Lilly Bennett, US marshal, private security doyenne, and arbiter of taste in Roundup, Wyoming, takes a break from the hectically fashionable preparations for her wedding to transplanted New York banker/dreamboat Richard Jerome to drop into a dinner at Alma and Wade Gilhooly's—and lands in the middle of a proxy battle for the ages. In this corner is Alma, chairman of Rutherford Oil's executive committee, who's determined to bet the company on a risky Siberian oil search. On the other side is Alma's half-sister Mercedes, Rutherford chairman and CEO, who's convinced the Siberian deal will leave the family company as dead as fossil fuel. And let's not forget the half-sisters' dotty Aunt Edith, who wants to scuttle the whole spat by appointing a new Rutherford board packed with worthies like Barbra Streisand and Michael Jordan. It's not really a fair fight, because somebody caps the dinner by shooting Alma, leaving Lilly (who, moments after announcing that she's got more money she can ever spend, is enticed into the case by Wade's offer of doubling her usual fee) to put the alibis of the leading disputants—televangelist Johnny Bourbon, African hunter Kennedy McGee, ex-Montana Senator Duke Fletcher, and of course the merry widower—through a rough-toothed comb in an exhilaratingly messy runup to her nuptials. Lilly's most endearing trademark, her catty eye for high plains tackiness, fades after the opening chapters, leaving her fourth case (Tramp, 1997, etc.) appealing mostly to fans who really care what her bridesmaids will be wearing.
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