Marcia Muller. Games to Keep the Dark
Away (1984) 148 pp.
Reclusive photographer Abe Snelling hires San Francisco private investigator
Sharon McCone to find his missing roommate, Jane Anthony. Jane has disappeared
from the Potrero Hill home that she shares with Abe and he is concerned
for her safety. The search takes Sharon to Jane’s hometown of Salmon Bay,
on the Central California coast. Sharon meets several people from Jane’s
past, including her mother, her former boss, her former lover, and other
acquaintances, but no one wants to talk. Even Abe seems to be keeping secrets.
Then Sharon discovers Jane’s body lying in the surf under an old pier and
a simple missing persons case has suddenly become much more serious. Before
she moved to San Francisco, Jane had been a social worker at a local hospice
called The Tidepools. She left The Tidepools after a several patients apparently
committed suicide, choosing to end their suffering sooner rather than later.
But were they really suicides? Or something more sinister? Sharon’s investigation
takes her back to San Francisco, then back to Salmon Bay and neighboring
Port San Marco, turns up another murder victim, earns her an unplanned
swim in the ocean, and even leads her to a little bit of romance.
Setting: San Francisco (Potrero Hill); “Port San Marco” and “Salmon
Bay” (Central California coast)