Miss Julia has been known to roll her eyes when her good-natured husband Sam gets one of his bright ideas. This time Sam is bound and determined to rent a big beachfront house on the Isle of Palms, a barrier island off the coast of Charleston SC, and invite all of their family and close friends to join them for two weeks of sun and sand. However, she is reluctantly persuaded to go along, especially since her close friend LuAnne Conover needs a refuge while she considers whether to divorce her husband, who, she has just discovered, has been involved in a relationship with another woman for years.
Miss Julia’s longtime housekeeper, Lillian, also needs a respite from taking care of her loquacious great granddaughter Latisha, while Lillian has surgery to remove a bunion from her foot. So Latisha goes to the beach along with the rest of the crowd: Lloyd Springer, Miss Julia’s late, unlamented first husband’s natural son; Hazel Marie and Mr. Pickens and their family; Binkie and Coleman Bates and their daughter; Etta Mae Wiggins, who manages one of Miss Julia’s properties; and LuAnn.
After a few days of fun the weather takes a turn for the worse as a hurricane begins to wend its way up the coastline. Clouds roll in and the waves get higher and stronger. That’s when hundred dollar bills begin the wash ashore from a suspicious boat. Latisha’s been out every day picking up sea shells but none of the cash. Three strangers appear on the beach, asking questions about the money, and showing an unusual interest in Latisha’s shells. When the island is evacuated because of the hurricane, Miss Julia and her guests have to pack up and leave in a hurry, but are then caught in a traffic jam as thousands of tourists and locals flee inland.
Finally they make it home to Abbotsville, but Miss Julia is worried that someone has followed them from the beach in a big, black SUV with tinted windows --- someone who seems to be tracking Latisha. This 18th book in the long running cozy mystery series may be wearing a little thin around the edges, but the center still holds.
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