A Fourth of July fireworks display provides the perfect cover for murder.
Everyone in Dixie, Tennessee, loves Independence Day, and everyone loves party planner Liv McKay’s efforts on behalf of the town’s celebration—at least until unpopular councilman Bubba Rowland is found shot to death in a port-a-potty. Plenty of people hated Bubba, but Sheriff Eulyse “Dave” Davidson seizes on Earl Daniels as the killer when ballistic testing matches the fatal bullet to the rifle he brought to the fireworks in his pickup truck. Although Liv and her BFF, Di Souther, are no strangers to sleuthing (It’s Your Party, Die If You Want To, 2016, etc.), this time they’re forced to investigate, since Earl has just become engaged to Liv’s Mama, and her happiness is at stake. Liv tries to placate her sister, who’s furious about the marriage, and support her Mama by helping plan the wedding, which becomes more grandiose with every passing day. There are plenty of other suspects, and a large number of Dixie residents think Earl’s innocent; all Liv has to do is find the guilty party. Liv and Di obligingly dig up dirt about a real estate scam Bubba may have been involved in and note that even on the day of his death Bubba made new enemies by anointing his niece Miss Dixie when it was obvious that another candidate was more talented. Di, who’s dating the sheriff, picks up inside information while Liv mines the town’s gossip network for clues to prove Earl innocent and make her Mama happy.
Readers who enjoy Deborah Sharp’s Florida-based series should welcome this look at a very Southern lifestyle, complete with appended party plans.