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Hardworking Sylvia Saltwater managed her husband Max's successful catering company Presentation Is Everything for 35 years. Now it's her turn to pursue a dream of painting watercolors and living in a community. Sylvia convinces reluctant Max to hang up his carrot curler and retire on Martini Cove Island, a premier homeowner's community.
After buying and settling into their remodeled cottage, the couple discovers Martini Cove Island isn't the idyllic place it appears to be. With housing renovated from an old mental rest home, the island is full of secrets and a collection of unscrupulous and unsavory neighbors who've created their own set of rules. The president of the homeowner's association, Colonel Frigh bullies others to do his bidding, while his frumpy wife, Erhleen, runs the Committee for Good Taste.
An eternal optimist, Sylvia throws herself into community activities undeterred by Max's growing skepticism and his devastation at the community's fondness for food without decorative garnishes. Sylvia, who has psychic abilities, has recurring dreams about a troubled ghostly couple asking for her help. She also meets her neighbor the elderly and child-like Fern, a former rest home resident who lives in fear because of what she knows.
A light shines into the gloom when Max and Sylvia finally meet like-minded neighbors, Butterfly and Haywood, and sophisticated, wealthy Sky and Lucia. The friends band together, hoping to oust the Colonel and to reclaim the community. They nickname the island "Pinocchio Island" because of the lies the Colonel's gang tells.
Acting on her visions and with the help of her new friends, Sylvia follows clues, learning that the original Martini Cove developers, accused of stealing association funds, disappeared suddenly. Are they guilty and where are they now? Are Sylvia's psychic abilities enough to give answers?