Ballantyne Foundation Director and PI-in-training, Elliott Lisbon, is enjoying her idyllically slow life on Sea Pine Island, South Carolina. It’s the week before the annual Beach Ball and she’s sipping Bellinis on the sidelines. Her committee involvement is limited to securing the centerpieces: scrumptious two-tiered masterpieces from the Cake & Shake. But when the head baker (and owner’s maid of honor) goes missing, Elli’s calm life gets a major shakeup. She takes the case and soon learns that missing is a relative term. These two bffs were once rivals on a local dating show. Perhaps the free spirit had reason to wander off on her own. Or perhaps she wasn’t the only woman scorned. As Elli walks the delicate line between a woman finding herself and a woman needing to be found, the days speed up and she knows something’s about to go down. From drug runners to whistleblowers to sea turtle sabotage, Elli stirs up secrets and inadvertently whips a desperate killer into a frenzy. If she doesn’t find a way out of the heat, she’s going to get burned.
Elli has back to back events - the Ballatyne Beach Ball and her friend's wedding, all using the same venue with a single set up. Only the week before the wedding, the maid of honor disappears and someone tears up the beach area to be used, and Ellie has two problems - find a new location and find Daphne. Add in the shared history of a version of the Bachelor/Reality TV director and just about everything that could go wrong does, and Elli needs to step up her investigative skills while still pulling off the event of the year. Her relationship with Ransom (detective) doesn't help her as it's a different jurisdiction.
The story has many twists and turns and complications. Tucker and Juliette's ideal wedding, the turtles, chasing down leads, and traveling to Atlanta and Charlotte. The ending is not expected. The Elliott Lisbon Mystery series is a fun series and Elli is definitely a force to be reckoned with. Although the 5th in the series, it is easily read as a stand-alone mystery.