Muller's Talent Hasn't Vanished
Fans of Marcia Muller's Sharon McCone
series will appreciate that after the heart-break McCone underwent during The Dangerous Hour
, that Muller is letting McCone enjoy a little happiness.
The Vanishing Point
opens with McCone's wedding reception. She and Hy Ripinsky have returned from their spur-of-the-moment trip to Vegas firmly wed. They fly back to find a surprise party waiting for them to usher them into married life. Given that both of them are independent workaholics, it is then appropriate that during the reception, Sharon gets approached with a job request.
McCone and her agency began investigating the 20-year-old disappearance of a wife and mother. The daughter has become increasingly agitated and feels she need to know what happened to her mother. But digging up old history gets someone riled up.
Muller's latest offering once again showcases the efficiency of McCone's entire agency. This isn't a lone private investigator who single-handedly manages to solve the case, track down the villain, and get in a gunfight. She draws upon the resources of a diverse group of people with a variety of talents.
Granted, this means there are a lot of characters-each with their own families and myriad relationships. Sometimes it can get confusing to track all of these characters but for the most part they are distinctly drawn and the reader can quickly place them. This does give an advantage to long-time readers of the series as they'll be far more intimate with the backgrounds of the large number of recurring characters. However, Muller does provide enough information so that the newcomer to the series is not lost.
McCone also expresses some pretty hard-line attitudes about suicide and abandonment in this book. They're not comfortable views and more than one reader might find it off-putting. It is these attitudes, though, that help to drive McCone throughout this investigation as she tries to determine what happened to her client's mother.
The Vanishing Point
also gives fans of the series their first look at the married life of Hy and Sharon. For anyone who was worried that they would settle into a domesticity that would alienate them from the adventures that make the mysteries fast-paced reading, have no fear. They are far from a conventional couple. Neither of them get much of a honeymoon as they are both pulled away by career demands almost immediately, able to share only a few hours here and there.
While Hy's career may be primarily a device to keep him from overly interfering with the plot line (and providing the occasional job for McCone), enough tantalizing hints are dropped that one almost wishes Muller would start another series covering Hy's adventures.
With the July 10, 2006 publication of The Vanishing Point
, Muller is a year away from the 30th anniversary of McCone's first appearance. With her marriage, McCone is beginning a new chapter of her life and the series seems far from over. More than a decade after Muller won the Private Eye Writer's of America Lifetime Achievement Award, she continues to prove that her achievements are still piling up.