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Mary Alice loses no time in making the acquaintance of just about everyone in sight, so watching the sun go down on the beautiful shores of the Gulf of Mexico is a welcome respite as far as Patricia Anne is concerned. . .until a dead body washes up in the waves and the victim turns out to be one of Mary Alice's newfound friends. With no witnesses t the crime except a few great blue herons, the sisters have no choice but to bypass the clueless police and follow their own instinct to find the killer. Before long they_re on a murky trail of dirty real-estate deals, giant turtle habitats, and a sea of evidence pointing to a mammoth motive for murderer.
It's hard to believe practical, petite ex-schoolteacher Patricia Anne and amiable, ample-bodied, and outrageous Mary Alice are sisters, yet sibling rivalry has survived decades of good-natured disagreement about everything from husbands to hair color. No sooner do the Southern sisters discover a common interest in some local art, when they're arguing the artistic merits of some well-coiffured heads at a gallery opening. A few hours later, one of those pretty ladies ends up dead -- with not a hair out of place. The other shows up on Patricia Anne's doorstep dazed, disheveled, and telling a wild tale of a narrow escape from some deadly cuts. Now the sisters are once again combing for clues to catch a killer with a bizarre style in art -- and murder.
Practical Patricia Anne has put away her aunt-of-the-bride blue chiffon and settled back into domesticity when fun-loving Mary Alice calls to say they have a post-wedding date with a genealogist from the groom's side of the family. Lunch is a fascinating lesson on the hazards of finding dirty linens in ancestral boudoirs that ends abruptly when their guest scurries off with the local judge, leaving the sisters with their mouths open -- and finishing their luncheon companion's cheesecake -- when the police arrive.
Their mysterious guest has taken a plunge from the ninth floor of the courthouse building -- an apparent suicide. But given the scandals a nosy genealogist might have uncovered, the sisters are betting that some proud Southern family is making sure their shameful secrets stay buried. . .along with anyone who tries to dig them up.
Patricia Anne -- "Mouse" -- is respectful, respectable, and demure, a perfect example of genteel Southern womanhood. Mary Alice -- "Sister" -- is big, brassy, flamboyant, and bold. Together they have a knack for finding themselves in the center of some of Birmingham's most unfortunate unpleasantness.
Country Western is red hot these days, so overimpulsive Mary Alice thinks it makes perfect sense to buy the Skoot 'n' Boot bar -- since that's where the many-times-divorced "Sister" and her boyfriend du jour like to hang out anyway. Sensible retired schoolteacher Patricia Anne is inclined to disagree -- especially when they find a strangled and stabbed dead body dangling in the pub's wishing well. The sheriff has some questions for Mouse and her sister Sister, who were the last people, besides the murderer, of course, to see the ill-fated victim alive. And they had better come up with some answers soon -- because a killer with unfinished business has begun sending them some mighty threatening messages...