The New York Times

The Cracking of a Cold, Cold Case

“The Last Stone: A Masterpiece of Criminal Investigation”

By Mark Bowden

304 pages. Atlantic Monthly Press. $27.

On March 25, 1975, two young girls went missing from a shopping mall in Wheaton, Md., a suburb north of Washington. Sheila and Kate Lyon were sisters, just 12 and 10 years old, from a solid, middle-class family. Until that day, their lives seemed to lack the slightest hint of drama; they had no reason or plan to run away. Decades after the leads ran dry and the searches stopped, the disappearance of the Lyon sisters resonated. Here was every parent’s nightmare — or, as Mark Bowden remembers it, “a regional trauma.”

Bowden was 23 that year, starting his career on the police beat of The Baltimore News-American. Recalling his visits,” and returned often to the subject of police work, including about the problematic gray areas between coercion and torture. When, in 2013, detectives in Maryland started to question the first solid witness in the Lyon case in nearly 40 years, Bowden was ideally positioned to revisit the first major story of his career.

This article originally appeared in .

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