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City of Whispers

(Sharon McCone #28)

3.55  ·  Rating details ·  1,146 Ratings  ·  165 Reviews
Private eye Sharon McCone receives an e-mail asking for help from her emotionally disturbed half brother Darcy Blackhawk. She replies . . . but gets no response. As Sharon digs deeper, she discovers that Darcy sent his message from an Internet café in San Francisco, a city he's never been to before. Sensing that her brother is in terrible danger, Sharon begins a search for ...more
Hardcover, 262 pages
Published October 26th 2011 by Grand Central Publishing (first published January 1st 2011)
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Rating details
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Feb 02, 2013 rated it it was ok
Recommends it for: devot Muller fans only
Shelves: female-lead, mystery
Using rough draft as final copy. Telegram style beginning. Author tired. Tweets as chapters?

I enjoyed the early Sharon McCone mysteries, but it appears that our relationship may be heading toward the end. This latest installment--number 29--reads more like the draft of a manuscript than the highly polished page-turner she is capable of writing.

Shifting narrative between Mick, her nephew/computer genius operative; Darcy, her drug-addled half-brother; and McCone is used in a listless attempt to de
Not one of my favorite offerings from one of my favorite authors. In the end, the story did perk up and the pieces fit together, but initially the novel lacked Muller's usual momentum. The McCone mysteries are so consistent that it's strange to find one inconsistent. My fear is that this was rushed to meet a publisher's deadline. The bones of the story are there as always but the fleshing out is not as usual.

I don't believe that this can be laid at the feet of the storyline of her locked in head
Ellen Wylie
Jul 24, 2012 rated it it was ok
Twenty plus years ago I read a lot of Marcia Muller's mysteries featuring PI Sharon McCone. Sharon was one of the earliest hard-boiled female mystery heroines -- tough, gun-toting, willing to take a beating, relentless. This latest addition to the series feels dated. Sharon is still in her early 40s, but author Muller is considerably older and her stage of life is reflected in the thoughts and actions of her creation. That in itself isn't a problem, but the disconnect between what once was and w ...more
Sep 15, 2011 marked it as to-read
I finally received this book on Nov 22nd - 2 1/2 months after I was notified that I had won it.

It's been more than two months since I won this on GR giveaway and I'm sorry to say that I NEVER RECEIVED THIS BOOK. At least one other winner had the same experience. I notified GR and contacted the publisher directly, but still no book.

Won this as a goodreads giveaway. I haven't read anything by this author in more than 10 years, so I hope her books don't have to be read in order. I had a few of hers
Jan 02, 2012 rated it it was ok
Sharon McCone is back at work and tracking down her half brother Darcy who left her a cryptic message. As with her last few books, Mueller alternates between various characters involved in the search for Darcy. There is a connection to the mysterious death of a young heiress and several homeless people including Darcy. McCone's nephew Mick figures prominently in this book. It almost seems like the author is winding down the series as Sharon McCone appears to be tiring of the rat race her profess ...more
Jan C
Oct 04, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: california, mystery, 2012
I like Sharon McCone and her troupe.

Here, she got a garbled e-mail from a brother (half-brother?) that he needs help. Unfortunately, this is one of those brothers who always needs help.

But they always seem to be using the latest technology and they track down where he e-mailed from. Of course, he isn't there anymore. But they are going all over San Francisco looking for this kid.

It is another story for how much do you do for the losers in your family? Is there where they can be written off? Or,
Apr 24, 2013 rated it it was ok
I was very disappointed with this book, and a little sad because I was hoping it wouldn't signal a downward spiral for this long-running series. This was a very slim book – physically and story-wise. I didn’t care about Darcy; no one in the book did either (even Sharon) so it was hard to get into the little action there was. And although I really liked the alternating points of view in “Locked In”, I felt it did not work in this book and it made the book seem like a “dial-in” effort. Before read ...more
Nov 26, 2011 rated it it was ok
Shelves: 2011-books-read
I have enjoyed the Sharon McCone books in the past and I was looking forward to reading this new installment. I think perhaps it's been too long since I read the last one because I had a hard time getting back into her world. Darcy, her half-brother, is missing and appears to be involved in a murder. Although physically recovered from her injuries in the last book, Sharon is having a hard time dealing with "getting back to normal." Mick Savage gets more deeply involved in the agency, getting out ...more
Oct 20, 2014 rated it liked it
Marcia Muller uses an interesting technique to differentiate her chapters. Each one bears the name of the person who is most prominent in that chapter. Storyline is edgy but short, choppy chapters and one-liners take their toll. Muller has done better.
Sep 04, 2011 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I'm always excited to read a new Marcia Muller mystery! These are such a great example of the "tough chick detective" genre.

