BILL PRONZINI – The Vanished.  Nameless PI #2. Random House, hardcover, 1973. Pocket, paperback, 1974. Foul Play Press, softcover, 1984.

   The second investigation by the nameless detective and the usual polished performance from Pronzini. The prose is a pleasure to read, and the story itself has you reaching for the next chapter.  “Nameless” is employed to find a Master Sergeant who has apparently vanished into thin air after returning to his native soil from a final spell of duty  in Europe.

   The detective interviews those of his friends and former comrades who might be able to help — and falls in love with Cheryl, the sister of one of them. The trail leads.from Oregon to Western, Germany, and from there to Northern California. Along the way Nameless picks up the pieces that eventually complete the jigsaw and uncover the vanished.

   The book’s one weakness (if such it be) is that the identity of the criminal can be deduced by reference, not to the clues, but to the inevitability of such a solution in the scheme of things for poor old Nameless.

– Reprinted from The Poison Pen, Volume 3, Number 6 (December 1980).