China Bayles is in a pickle. The daughter of her best friend, Ruby, has turned up on her doorstep, pregnant and in need of a place to live. And her otherwise sensible husband has announced that he's bored with teaching and ready for a career change." "Say "hello" to P.I. Mike McQuaid and Associates. There aren't actually any "associates" - unless you count Ruby and China, of course. But the title does have a nice, official ring to it. His first client is Phoebe the Pickle Queen, owner of the biggest little pickle business in Texas. According to Phoebe, her plant manager is embezzling, and she wants McQuaid to follow the money." Meanwhile, Pecan Springs is hosting the annual Picklefest - and this year, China and Ruby are on the planning committee, along with Phoebe. But just days before the festival starts, the Pickle Queen disappears. Some say she sold her business and split; others think the answer may lie with her missing boyfriend. It's up to McQuaid and China to search for the Pickle Queen - and for clues in a case that promises to leave a very sour taste.