Fremont Jones, still mending from her last adventure (Death Train to Boston
) is called back from San Francisco to Boston because of her father's illness. When Fremont arrives to find him hovering near death, her dislike of her stepmother, Augusta, soon blooms into suspicion about Augusta's role in Leonard's mysterious "wasting" disease. Their strained relationship becomes even more difficult when Fremont insists that Leonard be moved immediately to a hospital. Fremont is so encouraged by her father's progress and so willing to make him happy that, despite her feminist principles, she acquiesces to his wish that she marry her lover Michael, the intriguing Russian émigré who is also her partner in a California detective agency. But then Leonard dies, supposedly of a heart attack. Fremont is certain he's been poisoned, but when Augusta too dies--shot to death--it becomes clear there is more than one adversary for the plucky young woman to contend with, and she sets out to solve the mystery.
Fremont Jones is an intriguing character, a Boston Brahmin and bluestocking whose New England roots are strong and deep and whose independence and autonomy are often in conflict with her love for Michael as well as with the cultural mores and values of her time and place. Author Dianne Day gets the period details down perfectly and adds to the picture of Fremont Jones that has emerged from her previous books featuring this strong-willed, sexy, and consistently interesting heroine. The pace is slow, but both the development of character and the atmosphere Day creates make that a plus rather than a minus. --Jane Adams
From Publishers Weekly
Plenty of period flavor and a heroine who's a nascent feminist with an independent streak as wide as San Francisco Bay distinguish this sixth turn-of-last-century adventure from Macavity Award winner Day (The Strange Files of Fremont Jones). Though still recovering from devastating injuries incurred during a previous outing, feisty Fremont Jones leaves San Francisco to return home to Boston to attend her ill, perhaps dying father, Leonard. Fremont makes the arduous trip cross country accompanied by her lover, Michael Kossoff, co-owner and partner in the J&K (detective) Agency. Fremont has to cope not only with Leonard's illness but also with her stepmother, Augusta, whom she suspects may have been poisoning him, as well as with a greatly changed Boston (or is it she who has changed?). As Fremont faces the inevitable parting from her father, she also begins to deal from a new, adult perspective with the people she knew as a child. Just as she and Michael are on the verge of sorting out some tricky questions of poison and murder, the shooting death of Augusta forces them to reassess their assumptions. Day's astute descriptions of the social mores and day-to-day life in Boston in 1909 are as entertaining as the characters she creates, and give much added pleasure to the reader.
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