Signet, April 2002, 5.99, 272 pp.
When Skye Denison was the valedictorian of her graduating high school class, she made an inflammatory speech. She implied that she was too good for her backwater town and couldn't wait to start the good life in a big city. Two years ago, Skye returned home, broke, out of work and without a place to hang her hat. Eating crow, she accepted a position as the district school psychologist thanks to the influence of her Uncle Charles.
Since she moved back, she solved two murder cases and lost two boyfriends (the sheriff and the coroner) because she refused to heed their advice and quit sleuthing. Murder is the last thing on her mind when she enters the high school gym and finds the body of a dead girl. The victim is the most beautiful and popular girl in school, one who was going to play Sleeping Beauty in the school play. When it becomes obvious the girl was murdered, Skye starts snooping once again determined that she, as an insider of the school system, could find out things the police can't obtain.
Denise Swanson has written another charming amateur sleuth tale that takes the readers into the complete and often vicious world of beauty pageants. There are so many suspects who would have liked to see the victim dead that the protagonist is working double time checking out all the suspects. MURDER OF A SLEEPING BEAUTY is a winner by anyone's standards.
This report prepared by Harriet Klausner