Though she’s on vacation, an otherwise airheaded California girl is determined to come to grips with the serious business behind a murder.
Through some sort of complicated contest she can barely remember (as if she could remember anything not fashion-relevant), Haley Randolph has won a trip to the uber-exclusive Rowan Resort. Accompanied by three of her closest friends, she has big plans: work on her tan, watch for celebrities, and somehow find this season’s hottest bag, the polka-dot Sea Vixen. The Rowan Resort’s private beaches are well-known for being virtually inaccessible to mere mortals, so Haley’s shocked when the numerous aspiring suitors in her life keep running into her. Though Haley isn’t over the breakup with her longtime boyfriend and employer, Ty Cameron, the owner of Holt’s department stores, Howell (Evening Bags and Executions, 2013, etc.) painfully describes every beat her heart skips as she shares a long, lingering look with each of her potential romantic interests. At this rate, it’s lucky for Haley that she’s not in the emergency room for congestive heart failure. It’s also lucky, at least for Haley, that her mind has something to focus on: Jaslyn Gordon, a maid at the Rowan Resort whose murder Haley had the unfortunate distinction of discovering. In fact, Haley may be the only one interested, since the resort is determined to keep the death out of the media. Haley’s curiosity makes her resolve to find out why Jaslyn’s been murdered and by whom, even if she does have to miss some buddy-bonding beach time to do it.
In spite of some flippant fun, the disdain Howell feels for her leading lady is palpable, making Haley more of a burlesque of herself than a persuasive heroine.