The 28th book in the Sharon McCone mystery series finds the intrepid San Francisco private eye getting pulled by family ties into a search for her missing half-brother, Darcy Blackhawk. The none-too-stable young man sends Sharon an email from a Bay Area Internet cafe asking for help. Sharon's reply goes unacknowledged and her concerned attempt to find Darcy leads to a dead body and a police investigation. However, it turns out Darcy has been spirited off by someone he refers to as the "brown woman."
Sharon's ensuing investigation into Darcy's disappearance and its possible connection with multiple homicides is told from three points of view: Sharon's first-person perspective; that of her able office assistant Mick Savage (who grudgingly handles some of the field work); and that of Darcy. It's a hardboiled mystery that creates psychological suspense in the way it explores issues of family dysfunction and obligation among blood relatives and old friends, both for Sharon and those around her. Marcia Muller adroitly handles these nuanced relationships in taut, well-written prose.
Although the story takes place over a wide geographic area, ranging from the posh hills of the Bay Area's toniest residences to rural Oregon and parts beyond, Muller's heart is clearly in San Francisco. City of Whispers is a suspenseful tale about family obligation and doing right by those who love you.