Marcia Muller. Edwin of the Iron Shoes: A Novel of Suspense (1977) 178 pp.
Sharon McCone is a young woman trying to make it as a private eye in San Francisco. She works as the staff investigator for All Souls Cooperative, a legal aid agency for low-income clients. When Joan Albritton, the owner of antique shop, is found murdered in her store, Sharon is assigned to the case. Joan was one of several small-time curio shop owners who were in the process of deciding whether or not to sell their businesses to real estate speculators (the shops are located in the vicinity of a proposed new convention center and land values are expected to soar). Although there are several suspects, the only witnesses to the crime were Joan’s longtime “friends:” Clothilde, a headless French dressmaker’s dummy; Bruno, a stuffed German shepherd; and Edwin, a little boy mannequin with iron shoes who has a taste for art. Despite threats on her life, Sharon is determined to stay on the case, especially after she is patronized and discouraged by the police lieutenant in charge of the homicide. Setting out to prove her competence in the face of his disapproval, she encounters further mayhem and death as she discovers that neither antiques nor people are exactly what they seem. Muller’s first novel, and the first in the long-running Sharon McCone series.
Setting: San Francisco