Page One: Vanished
A Robin Hamilton Mystery by Nancy Barr
Review: Nancy Barr's second Robin Hamilton mystery, Page One: Vanished, opens with the small town reporter finding a scrapbook in a used bookstore that prompts her to investigate the disappearance of a young girl over 30 years ago.
While discussing the scrapbook with a friend, she learns another girl disappeared in the same general area, though many years later. As she continues to pursue her story, she discovers several teenaged girls had disappeared without a trace over a three decade period. But the only thing they apparently had in common was their interest in the arts: music, painting, and the like. When another girl vanishes, Robin is convinced it's related to the disappearance of all the others, and is determined to find out who is responsible.
Certainly a great appeal of this series is the setting. Both the first book in this series and this one are set in Michigan's Upper Peninsula. There are no large cities in this sparsely populated region, just small towns widely separated. As a reporter for a local newspaper, she doesn't have access to all of the resources a large city daily would have, and her low-tech pursuit for the truth is exciting to follow. In the end, Barr puts an unexpected twist on the highly foreshadowed conclusion making it much more intriguing than it otherwise would have been.
At over 300 pages, Page One: Vanished is far too long for the story being told. True, Robin has a lot of ground to cover during her investigation, but it isn't strictly necessary to relate every detail of every trip she takes as she travels from one town to the next. And she does a lot of traveling. It's interesting at first, but rapidly gets repetitive.
Robin Hamilton is one small town investigative reporter that is worth getting to know. It's not essential to read the first two books in order, but doing so helps the reader understand some of her development as a character here. One can look forward to a third book in the series: a hint to its storyline is given in the final paragraphs of Page One: Vanished.
Acknowledgment: Arbutus Press provided a copy of Page One: Vanished for this review.
Review Copyright © 2007 — Hidden Staircase Mystery Books — All Rights Reserved
Selected reviews of other mysteries by this author …
Page One: Hit and Run
Arbutus Press (Trade Paperback), July 2006
ISBN-13: 9781933926155; ISBN-10: 1933926155
Location(s) referenced in Page One: Vanished: Upper Peninsula, Michigan
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Page One: Vanished by Nancy Barr — A Robin Hamilton Mystery
Publisher: Arbutus Press
Format: Trade Paperback
Publication Date: May 2007
List Price: $16.95