Book Review: Vanishing Point-A Sharon McCone Mystery by Marcia Muller

Private investigator Sharon McCone returns from Reno a married woman after finally accepting a proposal from her longtime lover and confidant, Hy Ripinsky. In the midst of a celebration bash she agrees to look into the cold case of a missing housewife and mother who vanished on a painting trip twenty-two years ago leaving two daughters to the not so tender mercies of their father and relatives. The eldest daughter Jennifer has developed an unhealthy obsession about finding out whatever happened to her mother and with the support of her rich husband, Mark is willing to do whatever it takes to close this case.

As Sharon begins examining the case, interviewing family and friends while following up on old leads, it becomes clear that personal accounts about the woman don’t jive. Furthermore, someone is willing to do whatever it takes to scare Sharon off the case or derail it with press leaks. When Jennifer turns up missing in circumstances eerily matching those of her mother’s disappearance, Sharon finds herself investigating both cases while Mark appears to be going through a personal and professional meltdown. Hardly the stuff honeymoons are made of as Sharon and Hy try to blend their chaotic lives together including the living arrangements to be made between three residences.

The investigation turns up a twisted set of lies and worse as nothing is quite what it appears in this fast paced tale of greed, money and deceit that although it may not keep you guessing right up to the end, serves up just deserts in satisfactory fashion. It’s no wonder this series continues to gain in popularity as the storyline is well thought out with believably drawn characters and settings to match. Muller’s deft touch blends her characters personal and professional concerns together with charm and realism without being too saccharine, making for a thoroughly enjoyable read.

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