The grand old town of Roundup is going to hell in a handbasket, according to Lilly Bennett's mother, because two ladies intend to wear trousers to the symphony gala. No matter, the holiday season is in high gear, and Lilly thinks the glitzy Children's Hospital Christmas fund-raiser is going to be a ball.  Instead, it becomes funeral.

Dead is Baroness Rita von Singen und Mengen. Overdressed and grossly overweight, the baroness used to be plain old Rita Haye, as in Haye Tool and Bit, before her daddy bought her a German aristocrat named Heinrich. Rita and her husband have hosted the social event of the season, and except for Rita's gold boots and gold Stetson, there's nothing faux about the party. It was a jammed-to-the-rafters good time...until the butler found the corpse.

Now Lilly is determined to discover who put the bullet in Rita's pudgy forehead.  Heading her list should be handsome husband Heinrich, who had the most to gain (a large fortune) and the most to lose (a truly frightful wife). But then why would he hire Lilly to find the murderer? Lilly's suspicious mind turns to the women who are practically killing themselves, and maybe each other, to become Heinrich's next bride. When another lady bites the dust during what passes for a debutante ball, logic tells Lilly she's on the right track. But her gut instincts point to a more lonesome trail: toward a killer–and a showdown–that could leave her dead in her boots.