Book Review: “Vanishing Point”

We’ve got a treat for you today. For the first time in the storied history of the Gazette, MLB has agreed to appear “in her own words,” in the form of the following book report. The reason is simple. The Hachette Book Group sent me an unsolicited copy of the subject book for review purposes. I’m not a fan of the mystery genre, but my wife has been for many years. She’s got every Agatha Christie book in print, as well as extensive collections of authors like Ngaio Marsh, Tony Hillerman and many of the more contemporary authors whom I don’t recognize. So, I outsourced the review to her, figuring she’d bring a more credible eye and commentary…which she has.

Eric is not the greatest mystery fan, so I was the beneficiary of his last free book. Please bear with a neophyte review.

Vanishing Point by Marcia Muller was billed as a “lite summer read” and lived up to its billing. While this is obviously one of a series, it is the first Sharon McCone mystery for me. I did not find it hard to get into, so not having read the other books in the series was not a drawback.

Ms. McCone is hired immediately after returning from her honeymoon to find a missing person – missing from twenty something years ago. The client is the daughter of the missing woman and she wants to find out more about the disappearance of a loving, caring mother. Of course, the more the mystery is explored, the more mysterious it becomes and the loving, caring mother turns into someone a little more complex.

I was mystified by a newly married couple who would return from their honeymoon, immediately go their separate ways and check in with one another only every now and then, but perhaps that’s a hallmark of a couple that gets together later in life.

Even though it was my first Sharon McCone, she seems to be annoyingly accomplished to me. I don’t mind if my detective is a caterer as is Goldy Schulz in Diane Mott Davidson’s mysteries or a teacher/show poodle breeder a la Melanie Travis in Laurien Berenson’s mystery series. Heck, I don’t mind if she’s Harry Minor Haristeen, the postmistress with “talking” dogs and cats. But I do get a little tired of the female detectives who are accomplished at everything they do – like Kay Scarpetta, in Patricia Cornwell’s books. This prejudice doesn’t keep me from reading almost all the books, but I do seem to prefer a detective, amateur or not, that can’t do absolutely everything well.

All that aside, this was what I would classify as a good “popcorn” book; a nice book to read when you want to relax and enjoy something without the burden of thinking too hard. It was fun, easy, good for the beach or the mountains, but if you take it on vacation, take something else as well as this is a really fast read.