After a cold and cloudy March in quaint Tinker Cove, Maine, Lucy joins her four friends for their weekly breakfast at Jake's Donut Shack. To fight the doldrums and to honor Miss Tilley, the former librarian, they decide to organize a townwide 90th birthday party for her. The anticipation of the party plus Lucy's resolve to lose weight, do something about her wrinkles and dye her hair to cover the newly discovered gray lift her spirits until she hears that respected lawyer Sherman Cobb has been found dead in his office.
The whole town of Tinker's Cove is looking forward to the celebration marking former librarian Julia Ward Howe Tilley's ninetieth birthday. Lucy Stone, Miss Tilley's closest friend, dreamed up the party idea--at about the same time she decided she's not getting old without a fight. Noticing crow's feet and a potential jelly belly, she's resolved to exercise more and purchase some heavy-duty wrinkle cream, asap!
That sounds like a plan--until Lucy realizes her daughter's fourteenth birthday bash, a coed sleepover, may turn her hair white overnight. What was she thinking when she agreed to let Sara have the party? Obviously she wasn't thinking about the hormonal rampages of young teens. On her mind, instead, was the shocking death of Sherman Cobb, the town's oldest attorney, an apparent suicide. His law partner, however, thinks Sherman was murdered.
Poking about in Sherman's papers, Lucy turns up an intriguing tie between the dead man and Miss Tilley. Meanwhile Miss Tilley's own past has come back to haunt her in the form of a mysterious niece named Shirley and a biker great nephew named Snake. Soon no one can get to see the elderly librarian because the brash, bossy Shirley says she's "failing." Is Miss Tilley in grave danger? Will Sara's party turn out to be a scandal? Now, as a killer's ruthless plan rushes toward a conclusion, Lucy needs answers fast--or else she and Miss Tilley won't live long enough to make a wish and blow out the candles on this year's birthday cake...