cover image While Other People Sleep

While Other People Sleep

Marcia Muller. Mysterious Press, $22.5 (344pp) ISBN 978-0-89296-650-9

That's when Sharon McCone, ace San Francisco PI, grapples with nightmares in this gripping 19th outing in 20 years (following Both Ends of the Night, 1997). Someone is impersonating Sharon, wearing her name-tag at parties, sleeping with unsuitable men, committing crimes of which the detective can be accused, erasing her phone messages, using her credit cards, even breaking into her apartment, mistreating her cat and opening a bottle of her favorite wine. The imitator seems to want to become the PI, but why? McCone's mood isn't helped when one of her assistants, Ted Smalley, starts acting weirdly, and her lover, Hy Ripinsky, seems to be pinned down in a mysterious kidnapping in Latin America and is out of touch for far too long. McCone has to work hard to stay afloat under fearful pressure, and only the loyal teamwork of her crew and her determination to run her nemesis to earth brings a hard-won release. Her new flying skills are put to good use in a nail-biting climax as her doppelg nger steals her and Ripinsky's cherished Citabria plane . As always, Muller's straightforward, no-nonsense writing and fully dimensioned characterizations lend credibility and color to her deftly plotted tale. (July)