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Wilma Mabry is a widowed piano teacher and the organist at the Methodist Church, living a simple orderly life in Swan’s Knob, NC until the day that her daughter Sarah unexpectedly arrives on her doorstep with Wilma’s little granddaughter Starling and a bunch of mismatched luggage. Sarah’s sorry husband Harper is not far behind her, and--wouldn’t you just know it?--he gets into town on the very night a young police officer is shot dead out on the by-pass. From that moment, Miss Wilma’s life begins to come undone bit by bit, like a French twist that falls down in your face because you didn’t use enough hairspray.
When all of Swan’s Knob gets wrapped up in this awful crime, Wilma’s family is sucked into the fray. Of course, it falls to Miss Wilma to straighten the whole thing out. Add to the mix Roy Swan, a fifty-ish bachelor who owns about half the town and has been sweet on Miss Wilma for a long time, and pretty soon, Miss Wilma has acquired a house full of troubles: a heart-broken pregnant daughter, a cuckold son-in-law, a confused granddaughter, and even her daughter’s itinerant lover. In the chaos that ensues, Miss Wilma finds herself making breakfast for a murder suspect, hiding erotic photographic evidence in her organ bench, providing musical accompaniment for a wedding, a funeral and an unspeakable act, going out on her first date in 20 years, and naturally, solving the crime.