D.D. Warren, Boston Police Department homicide detective, has a baffling new case. A young woman, a teacher, mother of a four-year-old girl, and wife of a reporter for the Boston Daily, has disappeared from her home. Her purse and phone were left on the kitchen table; there are no signs of struggle except, possibly, a broken lamp that shows no signs of being used as a weapon, nor are there other signs of struggle. The comforter from her bed and her nightgown are found in the washing machine, newly washed. Everyone agrees that if she had left voluntarily, she would never have left her child behind.
Her husband is an obvious suspect. There's a registered sex offender, a young man the same age as the missing Sandy Jones, whose tastes might just stretch to the pretty young wife of the older reporter. Sandy's estranged father, Judge Maxwell Black, from Georgia, turns up a couple of days into the mystery. Jason Jones says that the Blacks abused Sandy as a child, and she certainly didn't have contact with her father after she married and moved to Boston with her new husband. And there's an eighth grade student at Sandy's school, who clearly has a massive crush on her, and who when Jason visits the school, attacks him, insisting that Jason has killed Sandy because she was investigating his very mysterious past.
Oh, yes. Jason Jones has no paper trail older than five years.
D.D.'s problem is not a lack of suspects, but too many suspects. And the evidence she has neither wholly supports murder, nor wholly supports Sandy having left voluntarily. The only possible witness is the four-year-old daughter, Rie, her certainly saw something--but questioning such a young child witness is fraught with risks.
We get the story in several voices--D.D.'s, the sex offender Aiden Brewster, and Sandy Jones herself--from beyond the grave? Both Gardner's writing and the three narrators' reading make those voices distinct and compelling, as we follow the story to an ambiguous but satisfying ending.
I borrowed this book from the library.