Tampa Tribune travel reporter Emily Stone, back in the Ozark town of Branson, Mo., to cover the Hot Country awards show, hits the jackpot at the very first party she goes to, when hard-driving starlet Stella Love (1) announces for Emily's eavesdropping ears alone that she's sucked her last sugar daddy at the hands of her one-eyed mentor John Hackett, whose help she doesn't need with her career anymore, thank you, and (2) ends the festivities by taking a header off her former sugar daddy's balcony. Sheriff Ron Turner seems satisfied that Stella's death was an accident, but then he's been interested in Irene Hackett for too long to want to make waves in the family, so it's up to Emily to check out a list of suspects that includes legendary Hot Country host Lyle Malone; Monica Deal, who may have been worried Stella would bump her out of her slot as one of Lyle's Goodtime Gals; Robert Simmons, the old flame who's followed Stella, over her complaints to the police, all the way from Texas; and of course the lovey-dovey Hacketts themselves. Emily's hardcover debut showcases three big discoveries: She looks great in denim; vacation food is worth the calories and cholesterol; and country singers not only don't want to die, they don't even want to get old. Best on Emily's bittersweet coming to terms with her own Missouri roots. No mystery to speak of.