cover image Trophies and Dead Things

Trophies and Dead Things

Marcia Muller. Mysterious Press, $16.95 (266pp) ISBN 978-0-89296-417-8

San Francisco detective Sharon McCone ( The Shape of Dread ) uncovers murderous passions still simmering from the Vietnam anti-war movement when she undertakes an investigation into why a sniper victim changed his will to disinherit his children and leave more than $1 million to four strangers. Helping Hank Zahn, her boss at the All Souls Legal Cooperative, in settling the estate of his old Vietnam buddy, accountant Perry Hilderly, a founder of the Berkeley Free Speech Movement, Sharon tracks down the four beneficiaries, all of whom have ties to a collective involved in a bombing attempt at a naval station in the late 1960s. When one, a sleazy lawyer, is murdered, and a sniper almost kills Hank and another Vietnam vet, Sharon must find the connection between the murders, despite strident resistance from the police investigator in charge of the cases. McCone is one of the most freshly conceived and complexly characterized of the female private eyes. Muller's fine eye for detail and sense of place bring San Francisco and the California subculture vividly to life while Sharon unravels the skeins of a complex case to arrive at unhappy truths. (Oct.)