Chris Landrum's idyllic life of retirement on the South Carolina barrier island of Folly Beach just got turned upside down. After more than two decades, his ex-wife, Joan, calls to wish him a merry Christmas. He can tell she wants to tell him something more, but their conversation is cut short before he learns anything. Something's up.
A second call from Joan's best friend delivers startling news. Joan's husband has just been killed in an automobile accident in the Smoky Mountains of Tennessee, and Joan wants Chris to investigate. Even though it's hundreds of miles from Chris's peaceful beach cottage, he agrees to help.
Meanwhile, Chris's best and strangest friend, Charles, joins the working world as a bartending private detective, two jobs he stumbles and bumbles through with equal measures of incompetence. Country Cal, an aging country music singer and new bar owner, hires Charles to catch a petty thief who is stealing bourbon and cash. Heather, a psychic and Charles's main squeeze, blames ghosts; since no one can figure out how the culprit is breaking in, she seems to be right.
Unfortunately for Chris, he's got a little more to worry about than missing booze. It looks like Joan's husband was murdered. Now, Chris has to find the culprit before he becomes the next victim—hardly a day at the beach!