Listen to the silence

Marcia Muller

Large print - 2000

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Review by Booklist Reviews

Muller's Sharon McCone, one of the mystery genre's pioneer female private investigators, has been solving crimes since 1971. Her new case turns out to be very personal. In the midst of a number of changes in her life, Sharon is celebrating the marriage of her assistant, Rae Kelleher, when she receives a telephone call. Her father has died and left instructions that only she may sort his personal property. What Sharon finds there leads to a search for her roots. The journey takes her to a Shoshone reservation in Montana, to Boise, and to a ghost town in Modoc County, California. Encounters with an environmentalist lawyer, a bigoted developer, and a Native American artist all contribute to what Sharon discovers about her family--revelations that both uncover old secrets and spark new conflicts. As a result, she must assess her relationships with all of her relatives--new and old--and resolve an identity crisis. In the process, there's also a killer to catch. McCone fans will enjoy learning more about their hero, who emerges in the end with new strength and a greater appreciation of family. Those encountering Muller's work for the first time will be inspired to read all 20 of the previous McCone books. ((Reviewed May 1, 2000))Copyright 2000 Booklist Reviews

Review by Library Journal Reviews

When Detective Sharon McCone's father dies suddenly, she is startled to learn that he has requested that she, not her four siblings, go through his personal effects. In a box marked "Legal Papers," Sharon discovers a long-secret document that shatters her very identity and threatens to tear her family apart. As she begins to investigate, a Shoshone lawyer who may be the key to the mystery is nearly killed, and Sharon becomes tangled in a land dispute between Native Americans and white developers that involves greed, environmental corruption, racism, and a 40-year-old murder. Sharon soon learns that the key to uncovering the truth is not in the words people tell her but in the silences between the words. Muller's 21st McCone mystery is fast-paced, and Sharon McCone is a gutsy, funny heroine. Old fans and readers new should both love this. Highly recommended for public libraries. Karen Anderson Superior Court Law Lib., Phoenix Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.

Review by Publishers Weekly Reviews

Boucher Award-winner Muller is back on form (after last year's somewhat disappointing and atypical A Walk Through Fire) in this latest entry in her deservedly popular series featuring PI Sharon McCone. In a personal twist, McCone has to crack one of her toughest cases yet: the mystery of her own life. Her father's death brings McCone not only sadness but the shocking revelation that she was adopted. The search for her birth parents takes her to a Shoshone reservation in Idaho, where an old man named Elwood Farmer offers cryptic advice. Armed with an old photograph in a buffalo-bone frame, McCone tracks down Saskia Blackhawk, the woman she believes to be her birth mother, only to see her put into a coma by a hit-and-run. Saskia, a lawyer, had been battling with Austin DeCarlo, a developer, over Spirit Lake, an area Modoc Indians consider sacred, but DeCarlo considers ripe for a resort. DeCarlo may be McCone's biological father, which would mean that her father may be trying to kill her mother. Meanwhile, professional troublemaker Jimmy D. Bearpaw seems happy to play on either side of the fence as long as he can make life hard for everybody. McCone must sort out the current legal tangles and ask some tough questions if she's to discover what really happened 40 years ago and facing some important family truths may be harder than confronting a killer. Although Muller gives a long-ago murder curiously short shrift, she delivers an emotion-packed tale that adds new depth to her heroine. Mystery Guild main selection. (July) Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.

Review by School Library Journal Reviews

Adult/High School-Sharon McCone is celebrating her colleague's wedding when the phone call comes informing her of her father's death. His final instructions are explicit: Sharon is to be the only one to go through his personal papers. In them, she finds a document confirming her adoption. This comes as a total and devastating surprise to her. Determined to find the identity of her birth parents, she travels from a Shoshone Indian reservation in Montana to a ghost town in California. She discovers deceptions, family intrigues, mysterious land deals, a murder, and has her life threatened more than once. Teens will be fascinated by Sharon's search for her roots, and the ending has a twist that will make them eager to read the earlier McCone mysteries as well.-Katherine Fitch, Rachel Carson Middle School, Fairfax, VA Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.