Marcia Muller. Vanishing Point (2006) 323 pp.
It’s cold case time again for newlywed PI Sharon McCone. At the party celebrating her wedding to longtime lover Hy Ripinsky, Sharon is approached by her close friend—and former colleague—Rae Kelleher with a job proposition. Twenty-two years ago, Laurel Greenwood, an artist and young mother, disappeared without a trace from the Central California coast town of Morro Bay. Now, her grown daughter, Jennifer (a friend of Rae’s), is desperate to find out what happened to her mother. Although she does not believe that anything good can come from finding out what happened to Laurel—especially if Laurel is still alive—Sharon agrees to take the case. The search leads from the coastal towns of Paso Robles and Morro Bay to a flat on Fell Street in San Francisco, to Santa Rosa, Crescent City, Klamath Falls, and Crater Lake. Along the way, Sharon exposes not one, but two highly dysfunctional marriages, and brings her up against someone willing to kill in order to keep the past buried.
Setting: San Francisco; Central California coast; Northern California; Southern Oregon