Cover image for Cyanide Wells
Cyanide Wells
Muller, Marcia.
Personal Author:
[Large print edition].
Publication Information:
Waterville, Me. : Thorndike Press, [2003]

Physical Description:
423 pages ; 23 cm
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
X Adult Large Print Mystery/Suspense

On Order



The bestselling author departs from her award-winning Sharon McCone series in this new, stand-alone mystery set on the wild and rugged coast of northern California, where people and passions twist, turn, and kill.

Author Notes

Marcia Muller, novelist, short-story writer and anthologist, was born in Detroit in 1944. She attended the University of Michigan, where she studied writing.

Edwin of the Iron Shoes (1977) was her first book featuring Sharon McCone, a female private eye strong enough to compete in the male-dominated crime genre. In 1993, Muller was given the Private Eye Writers of America Life Achievement Award, and the following year her novel Wolf in the Shadows won the Anthony Boucher Award and was nominated for the Edgar Allen Poe Award for Best Crime Novel.

Muller is the co-author of the Carpenter and Quincannon Mystery series with Bill Pronzini.

(Bowker Author Biography)

Reviews 3

Booklist Review

A stand-alone story from the author of the Sharon McCone series. Matt Lindstrom leaves the life he has rebuilt in British Columbia to search for his ex-wife, Gwen. After she vanished from their California home, innuendo that he had murdered her ruined him, forcing his relocation. He discovers that she's in a Soledad County town called Cyanide Wells, living with a lesbian lover and an adopted child. When he goes there--For revenge? for solace?--he discovers she has taken off again, this time with the child. He and Carly McGuire, publisher of the county newspaper and Gwen's partner, perform an uneasy dance as they try to bring her back. Gwen has written a Pulitzer Prize^-winning story about the local murder of a gay couple, and in tracing the clues from it, from a passel of local secrets, and from Gwen's complicated emotional life, Matt and Carly uncover the depths of Gwen's duplicity to both of them. The relationship between these two prickly characters, male and female, straight and gay, is the most intriguing aspect of this somewhat overplotted but entertaining whodunit. There's also a genuinely cool use of the Web site, Librarians Index to the Internet ( --GraceAnne A. DeCandido

Publisher's Weekly Review

Anthony-winner Muller delivers another stand-alone (after 2001's Point Deception) set in northern California's fictional Soledad County that fails to measure up to her bestselling Sharon McCone series (Dead Midnight, etc.). After being unjustly suspected of murdering his missing ex-wife, Gwen, Matthew Lindstrom moved from Minnesota, where he taught college photography, to British Columbia, where he operates an excursion boat. When 14 years later an anonymous phone caller tells him Gwen is living in Cyanide Wells, Calif., as Ardis Coleman, Matt goes there to find her and clear his name. Hired by the local newspaper, which has won a Pulitzer for a series on the murder of a gay couple penned by the erratic Ardis, Matt discovers that his ex-wife is in a lesbian relationship with hot-headed newspaper editor Carly McGuire, with whom she shares a mixed-race daughter. When Ardis and the child vanish, Matt and Carly join forces to track them down. While Muller vividly paints the rugged northern California coast with its decaying towns and abandoned logging and mining areas now giving way to retirement communities, she leaves out her usual complicated characters and plot twists. Matt too easily gets the newspaper job, elicits confidences and uncovers secrets. The villains are pretty obvious, as is the secret behind the gay murders. Muller fans may prefer to wait for another McCone novel. Mystery Guild Main Selection. (July 16) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Library Journal Review

In another auspicious departure from her "Sharon McCone" mystery series, Muller once again explores human nature's dark side (including murder and deception) but counterbalanced by the more humane need for closure, redemption, and salvation. When Matt Lindstrom's estranged wife, Gwen, disappears in 1988, suspicion falls on him. Shattered by his Minnesota hometown's ostracisim and the loss of his job, he starts a new life in Port Regis, B.C. Fourteen years later, he receives an anonymous tip that he can find Gwen living as a journalist in Soledad County, CA (the locale of Point Deception), under the name Ardis Coleman. When he arrives in Cyanide Wells to confront her and clear his name, Ardis disappears, leaving Matt and Ardis's lesbian partner, Carly, to follow her path of deception and solve some murders. The development of Carly's character as she works through her emotions and comes to accept the harsh reality of Ardis's deviousness adds a brooding, introspective depth to the novel. Highly recommended for all collections. [Previewed in Prepub Alert, LJ 3/15/03.]-Michelle Foyt, Russell Lib., Middletown, CT (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.