Spiked Punch



Spiked Punch (Maddie Sparks Mystery Series)
by Lesley A Diehl

About Spiked Punch


Spiked Punch (Maddie Sparks Mystery Series)
Cozy Mystery
1st in Series
Setting – Upstate New York
Camel Press (November 14, 2023)
Paperback ‏ : ‎ 248 pages
ISBN-10 ‏ : ‎ 1684921252
ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-1684921256
Digital ASIN ‏ : ‎ B0C6NR8C3G


On the other side of seventy, Maddie Sparks decides to spice up her life by changing her writing interests from cozy mysteries to romance. She also determines her appearance should reflect this transformation in her writing career. A sassy new haircut and more fashionable clothes complete the newer Maddie Sparks. Before she can begin this new chapter in her life, a stabbing death in the quiet country village she has made her home shocks the town’s residents.

When her son is accused of the murder, Maddie and the acting county sheriff come together to find the real killer. Their relationship soon blooms into more than one of shared determination to solve the murder. As they enjoy a hike in a nearby park, someone shoots the sheriff, barely missing Maddie. Another killer could be loose in the area, and the person may be closer to Maddie than she realizes. Maddie discovers parts of herself she didn’t know existed: real life romance with the sheriff, a talent for sleuthing and room in her life for a fuzzy, orange cat named “Spike.” This recent lease on life may be more exciting and more dangerous than Maddie expects.

About Lesley A. Diehl

Cows, Lesley learned 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 a good career choice, instead she uses her country roots and her training as a psychologist 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.” She is the author of the Eve Appel mysteries from Camel Press as well as several cozy mystery series and numerous short stories. Go to her webpage to find out more: www.lesleyadiehl.com.


Q&A With the Author:

What did you enjoy most about writing this book?

In the past, all my cozy mystery series have featured women between thirty and forty years old. I finally decided to write about a female protagonist who is around my own age. It was so much easier getting into her head because I understood her more rather than relying on either the memory of what it was like to be younger or trying to discover what it’s like to be those ages now. So I created Maddie, a woman over seventy in years, but so, so young in spirit.

I also decided to put a cat into my book, something I wanted to do for many years, but I didn’t just want the cat to be present. I wanted the cat to be part of solving the mystery. And this one is! Spike is large, and furry and always hungry. He seems to have the ability to tell the good guys from the bad guys, and he’s always ready to do what he can to defend Maddie, the woman who has adopted him (or as he puts it, the woman who serves as his unpaid staff!). I chose the name Spike for him because we usually think of the name as one better suited to a dog than a cat, but once you meet Spike you will understand it is the perfect name for this smart, bold and handsome feline fella.

Maddie never thought of having a cat in her life, but just the most recent rescue in our family which we were to foster for a month and who has been with us for a year, the bond with a cat can happen without the human suspecting it—I believe the cat always knows and that’s why both Spike and my cat have that look on their face as if they have secret knowledge humans aren’t privy to.

I also delighted in creating characters that are part of my protagonist’s family, two sons, very different from each other and a granddaughter, Sara, who doesn’t look much like Maddie but who displays Maddie’s curiosity in everything happening in their small village, including murder. Sara’s father, who is Maddie’s oldest son, doesn’t understand his mother’s interest and interference in everything around her and he’s doubly displeased that his daughter is so bonded to Maddie and seems to be taking on his mother’s same snoopiness. Maddie’s other son is a defense lawyer, a profession that comes in handy when the older son is accused of murder.

And then there’s romance. I loved showing the seventy-year-old (plus a few years!) Maddie falling in love with a younger man. Well, you judge. He’s in his sixties but this is one hot romance. 

What a delight to have Maddie discover new aspects of herself tracking down a killer, adopting a pet and finding love. She’s surprised, but oh so pleased at what her life has become.

Do you have any other books you are working on that you can tell us about?

I have written a book set in the 1970s which features a woman in her thirties and her outrageous aunt and two grandmothers. The characters are the same ones I used in short stories included in a number of Thanksgiving anthologies. I had so much fun with the aunt and grandmothers that I thought they warranted a book length treatment. The manuscript is scheduled for publication in 2024.

I also am working on two short stories, one of which will be included in a Halloween/Thanksgiving anthology, and another based on the 1983 hit by Cyndi Lauper entitled “Girls Just Wanna Have Fun.” Check my website www.lesleyadiehl.com for more information.

Of course, a reader might enjoy looking at my already published books, all cozy mysteries. All my mysteries, whether short stories or novel length such as my most recent series, Eve Appel mysteries, are cozy mysteries and are light, humorous reads.

I have submitted the second book in the Maddie Sparks mysteries to my publisher and it should appear next year.

Can you tell us about what you have planned for the future?

There will be other books in the Maddie Sparks mysteries, and I will continue to write short stories also. I like to write short stories with animals as protagonists. My website reveals I have used pot-bellied pigs and donkeys as lead characters.

How long have you been writing?

I have been writing for over ten years. My first book, A Deadly Draught, is a cozy mystery with a woman who owns and operates a craft brewery as the protagonist. It was followed by Poisoned Pairings, featuring the same protagonist. They are perfect books for reading as autumn turns to winter. There’s nothing like a craft brew, cheese, a dark bread and a mystery in front of the fire.

Another series is set in a college town in Upstate New York (the Laura Murphy mysteries). Because I spent my winters in rural Florida, two other series (The Big Lake Murder Mysteries; Eve Appel Mysteries) are set among the swamps, cowboys, cattle, palm trees, pastures and alligators found in Florida’s ranching country. What better place to hide a body than in a swamp?

Anything more you would like to say to your readers and fans?

I love to write cozy mysteries with humorous elements in them. They are the perfect read to escape the real world, sometimes filled with events we’d rather not focus on. A good laugh lightens life and gives us hope for the future. In cozy mysteries, there is always a happy ending, often a moral to the story that we can apply to our own lives and those behaving badly get theirs!

Author Links
Website www.lesleyadiehl.com

Blog www.lesleyadiehl.com/blog

Facebook www.facebook.com/lesley.diehl.1

GoodReads www.goodreads.com/3414925.Lesley_A_Diehl

Amazon www.amazon.com/author/lesleydiehl

Purchase LinksAmazonB&NKobo – 



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  1. Thanks for interviewing me today. It was fun answering your questions.


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