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Vanishing Act, a Jane Whitefield Mystery
Thomas Perry
Fawcett 1996
368 pages

Vanishing Act is the first of only five Jane Whitefield mystery novels by Thomas Perry. Who is Thomas Perry? A writer who wrote four or five thrillers before he found a really good and original character, Jane Whitefield, wrote a few books in that extraordinary series and then dropped it for more novels that are much less interest. Mystery fans can only hope Thomas Perry will go back to his Whitefield series.

Jane Whitefield makes people disappear. She is a one-woman witness protection program who helps people who need a new identity and a new life to get away from some danger they got themselves into. In Vanishing Act, the first mystery in the Jane Whitefield series, Whitefield has just returned home after making a rich man's wife vanish when she finds someone waiting inside her home for her. This man is an ex-cop turned accountant who will soon be accused of defrauding his company of a half million dollars. The man has most of that money even though he did nothing wrong: it is all part of a complicated scheme to which he is to be the scapegoat.

Whitefield helps the man vanish but then discovers something sinister about him, something that puts everything she had done and does in peril. She must find the man again to fix things.

Part of the interest in the Thomas Perry Jane Whitefield mysteries is the basic idea behind the stories: a woman who makes the innocent disappear. Another point of interest here is Whitefield is a Native American and her back story, the legends and gods she sometimes refers to become as interesting as the plot itself.

Perry had a great series going with Jane Whitefield. Granted, the fifth novel in the series was not as good as its predecessors but this reader fails to understand why a writer would drop such an interesting (and, lets face it, profitable) series to return to being just another guy who writes thrillers and mysteries.

Aside from Vanishing Act, books in the Jane Whitefield mystery series include Dance For The Dead, Shadow Woman, The Face-Changers, and Blood Money.