The problem with aging girl detectives is that after awhile they begin to seem stupid unless they are allowed to grow and gain some wisdom with age. Since all the authors of these 'girl detectives' books are now older women, you'd think they would have accrued some wisdom themselves to pass on to their heroines.
That said, "Looking For Yesterday" is still a very good read, loaded with personality, interesting family stuff, interesting characters you can tell one from the other, and action aplenty. Although I don't know where Sharon McCone picked up her 'psychic vibe,' since she still isn't that convinced about the reality of God et. al, plus all that comes with it. Muller continues to bash her heroine as if trying to get rid of some sticky stuff on her writing hand. Is Muller getting tired of McCone? Perhaps if McCone were allowed to evolve, Muller might like her better.
I personally am tired of Sharon being stupid and unknowledgeable about police procedure and the likelihood of danger. She's been in this business quite a while and has learned enough through not only her own experience, but her operatives and Hy's experiences, to be able to sense danger, or at least prevent potential harm. It's unrealistic to have her all alone in an office and then she hears the elevator, but no one is there. Any detective worth his or her salt would immediately douse the lights, or pick up their gun, or at the very least take the stairs when leaving.
One of the biggest gaps of common sense and procedure is when she and Mick (and why she should call him for help is beyond me -- how is it that her two best operatives have had the flu for 12 days??? -- because Mick isn't quick on his feet or very responsible) go to a suspects house and find him dead. Then they discover a big cache of illegal guns. Both apparently leave their fingerprints all over everything -- McCone does this frequently, not having heard yet of the use of plastic gloves -- and what does she do? Though she's not supposed to be there, though she has trespassed and broken all kinds of laws, though both of them have hidden her car and his bike, though they think it is unlikely this guy's death is related to the case, she calls the police instead of leaving and phoning in an anonymous tip. After she and Mick are harassed at police headquarters, their lawyer picks them up and takes them home. What happens to car and bike? Left at the scene?
That's a big one, but there are plenty of smaller gaffs. Muller gives away the game when she has McCone visit a winery, enjoy the wine, but does not buy any. I'll just leave it at that.
My pet peeve about the McCone books was brought to life in this one again. Why must the staunch, brave, highly experienced, expert, dependable McCone inevitably end up being sappy, stupid, awkward and weak whenever a crises appears? One example, but there are others: At the church she is meeting an unknown someone. I can't believe she looks at Mick on this dark, foggy night with danger all around and a strange van parked in the street which she does not notice, but Mick does (huh?), and she says to him, "Give me ten minutes." She's now the Long Ranger? First, that's too long. Second, if she is going to one side of the church, why not have Mick tippytoe along the other side? And, of course, just as she sees the "dark figure" waiting for her she "slips" giving herself away. What?!
She is living right next to and sometimes in one of the most sophisticated high tech spy companies on the planet and when her house catches on fire she not only has no cell phone with her in her bedroom, but guess what? Her smoke detectors are "plugins" instead of on "batteries," and since the electricity is off, they didn't work. What?!
So she's naked, right? She gets her cats out the door and then decides she needs clothes. Where the heck were her clothes from last night? She throws on Hy's sweatshirt and out the door she goes, sans underpants, sans pants, sans shoes. And of course she has to get hit by a falling piece of her porch, not that she'd look, would she? And then lie weakly in the grass instead of moving safely away, so that a fireman has to come and CARRY her into the woods to protect her. Then her neighbors show up and cuddle her, give her coffee, and I have to wonder didn't she miss having any pants on all that time?
She goes to Ricky's house (the Country Music Star), and immediately she and Hy begin giving out Ricky's home phone number. To everyone. "Early this morning I'd asked Ted to call every current client and all other persons connected with my cases, and give them this number." What?! Ricky must love that! Plus she is only staying like a day! Has she not heard of temporary cell phones? RI must have a ton of them! What year is she living in? Or, better, what year is Marcia Muller living in? 1990?
What about her singed hair? She says she'll have to have it cut, but I don't see any evidence that she even washed it. Surely Ricky Savage could have a hairdresser at his mansion within the hour.
So here's the thing: I've read every single McCone book Muller has written. I've loved most of them. Maybe Muller is tired of McCone, but here's one sure thing to stop that: realize that if Sharon never seems to learn from her experiences, the reader stops trusting her, and by extension, also begins to mistrust the author. In the end you have to let Sharon grow and evolve, not just in technical things but in heart and soul things. Of course, first, the author must grow and evolve.