Legacy, NC is hosting its first regatta, and Donna has splurged on Italian sodas, fancy water, and specialty coffee, in addition to her delicious daily fare, to entice well-heeled guests to the Painted Lady. She and Mark are scheduled to have a full house for the event, hosting Yankees attending the boat races. It’s not a good time to be looking for Tennyson’s replacement, but luckily her first applicant is a gem: Rosemarie, a middle-aged woman involved in a bitter family battle over her late father’s estate.
After fending off Thelma, a self-identified psychic who’s come to warn her of a murder, the regatta’s most impressive yacht, the Foam Empress, capsizes in the first heat, and her owner, J.D. Sizemore, who’s proud to show off the latest from his specialty yacht racing line, is nowhere to be found. The only evidence of his unlikely presence on the boat — part of his braggart personality— is the captain’s hat he cockily sported before the yacht keeled over.
One of Donna’s guests is Tabitha Vorhees, the girlfriend Sizemore recently dumped, who drunkenly confides in Donna over desserts in the kitchen. Other guests are the snooty visitors from up North, Eugenia Heyer and her cousin Cynthia, who came to Legacy solely to see another cousin, Oscar, race his yacht, although they’re pleased Sizemore washed out. Turns out the dead man made a regatta full of enemies, but the lack of a body makes the case difficult to solve.
In the midst of all this, former handyman Herman (now featured in the Way Over the Hill Gang series) shows up with his lady friend, former showgirl Lola, to announce they’re on their way to Las Vegas to marry. Donna is a bit miffed that they’ve shown up unannounced at such a busy time, but eventually appreciates that lifelong bachelor Herman wants to share his life-changing relationship with his friends in Legacy.
As the mystery around Sizemore’s death deepens, Donna notices more anomalies, such as the fact that psychic Thelma’s brother, Jimmy Bobby, was hired at the last minute to replace an injured crew member, even though he has no yacht racing experience. She wonders why Tabitha, an obvious suspect in Sizemore’s murder, attended the regatta in an effort to win her way back into the heart of the man who threw her aside. And just why does Donna feel the need to rent bait shop owner Leroy’s beagle Peanut, who’s more famous for his ability to howl along with a tune than sniffing out bodies?
It’s murderous days in Legacy, North Carolina — the only recipe needed is for a few yachts and a lot of tourists to show up.