This book in particular didn't seem to do much to move the series along, but it was still entertaining and well written as always.
Nov 02, 2011 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2011-reads
Not one of her best. Only 261 pages and chapter titles took a whole page each. I always wonder if that's a way to stretch the length out. Writing was choppier than her usual. Her earlier books are much better.
Oct 03, 2011 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I think I only enjoyed this because I've been with the series for SO LONG. I thought it felt really forced.
Nov 27, 2011 rated it it was ok
I agree with Timna. Not her best.
Nov 21, 2011 rated it liked it
A long running series, right up there with Sue Grafton's. Set in and around San Fran. Not the strongest in the series, but good.
Sarah Harvey
May 17, 2012 rated it did not like it
I've read and enjoyed quite a few Sharon McCone mysteries, but Muller ran out of steam with this one. Phoning it in. She should let this series go if this is the best she can do. Limp.
Joy Darlene Hager
Jun 09, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Good read

I always enjoy a Sharon McCone mystery and as usual she did not disappoint. Loved the story line and as always love her whacky family.
Oct 17, 2011 rated it really liked it
It has been one year since San Francisco Private Investigator Sharon McCone was hospitalized in a near coma, and she is slowly getting her stamina back and learning to live with the after effects. Sharon receives a cryptic E-mail from her troubled half-brother Darcy Blackhawk asking for help, but Sharon doesn’t know how to reach him. While searching for Darcy, Sharon finds a dead body at a location her brother has been seen, but there is no sign of Darcy. It’s murder and this case seems to be co ...more
Mar 10, 2017 rated it really liked it
A great fun read from author Marcia Muller. Characters, writing and plot line are all well developed. If you have readany of the other books in this series, you are seeing how technology is becoming a big part of the everyday world of these operatives. However, sometimes, it is still time to get down and dirty.
Dec 10, 2011 rated it liked it
This was an interesting book, a mystery novel/private investigator/hardboiled fiction. It is written in a spare, unsentimental style, using a first person narrative that regularly rotated between successful PI Sharon McCone, her nephew and employee Mick Savage, and her mentally ill drug-addict half-brother Darcy.
The book and many chapters begin and end with the so-called whispers of the book title. The whispers are from the city and heard by Sharon, and in Darcy's head. The whispers are rather e
Andrew Macrae
Jan 02, 2012 rated it liked it
San Francisco PI Sharon McCone does not suffer from a lack of family as do so many
detectives in mystery novels. Not for her, the lonely sleuth dining alone in a cheap, all-night greasy spoon, McCone suffers from more family than anyone ought to. Two sets of parents (birth and adopted) with siblings to match, in-laws, ex-in-laws, and a husband who keeps a spare private jet for those times when his regular jet is being cleaned.

But don’t get the idea that “City of Whispers” is a cute, fluffy bunny
Jan 24, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: mystery, net-galley
It's hard to believe that City of Whispers is Marcia Mullers 29th Sharon McCone novel. It seems like just yesterday I was reading the wonderfully entitled Edwin of the Iron Shoes, the first in the series, published in 1977.

Generally considered to be the first modern female private investigator, Sharon has (unlike some other long-running series characters) grown and changed with time. She has a successful marriage, a successful business, and an ever-growing family. Having learned that she was ado
Elizabeth of Silver's Reviews
Dec 11, 2011 rated it really liked it
What could he have done now? Where has he been? Why does he show up when he needs something and then not allow us to know where he is?

Those were questions Shar asked herself after she received an e-mail from her constantly absent half-brother, Darcy. She always helped him out, but she couldn't help if she couldn't find him. She was worried that this time he was truly in deep trouble.

The story takes place in San Francisco in wealthy neighborhoods and also in squalor. You can guess where they wer
Thomas Bruso
May 31, 2014 rated it really liked it
In its brief but gripping narrative, the latest Sharon McCone detective story turns out to be one-of-a-kind.

