Book: Vanishing Point (Marcia Muller)

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Vanishing Point: A Sharon McCone Mystery

Author: Marcia Muller
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Publisher: Mysterious Press

In the latest installment in this critically acclaimed series, McCone is hired to investigate one of San Luis Obispo Countys most puzzling cold cases. A generation ago, Laurel Greenwood, a housewife and artist, inexplicably vanished, leaving her young daughter alone. Now, new evidence suggests that the missing woman may have led a strange double life. But before McCone can penetrate the tangled mystery, she must first solve a second disappearancethat of her client, the now grown daughter of Laurel Greenwood. The case, which forces Sharon to explore the darker sides of two marriages, comes uncomfortably close on the heels of her own marriage to Hy Ripinsky, and she begins to doubt the wisdom of her impulsive trip to the Reno wedding chapel.

For a Nevada wedding, the nuptials between Sharon McCone and sexy fellow investigator Hy Ripinsky are downright tasteful: no Elvis impersonators, no plastic flowers, no embarrassing last-minute bailout by a bride well known for her phobia to commitment. This time, McCone has displayed the smarts she uses in her successful detective firm and chosen a guy who respects her as a professional and shares her passions. But living together in her beloved little house on Church Street may be another matter entirely, especially when Hy suggests they need a bigger place.

The looming crisis of who will compromise first is delayed when Hy heads out of town on business and McCone dives into one of her most baffling cases yet—the disappearance of Laurel Greenwood, who vanished twenty-two years before without a trace. Laurel’s grown-up daughter is desperately seeking closure and wants McCone to find out the fate of the young mother and artist who never returned from a day of landscape painting in a Central California coastal town.

The case is cold, and the evidence McCone begins uncovering is chilling. Secrets kept for two decades now emerge to create a portrait of a woman who’s perfect on the surface and anything but a paragon beneath it. And when someone takes potshots at McCone to scare her into dropping her inquiries, the detective’s resolve hardens. She intends to uncover the truth—the whole truth—even when it awakens her suspicions that the bonds of marriage can easily become chains, and that escaping them may lead to desperate acts…or murderous ones.

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