The book A Search for a Son is a real – not a fictional — detective story. Yes, writing at the end of it, you know that the search will succeed.
But try to imagine the starting position: the son, Paul, well-meaning, not wanting to worry us of possible dangers. Resulting in : us being in the dark.
We were uncertain where he was going. We simply did not know if he had a companion or a guide, or how long it would be before he contacted again. You hear on TV of parents panicking after a person is missing for a day. We remained calm for 3 months beore we started taking steps to solve it.
We glanced at web-sites of detectives agencies:
They had long initial questionnaires: What discos did the missing people go to? What nickname might they call out to each other in such a disco, so that the snoop could go to that disco and listen for it? Etc etc Daft.
And when our next thought was that we might get information from breaking into Paul’s emails (new-fangled at that time), Microsoft refused to help us with the passwords unless we could present a death certificate.