Ms America and the Offing on Oahu by Diana Dempsey. 5 out of 5 stars
This book caught me off guard. I wasn't really sure what I was expecting, but it was a murder mystery mixed with chick lit characters and a Miss Congeniality setting with a Nancy Drew feel.
It starts out with the Ms America pageant, a beauty pageant for married women, which was refreshing in that they were alot more mature than most beauty queen book characters. Ms Ohio Happy Pennington is the last to see Ms California alive. During the broadcast, right before they announce the winner, Ms California tumbles over dead. The Honolulu PD lists Happy as one of their suspects. So, what can she do? Investigate on her own, with her roommate and Ms Congeniality trailing along to help.
I enjoyed this book. As an avid fan of Nancy Drew when I was a kid, I found the beauty contestant trio who were hacking computers, sneaking into mail rooms, interviewing suspects and breaking into hotel rooms to be a lovely look back at Nancy, George and Bess. The book had moments of humour, although I did not find it as laugh out loud funny as some of the official reviews claimed. The characters were both likeable and unlikeable but always realistic. Unlike Mary Higgins Clark books, where I can always guess the 'bad guy' about 3/4 of the way in, I was pleasently surprised by the who-dun-it in this book.
I'd recommend this book. It didn't keep me up at night turning pages, but it was fun. I will definitely have to check out what else this author has written.
PS - If chick lit without the murder mystery feel is more your cup of tea, try Tanned, where we have a major Justin Bieber-like celebrity trying to hide her identity from the love of her life while dealing with a cheating ex-boyfriend, a psychotic manager and meeting (among other famous faces) Ellen Degeneres, Nick Lachey, Kim Kardashian, Ryan Seacrest and David Letterman in the process. :) xox