"Dumpster Dying" By Lesley A. Diehl; 978-1-61009-006-3; Softcover; $14.95; Murder-Mystery Novel; 230 Pages; Publication Date: 2011; Published by: Oak Tree Press.
Dumpster Dying" by Lesley A. Diehl is about murder and mayhem in Central Florida's Big Lake Country. Author Diehl travels every winter to Florida where, she says, "I come to Big Lake to write, hang out in cowboy bars, and immerse myself in the Florida that used to be. No beaches, no bikinis, no sand. Just cows, horses and gators."
Main character Emily Rhodes is the new bartender at the Big Lake Country Club. Like so many snowbirds, she migrates from the North every winter to her trailer park home to enjoy "the golden years."
Emily has lost Fred, her significant other, and is left without money that she is aware of. She struggles with finances, and any inheritance from Fred is unlikely as his wealthy ex-wife wants it all!
Mystery commences right from the first page when Emily takes out trash bags to the clubhouse dumpster after closing the bar. She detects a white object in the dumpster - a cowboy hat! It's one she recognized from earlier in the evening as a "Silver Belly," a very expensive hat worn by an obnoxious patron she had served. Beneath the hat she discovers his dead body covered in blood. Shortly after her discovery the police arrive, telling her they had received an anonymous call about the body. Since she is the only one there, she is cuffed and hauled off to jail.
Clara Rogers, manager of the bar and restaurant, is well-known by the authorities. She gets Emily out of custody and advises her about needing to get a good lawyer - one who can deal with Fred's ex and get her out of this mess. Emily and Clara join forces to find the killer, or killers, and encounter another murdered man who happens to be Clara's ex-con husband, Fat Eddie. The murder weapon is found in Clara's house and now she's also a suspect. The plot thickens!
Chaos abounds in and around trailer park life, with a cast of colorful characters who surround Emily and Clara in a complex plot that is wonderfully scripted and pulled together by the author. Florida comes alive with many passionate family and friends helpfully intervening, and would-be suitors attentive to Emily all play detective to find out how the two murders might be connected. Readers will be amused by life around the golf course, tactics of a dirty cop, a retired lawyer who comes out of a nursing home to defend Emily, a very conservative judge, and a serious wildfire surrounding the area that adds excitement to the story.
"Dumpster Dying" is filled with humor and great dialogue. An exciting whirlwind of events are enmeshed, revealing hidden family secrets and tension as the culprits are discovered.
This book is highly recommended. The author has written a red-hot novel which brings out the "Sherlock Holmes" in all mystery lovers.
1. Treachery in Death, J.D. Robb
2. Pale Demon, Kim Harrison
3. Gideon's Sword, Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child
4. A Discovery of Witches, Deborah Harkness
5. Tick Tock, James Patterson & Michael Ledwidge
1. Unbroken, Laura Hillenbrand
2. Known and Unknown, Donald Rumsfeld
3. Decision Points, George W. Bush
4. Peace from Broken Pieces, Iylanla Vazant
5. Against All Odds, Scott Brown