A plucky geologist and her deerhound almost lose their lives in North Carolina.
Cleo Cooper has everything in place to secure the $4 million bank loan needed to cover the mining of a granite deposit on her elderly friend Gladys’ land. Gladys has agreed to lease the acreage to her, and she’s lined up a site crew to collect data, core samples and so forth. But then, bad luck strikes. A rattler takes over her car’s back seat. A rifle shot fells Tulip, her trusty deerhound. Cleo falls into a well and lands on a wrapped and roped dead body. Wait, there’s more. Not only does Gladys disappear, but her loathsome adult children, Robert Earle and Shirley, insist that she’s given them a power of attorney leaving them in possession of the rights to all that valuable granite. When core samples are stolen and a bridge collapses, delaying any site work, Cleo whiles away her time by bedding handsome former geologist Nash Finley and ignoring her ex-husband Bud’s attempts to seduce her. The local sheriff identifies the dead body. Cleo’s banker tells her of another group’s plans for quarrying the granite at her site. Robert Earle succumbs to fatal stabbing by yucca plant. Shirley elopes with a scoundrel. Cleo will be confined in a root cellar and finally followed on a harrowing boat excursion before most everything turns out okay.
Mims, a former field geologist who clearly knows mining protocol, equipment and land resources, seasons Cleo’s debut with too many Perils-of-Pauline impediments and too much romantic folderol.