Sharon McCone, private investigator with All Souls Legal Cooperative, was introduced in Edwin of the Iron Shoes. She returned for another murderous adventure in Ask the Cards a Question. In this third series installment, McCone finds yet another acquaintance has been killed. Rather than be concerned about the frequency with which her friends depart this planet, Sharon sets out to find the murderer.
The victim was doing restoration work in a San Francisco neighborhood of Victorian houses. There’s a great deal of tension between preservationists, decorators, builders as well as minority groups that feel they’re being pushed out of their own homes.
McCone is hired by a local resident/builder to investigate the most recent homicide and see if it’s tied to another murder years earlier. She finds plenty of motives and one interesting clue: a Tiffany lamp featuring The Cheshire Cat’s Eye.
Marcia Muller’s third McCone book features a lovely San Francisco setting and some interesting facts about Victorian architecture. None of the characters, including the heroine, is particularly likable in this installment. McCone goes through the investigative motions in this novel, but offers none of the quirky characteristics that distinguish fictional female private eyes from each other.
The Cheshire Cat’s Eye is an adequate story in a long line of McCone novels. Reading the series debut, Edwin of the Iron Shoes, first is recommended in order to fully understand and appreciate the story line. The Cheshire Cat’s Eye isn’t a Muller must-read, nor is it a definite miss. It simply holds the place between Ask the Cards a Question and Games to Keep the Dark Away.