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Reviewed by Liz Konkel for Readers' Favorite
Mud Bog Murder by Lesley A. Diehl is a cozy mystery with twists that keep coming until the end. Eve Appel is your seemingly normal, independent and sassy woman who, along with her best friend Madeleine, runs a fashion, jewelry, and houseware shop out of a rig. When customer Jenny McCleary comes into the store, looking for a wedding dress, Eve receives the news that the woman is also planning mud bog races on her ranch in order to make money. Eve and Madeleine join their friends from the Miccosukee tribe at a protest against the races, but just as things get started, a head is flung at Eve, starting a case that only gets stranger. The head belongs to Jenny and the list of suspects for her murder keeps growing. Much to the dismay of her detective friend and her sort of boyfriend, private investigator Alex, Eve decides to take it upon herself to solve the case.
Lesley A. Diehl plays the rules of a cozy mystery with the cushioned job and a nosy protagonist, but that’s where the comparisons end. Diehl isn’t afraid to push boundaries with a brazen and sassy Eve, giving her trust issues and an enjoyment of hard liquor, a couple of traits common with hard-boiled detectives. She’s made a name for herself as a nuisance, but when Jenny McCleary’s daughter, Shelley, asks for her help, she can’t say no. Eve is easy to relate to as she struggles to figure out who she is, apart from her failed marriage and her sort of relationship with Alex, and who she wants to be. Mud Bog Murder has several serious moments that address social issues, but the novel isn’t without its humor, including an alligator stuck in the store they’re remodeling. Mud Bog Murder is rich with heart, strength of character, and independence. A must-read for any lover of mystery!