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)