It's 1974 and Ellison Russell's life revolves around her daughter and her art. She's long since stopped caring about her cheating husband, Henry, and the women with whom he entertains himself. That is, until she becomes a suspect in Madeline Harper's death. The murder forces Ellison to confront her husband's proclivities and his crimes - kinky sex, petty cruelties, and blackmail. As the body count approaches par on the seventh hole, Ellison knows she has to catch a killer.
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With his dying breath, Bobby Lowell begs Ellison Russell, "Tell her I love her." Unable to refuse, Ellison struggles to find the girl the murdered boy loved. Too bad an epically bad blind date, a vindictive graffiti artist, and multiple trips to the emergency room keep getting in the way. Worse, a killer has Ellison in his sights, her newly rebellious daughter is missing, and there's yet another body in her hostas. Mother won't be pleased.
When Ellison Russell is nearly killed at a benefactors' party, she brushes the incident aside as an unhappy accident. But when her house is fire-bombed, she's shot at, and the person sitting next to her at a gala is poisoned, she must face facts. Someone wants her dead. But why? And can Ellison find the killer before he strikes again? Add in an estranged sister, a visiting aunt with a shocking secret, and a handsome detective staying in her guesthouse, and Ellison might need more than cream in her coffee.
Haunted houses are scary enough without knife-wielding clowns. Especially murderous knife-wielding clowns. So thinks Ellison Russell, single mother, artist, and reluctant sleuth. Now death wears a red nose, and Ellison is up to the blood-stained collar of her new trench coat in costumes, caffeine, and possible killers. Who stabbed Brooks Harney, and why? Money? Jealousy? Drugs?