Mexican-American lawyer turned P.I., Tom Aragon, investigates the disappearance of Cleo Jasper, a young woman who is as beautiful as she is simple-minded. Her doting brother will stop at nothing to find his defenseless sister, but Aragon realizes that he has once again found himself in over his head when Cleo’s friend turns up dead amidst a sea of somewhat dubious suicide notes.
Tom Aragon receives a strange visit at his law office: a 22-year-old woman named Cleo Jasper, self-described as mentally retarded, comes in to ask him about her rights. The visit lasts fifteen minutes, then Cleo wanders off. Two days later, Tom Aragon is visited by a different Jasper: Cleo’s older brother, Hilton, her legal guardian. Cleo has disappeared and Hilton Jasper wants to hire the lawyer to find her and bring her back. Has Cleo, a legal adult, taken stock of her “rights” and run away? Or did someone take advantage of the simple, suggestible young woman, and something more sinister is afoot?
In this carefully-drawn character study, master of suspense Margaret Millar reveals hard and poignant truths about mental illness, the exploitability of those affected, and the challenges for their families, loved ones, and caretakers.
Mystery Writers of America Grand Master Winner of the Edgar Award for Best Novel Los Angeles Times Woman of the Year
“One of the most original and vital voices in all of American crime fiction.” —Laura Lippman
“I long ago changed my writing name to Ross Macdonald for obvious reasons.” —Kenneth Millar (Ross Macdonald), in a letter to the Toronto Saturday Night newspaper
“Very Original.” —Agatha Christie
“Stunningly original.” —Val McDermid
“She has few peers, and no superior in the art of bamboozlement.” —Julian Symons
“Written with such complete realization of every character that the most bitter antagonist of mystery fiction may be forced to acknowledge it as a work of art.” —Anthony Boucher reviewing Beast in View for the New York Times
“Margaret Millar can build up the sensation of fear so strongly that at the end it literally hits you like a battering ram.” —BBC
“Wonderfully ingenious.” —The New Yorker
“Brilliantly superlative… One of the most impressive additions to mystery literature—and the word “literature” is used in its fullest sense.” —San Francisco Chronicle
“In the whole of crime fiction’s distinguished sisterhood, there is no one quite like Margaret Millar.” —The Guardian
“A superb writer.” —H.R.F. Keating
“She writes minor classics.” —Washington Post
“Mrs. Millar doesn’t attract fans she creates addicts.” —Dilys Winn, namesake of the Dilys Award