Missing in Death, by JD Robb

>> Saturday, December 04, 2010

TITLE: Missing in Death (in The Lost anthology)

PAGES: Approximately 80

SETTING: 2050s New York
TYPE: Mystery short story
SERIES: Part of the In Death series

REASON FOR READING: Autobuy author and series

J. D. Robb's Missing in Death investigates a female tourist's disappearance during a ferry ride. Detective Eve Dallas wonders...if she didn't jump, and she's not on board, then where in the world is she?

In Missing in Death, Eve is called in when Carolee Grogan, on holiday in New York with her family, suddenly disappears from the ferry to the Statue of Liberty. Her family is terrified, as she was last seen intending to enter a toilet which is now covered in enough blood that it's clear someone died there. Carolee soon turns up alive and fine, but without any memory of what just happened, and for Eve, that's only the beginning of the mystery.

It all started out brilliantly. Just how did the killer get out of that toilet with a dead body and Carolee in tow? How come no one saw him/her? And whyever would someone choose to kill in such a way, taking such risks? It was all very intriguing, even slightly spooky, but unfortunately it all soon turned into my least favourite kind of In Death. Spooks, mysterious weapons, evil government conspiracies, industrial espionage, that kind of thing. It all ended up being a bit boring on the mystery end.

On the relationship end, it was more interesting, but hardly scintillating stuff. Eve has to grapple with her conscience and her sense of right and wrong, as she's had to do in quite a few of the previous books. I've sometimes felt she's made choices that weren't really the choices the character Robb's been creating for tens of books would make, but this was ok. Right on the line, yes, but on the right side of it.

There was some cute stuff, too, succeeding in creating some light relief. I liked the Grogan family, and Peabody's delight at being hit on was funny and sweet.

On the whole, I did enjoy this, only not as much as I thought I would when I started. The short stories aren't really the best Robb has to offer, her stories work best when she's got a bit more space. Fortunately, I just got a call from my library to tell me my copy of Indulgence in Death is there waiting for me. Even though the reviews haven't been the greatest, I can't wait.



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