Samantha Adams, a cynical, crime journalist for the Atlanta Constitution, travels on assignment to Atlantic City, New Jersey to cover the Miss America Pageant. She brings her boyfriend Harry and her dog Harpo along for the weekend, a weekend that she assumes will be filled with vacuous females, spangles and glitter. But, when one of the judges fails to show up for the first evening's show, Sam sees his disappearance as a chance to use her investigative skills. Harry and his friend Lavert bet against Sam that the judge's disappearance was not through sinister means.
While Sam talks to the manager of the Pageant, hotel telephone operators, the head of housekeeping at the hotel, and various friends and relatives of the missing judge, she discovers that Miss America is not the air-headed beauty contest that she expected. She finds humor and substance behind the gorgeous facades of Miss Louisiana and Miss Texas, ambition in the eyes of Miss Georgia, and power in the guise of Miss New Jersey.
Things come to a header when the nephew of the hotel magnate is also proclaimed missing. Sam, Harry, and Lavert share their findings with the local police department. Subplots include Mafia relationships, filmmaking, the quest to better one's situation, love/romance, and gambling.
This report prepared by Samantha S.