authors, I don’t have enough rejections to paper my walls., so I was either very lucky or perhaps I chose the right publishers to contact.


What do you want readers to take away from reading your works?

My stories are always about family—the family you come from or the one you create. Like all families, there is both truth and lies in the relationships in the family circle. Lies and secrets even those kept for decades always come back when we least expect them to be revealed as falsehoods. The struggle of family members to maintain the lie always results in pain, sometimes in murder, but always results in some profound change in my characters’ lives.


What do you find most rewarding about writing?

What else can one do with an active fantasy life other than roll it into a story? As an introvert who spent much of my younger years entertaining myself, I still find concocting a story almost as exciting as reading one some else has created.


What do you find most challenging about writing?

Most of my books are series. Keeping the ideas fresh and entertaining and making certain my protagonist remains herself throughout the series but develops and grows is always in the back of my mind.


What advice would you give to people wanting to enter the field?

The writing part of being an author is the easy part. Getting published and then getting your books in the hands of readers is difficult. Learning about the profession by joining organizations such as Sisters in Crime, the Guppies Chapter of Sisters in Crime, Mystery Writers of America and local writing and critique groups is the most important step you can take. Attending writers’ conferences also helps to hone your craft. Don’t write in a vacuum; make contact with other writers.


What type of books do you enjoy reading?

If it’s a mystery, I’ll read it. I like to binge read mystery series. I’m reading Sue Henry’s Alaska series now. Not only are her characters well drawn and interesting, the plots are enticing and her descriptions wonderful. I feel like I’ve been traveling Alaska while in isolation in my house.


Is there anything else besides writing you think people would find interesting about you?

I’m still a country gal at heart. I love taking drives in the country to look at the farms. I especially love the cows, and I never miss our county fair so I can walk through the animal barns. There is nothing like the smell of hay, straw and that warm, funky odor of a horse.


What are the best ways to connect with you, or find out more about your work?

Go to my website, All the information on my books and buy links are there as well as background on why I write and why I love it.


About the Author

Cows, Lesley learned as a child 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 her career path, she took a job as a stripper, book cover stripper for a publishing company, that is. Now after many years as a college professor and university administrator, she has returned to the world of books and uses her country roots and her training 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.”

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