She Walks In Beauty Author:Sarah Shankman Arriving in Atlantic City for a week on the Miss America beat, Sam Adams is far from pleased. In fact the only bright spot is her broad-shouldered young boyfriend Harry, tagging along for fun and frolic. But soon Sam finds she's entered an intricate realm of swimsuit competitions and falsies, bookmakers and groupies -- where inner beauty may be ... more »hidden by perfect skin, and the only the sharpest eye can spot the cracks in deception's sleek veneer.
First an obnoxious pageant judge nearly drowns a local youth in the hotel swimming pool. Then the judge mysteriously, completely disappears. Sam suspects foul play. Harry bets her one thousand dollars that it's not. And while Sam's getting the inside story on flamboyant Miss America contenders like the rich, ribald Miss Texas and the black, beautiful, magical Miss Louisiana, Harry and his old pal Lavert Washington are out trying to prove Sam wrong.
Skulking around the scene like subliminal messages are the hotel's creepy security guard; a local bon vivant with a special interest in the Marilyn Monroe-look-alike Miss New Jersey; two very amateur filmmakers; and a fearsome little windbreaker-clad loan shark. As preliminary points are tallied, a boozy judge says she hears voices in her room telling her which girl has to win -- or else.
When Miss New Jersey's boop-boop-a-doop gown is stolen, and two hotel employees wind up missing, the wheel of fortune is spinning as if it's never going to stop. In the two-faced world of Atlantic City, where glitzy casinos nudge burned-out slums, Sam's on a case as risky as any she's pursued. Is 'pretty is as pretty does' during the near-religious fervor of pageant week? While the faithful wait for the winner to shine among the bugle beads and sequins, Sam searches for the deadly glimmer of truth.« less