No one's against a little excitement, least of all Mary Alice, and watching the sun go down on the beautiful shores of the Gulf of Mexico looks pretty tame...until a dead body washes up in the gentle waves. Since Mary Alice has managed to make the acquaintance of just about everyone in sight, the murder victim is no stranger to the sisters and they feel obliged to find the killer. But with no witnesses to the crime except a few great blue herons, the sisters have no choice but to bypass the clueless police and follow their own instincts down a murky trail of dirty real-estate deals, giant sea turtle habitats, and enough big money interests to point to a mammoth motive for murder.
Birmingham, Alabama, is a great place to call home, but even practical-minded Patricia Anne is feeling a need to get out of her rut and--sibling rivalry aside--a vacation with Mary Alice in her luxury beachfront condo in Destin, Florida, sounds like heaven. Their friend Frances and Patricia Anne's widowed daughter Haley jump at the chance to join them, so Patricia Anne kisses her ever-loving spouse Fred good-bye, with instructions for watering the plants and feeding the dog, and the girls pack up the car and head south for some fun in the sun.