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Marcia Muller has written many novels and short stories. She has won six Anthony Awards, a Shamus Award, and is also the recipient of the Private Eye Writers of America's Lifetime Achievement Award as well as the Mystery Writers of America Grand Master Award (their highest accolade). She lives in northern California with her husband, mystery writer Bill Pronzini.
Muller and her private eye Sharon McCone have come a long way since Edwin of the Iron Shoes (1977), which introduced McCone and inspired a generation of female mystery writers. Since then Muller's writing has become richer and her novels more complex, with many startling changes in the socially conscious San Francisco detective's life. This is Muller's best yet, with a case that parallels a personal tragedy McCone is trying to understand her brother Joey's recent suicide. Roger Nagasawa, scion of a wealthy Japanese-American family, has killed himself. Roger's heartbroken parents plan to sue his employer, a hip online magazine, for wrongful death because of rumored brutal working conditions. As usual in McCone mysteries, greed and corruption lie beneath the surface. First, Jody Houston, Roger's friend to whom he'd revealed illegal financial activities at the magazine, disappears. Then Max Engstrom, Roger's maniacal boss, tells Sharon that someone is sabotaging his business and one of his backers has vanished. More deaths ensue. After McCone retrieves Roger's computer files detailing his discoveries, she's almost killed. Muller deftly uses familiar devices electronic embezzlement and shady real estate deals in a convoluted but provocative plot. Her love of San Francisco is evident from her vivid descriptions of the city and its history. Although her villains are often obvious, she delves deeply into the human psyche for motivation. Readers will be thoroughly satisfied. (June 19) Forecast: That this Mystery Guild main selection marks the 25th anniversary of the series should attract extra media attention, especially in San Francisco and Los Angeles, where the author will be making personal appearances. Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.
Muller's 22d Sharon McCone mystery packs plot, personality, and lots of life's messiness into the continuing saga of the San Francisco private investigator. After her brother's suicide, Sharon investigates the puzzling suicide of Roger Nagasawa, the middle of three sons in a wealthy family of Japanese descent. Basing his logic on a successful case in Japan, Roger's bereaved father wants Sharon to find evidence supporting a wrongful death suit against Roger's employer, InSite, a high-pressure dot-com with abusive personnel practices. After gathering information from the family, Roger's apartment, and Roger's friend Jody, Sharon gains undercover access to the InSite establishment itself with the help of her friend J.D. Smith. Webmaster Dinah Vardon, who years before jilted Roger, embodies ruthless, amoral ambition. Sharon shrewdly uncovers why certain people might deliberately undermine the company, as well as an embezzlement and fraud scheme that leads to J.D.'s murder. Subplots and Sharon's introspection add a counterbalance of maturity, intelligence, and emotion to the well-plotted story. Gay couple Ted and Neal, two of Sharon's employees, add humor and humanity. Highly recommended. Michelle Foyt, Russell Lib., Middletown, CT Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.