Review

Looking for Yesterday: A Sharon McCone Mystery

by Marcia Muller

When San Francisco private detective Sharon McCone is contacted to re-investigate a three-year-old murder by the acquitted suspect herself, she is intrigued. Caro Warrick contends to have suffered discrimination by family and friends, and even denied employment because no one will believe her innocence, despite being found not guilty of the brutal murder of her best friend. Other detectives have turned Caro down, but Sharon has a gut feeling that she might be able to help the woman, notwithstanding her doubts about her mental stability.

"LOOKING FOR YESTERDAY was sufficiently intriguing for me to fire up my Kindle and download Muller’s first two books, EDWIN OF THE IRON SHOES and ASK THE CARDS A QUESTION, which I had never read."

LOOKING FOR YESTERDAY is #30 in Marcia Muller’s bestselling series about the offbeat San Francisco detective with the colorful past. The series dates back to 1977 when her first book, EDWIN OF THE IRON SHOES, set her on the path to awards and bestselling-author status. A former staff investigator with All Souls Legal Cooperative, Sharon is now the head of McCone Investigations and its chief investigator, staffed with a technologically-savvy crew of lawyers, accountants and IT data whiz kids.

Through Sharon McCone, Muller has created a delicious mixture of adventure, action, altruism, pathos with a touch of humor, and romance thrown in to build a massive base of loyal fans. McCone Investigations has been evicted from their office with a view of the Golden Gate Bridge from Pier 24½ on San Francisco’s famed Embarcadero as re-development encroaches. Their hasty move into a quaint Victorian-style building with a rickety elevator has raised the possibility of taking up her husband Hy’s standing offer to merge her agency with his. He owns a glitzy downtown high-rise with state-of-the-art everything, including use of his fleet of jets and iron-clad security. Sharon is reluctant to give up her independence, but the move to the Victorian building is giving her the creeps. 

In usual Muller style, the problem of the building is solved when Sharon’s investigation into Caro’s innocence leads her to someone whose expertise in booby-trapping and sneak attacks finds her in perhaps the most dangerous investigation of her long career. When Caro is brutally attacked on Sharon’s doorstep, the situation turns in a deadly direction that will ultimately change Sharon’s life. 

Muller is a master at evoking the rarified atmosphere of San Francisco --- from its fogs, sounds and unique mixed character of shabby-chic and grandeur. She is one of those rare series authors who never lets her characters grow stale or trite. LOOKING FOR YESTERDAY doesn’t involve as many of Sharon’s dysfunctional family members as some of Muller’s past books, so concert tours with her country-singing-star former brother-in-law, and confrontations between her adopted parents and her American Indian birth parents, are not a prime source of narrative. But there are reminders of prior adventures in her turbulent past that serve as constant touchstones throughout the series. 

LOOKING FOR YESTERDAY was sufficiently intriguing for me to fire up my Kindle and download Muller’s first two books, EDWIN OF THE IRON SHOES and ASK THE CARDS A QUESTION, which I had never read. Now I’ve opened up a can of worms, especially when I discovered that therein lies the mother-lode of early works, including a collection of short stories and other books co-written with her husband, mystery writer Bill Pronzini, that beckon from the great library in the sky.

Reviewed by Roz Shea on November 9, 2012

Looking for Yesterday: A Sharon McCone Mystery
by Marcia Muller

  • Publication Date: September 24, 2013
  • Genres: Fiction, Mystery
  • Mass Market Paperback: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Grand Central Publishing
  • ISBN-10: 0446573361
  • ISBN-13: 9780446573368