I really wanted to give this one up at the half way stage. But there were a few reasons I wanted to finish it poking me along. One being the shortness of the thing, and it features an early female P.I., predating Sue Grafton's 1980s creation, but the main and most persistent pokey thing was the knowledge that Marcia Muller is married to Bill Pronzini, author of the superb Nameless Detective series. Muller's P.I. also haunts the same San Francisco streets and eventually the two will come together in a cross-over or two. But man it was hard work. The first two thirds of the book are basically our heroine, Sharon McCone, wading through a stock check of the contents of an antique shop that provided the location of a murder. Muller has a straight forward writing style, devoid of anything resembling poetic colour, that would grace the incident report for most insurance claim forms but does little to generate atmosphere. The less said about the hate-hate-love-hate proto-romance between McCone and the local cop, Greg Marcus, the better. Marcus is somewhat confusingly labelled 'a wolf in misogynist's clothing', an idiom corrupted by McCone's employer & friend Hank Zahn.
Thankfully things pick up in the final third when McCone starts to get close to solving the case and things get tough. And as we all know, when the going gets tough, the tough slip a .38 Special into their purse. In the end though there just wasn't enough potential to bring me back for more.