Kirsty Darbyshire's Reviews > Dead Midnight
by Marcia Muller
I'm not an objective judge of Marcia Muller's writing - this is book 22 in the Sharon McCone series and it would be near impossible for Muller to come up with a plot twist which would alienate me at this point. That said, I thought the introduction of a "dot com" business into this book was likely to make it end up being rather lousy. I should really trust Muller more than this. She's always woven topical themes into her books and it doesn't age them.
Sharon's been investigating for 25 years now and if anything the problem I have is that she's become more of a business woman and less of an investigator in recent books. She's not aging so fast, I think she's aged from 28 in the first book to 41 in this one which is about half the real rate of aging (and interestingly this is the same rate that Reginald Hill claimed Dalziel and Pascoe were aging at in Asking for the Moon). One of the good things about this book is that it seems to mark a return to regular investigation with Sharon investigating things that aren't to do with her own family and though her own family's tragedies feature too they are extra background material that adds realism and not the focusof the story. I also hold out great hopes that Sharon's newly hired investigator Julia Rafael will prove to be an interesting colleague in future books continuing the trend of this series to have not just a central character who makes me come back for more but a whole family of a cast I want to come back and visit.
I have a few reservations about the way the story ended up, I liked the conclusion on the whole and the "dot com" business didn't turn into the cliche that it could so easily have done. My problem was what I felt to be a lack of coherence between the hook that started the story and the ending. Something didn't come full circle enough for me to be totally satisfed.
On the whole though this is another excellent entry in one of the best detective series around and McCone is as fresh and interesting as the day Muller conceived her.