San Francisco sleuth Sharon McCone (Cheshire Cat's Eye, etc.) is hired by famous, reclusive photographer Abe Snelling to find his vanished lodger Jane Anthony--whose friend Liz Schaff also seems worried by her absence. The trail leads to Jane's once-prosperous hometown of Salmon Bay, to her bitter mother, hostile neighbors. . . and Tidepools, a plush, expensive hospice where Jane and Liz once worked. Was Jane's departure from the hospice precipitated by the drug-overdose death of several patients? So it seems. And what about her involvement (an open secret) with Allen Keller, the hospice's much-married owner? Good questions--but Sharon's sleuthing has barely begun when Jane is found stabbed to death on a nearby pier; another murder (that of a sullen fisherman-neighbor) soon follows. Still, though taken off the case by Snelling, Sharon continues on her own--shuttling back and forth between Salmon Bay and S.F., finding time for romance with a local disc jockey, and winding up in a clifftop scuffle (boring) with the killer. Too much plot, too much travel: another hard-working yet lifeless McCone episode; lots of mechanics but no involvement.