In Muller's 28th Sharon McCone novel, Sharon receives a cryptic email from her half-brother, Darcy Blackhawk, urging her to: "Help me. I'm in SF." Unclear and disturbed in its brevity, Sharon sets off across San Francisco in search of her mentally ill bloodline, tracking the email and his recent activities to a local cafe. Perturbed and frightened, Sharon comes up empty-handed. With a long
Dec 06, 2011 rated it liked it
PI Sharon McCone receives an email from Darcy , her drug-addicted, mentally unstable half-brother. The email is short - 'Help me. I'm in SF'. Sharon emails him back but gets no reply. She assumes he just needs money but something about the message bothers her so she begins a search for him. Soon she finds herself involved in an old unsolved murder and there are some powerful people who will do anything to keep it that way.

City of Whispers is about families and the secrets they keep - some so ter
Oct 01, 2011 rated it liked it
Darcy Blackhawk, Sharon McCone's half-brother, emails her a cryptic note asking for her help, but he gives no way for her to get in touch with him. He uses the email account of her birth mother, Saskia Blackhawk. The email came from an Internet café in San Francisco. Darcy is a drug addict who has misused his entire family at one time or another.

Sharon, a San Francisco private investigator, barely knows Darcy. Since he's in San Francisco, she knows she'll have to find him. The note could mean an
Cindy Crawford
Jan 15, 2012 rated it liked it
For me, City of Whispers wasn't as good as the other books in Muller's Sharon McCone series. I still liked the book and she remains one of my favorite mystery writers, but this one is not my favorite.

A few books back in the series, McCone was seriously injured and while she was in the hospital and recuperating, Marcia Muller shifted away from the first person narration she'd always used before. We got part of the story from the perspective of her family, friends,and operatives. I really liked t
Apr 19, 2014 rated it liked it
Shelves: fiction, mystery
I had a hard time with this book emotionally, the young man, Darcy Blackhawk, Sharon's half brother, at the center of the story is so obviously schizophrenic that even a blind man could see it. I spent most of the book yelling "HE'S F***ING SCHIZOPHRENIC, YOU STUPID BITCH!" at the various characters describing him as a loser, a junkie, a freak, an unloveable person and sadly thinking this is why Sharon's brother Joey ran away and then committed suicide. I would have thought the various intellige ...more
Wendy Hines
Private Eye Sharon McCone isn't close with her younger half-brother Darcy Blackhawk. In fact, between his drug use and thievery, she thinks perhaps he deserves to be living under a bridge as a troll. But when she received a vague email from him asking for help, she decides to look into it. There may not be any love lost between them, but he is family.

With the help of her investigative team, Sharon is led from an internet cafe to the body of a woman at an art institute to the unsolved murder of a
Mary Chrapliwy
May 20, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: netgalley-books
This was a marvelously complex tale.

I had no idea this was a book in a series until after I had already been drawn in by this story of a gutsy PI searching for her troubled brother. As soon as I started reading, I was drawn in and the story didn't let me go until the last page. The beauty of the story is that you can enjoy it even if you haven't read the other books in the series. It did make me want to read more.

Muller wrote in sections where each character had their own voice and viewpoint. Po
Kathleen Hagen
City of Whispers, by Marcia Muller, b-plus, Narrated by Laura Hicks, Produced by Audiogo, Downloaded from

Sharon McCone gets an e-mail from her emotionally disturbed half-brother, Darcy Black Hawk, indicating that he urgently needs her help. The email is from San Francisco, which is surprising because he has never been there. But he doesn’t leave Sharon any way to get in touch with him, so she puts her whole investigation firm on to the case to find him. While looking for him, they f
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A native of the Detroit area, Marcia Muller grew up in a house full of books and self-published three copies of her first novel at age twelve, a tale about her dog complete with primitive illustrations. The "reviews" were generally positive.

In the early 1970s, having moved to California, Muller found herself unemployable and began experimenting with mystery novels.

In the ensuing thirty-some years,

Other books in the series

Sharon McCone (1 - 10 of 33 books)
  • Edwin of the Iron Shoes
  • Ask the Cards a Question
  • The Cheshire Cat's Eye
  • Games to Keep the Dark Away
  • Leave a Message for Willie
  • There's Nothing to Be Afraid Of
  • Eye of the Storm
  • There's Something in a Sunday
  • The Shape of Dread
  • Trophies and Dead Things