Books by Dianne Day

Released: Sept. 1, 2000

"Forget Fremont's rickety legs; her real handicap here involves her sorry mental obliviousness. Good thing she has help from her father's nurses and from men formerly blinded by Augusta's wiles. She needs it this time."
Left physically and emotionally wounded at the end of her last adventure (Death Train to Boston, 1999), San Francisco investigator Fremont Jones limps toward her native Boston to face the thorniest mysteries of identity and inheritance linking parents, children, and spouses. Fremont needs care herself—solicitously provided by her lover and business partner Michael Kossoff—even as she resolves to protect the father she had fled in 1905 for independence in the West. Desperately ill during a winter of sleet and snow, Leonard Pembroke Jones is abandoned to the care of his femme fatale wife, Augusta, who has stopped the clocks, closed the carriage house, dismissed long-time servants, and forbidden all visitors but her own son from Fremont's childhood home. Assuming the detested role of dutiful daughter, Fremont seeks to unmask the wicked stepmother who has bewitched her father and whose ministrations, she is convinced, lie at the root of an illness that soon proves fatal. Then Augusta dies, leaving the icy game afoot outside the house especially treacherous for a sleuth with a cane. While the male police and her partner Michael take the place of her legs, Fremont settles for a more conventionally female role from the traditional amateur mystery. But her snooping at home, unraveling domestic intimacies and betrayals, leaves her alone in the house when suddenly dangerous truths are revealed and moral choices forced on her. Read full book review >
Released: Sept. 14, 1999

Forget about the title. The train carrying Fremont Jones and Michael Kossoff eastward from San Francisco is dynamited before page one, leaving the two partners in love and work (the Agency, Discreet Inquiries) wounded, separated, and ignorant of each other's fate. Michael, whose broken collarbone has hardly slowed him down, soon books passage again with Fremont's Palo Alto friend Meiling Li. He's bent on determining whether the explosion had anything to do with the harassing vandalism on the Southern Pacific line he and Fremont had originally been hired to investigate. And since Michael's enemies have a trick of popping up again like Wile E. Coyote, it's not long before he's encountered two adversaries he thought were dead, both of them evidently hired to spy on him or kill him. Meanwhile, Fremont's peril is greater: She's been rescued by Melancthon Pratt, a Mormon who's convinced that his five wives are all barren and that an angel has sent him to the spot where Fremont, flung clear of the train, lay with two broken legs. Can Fremont figure out which of the wives might help her escape while Michael struggles toward her, dogged by killers with every mile? Light on mystery, medium-light on romantic intrigue, heavy on cliffhanger endings, Fremont's fifth (Emperor Norton's Ghost, 1998, etc.) will best please audiences who really wonder about the answers to those questions. Read full book review >
Released: July 1, 1997

What do you do for an encore to the San Francisco Earthquake? Fremont Jones, the enterprising typist who survived the quake in typically adventurous style (Fire and Fog, 1996), isn't quite ready to follow her enigmatic suitor Michael Archer all the way to Carmel-by-the-Sea. But she's willing to follow him most of the way, just over the hills to Pacific Grove, where she's taken up a six-month residence as temporary keeper of the Point Pinos Lighthouse. The job is not only thoroughly appropriate for Fremont's independent spirit; it also allows her to be on hand when a body floats past the lighthouse down Monterey Bay. Alerted by Fremont, the authorities pluck the well- dressed corpse from the bay and establish that she was dead before she hit the water. But it's soon clear that despite her finery, nobody cares about this Jane Doe—not Michael (now calling himself ``Misha Kossoff''), who refuses to ask his neighbors about her because nobody knows he's gone missing; not his new acquaintances, free-living artists who seem good for nothing but serving as colorful suspects and future victims; and certainly not the police. But it's going to be hard for Fremont to get the body identified when Phoebe Brown, the obliging sculptor who draws a picture of the dead face, soon disappears along with all of her sketches—and the corpse itself. Fremont's standby good humor, and the two shivery and generously excerpted manuscripts she's typing—a volume of ghost stories and a disturbing tale about a man who buys dreams—help offset the lack of mystery or excitement at the heart of her third case. Read full book review >
FIRE AND FOG by Dianne Day
Released: July 1, 1996

Not even the San Francisco earthquake of 1906 can keep indomitable typist Fremont Jones down. Oh, the earthquake and the subsequent fire destroy her home and most of her belongings and separate her from her rooming-house neighbor Michael Archer (The Strange Files of Fremont Jones, 1995), but as long as she's left with her independence and her beloved typewriter, there's nothing to prevent her from immersing herself in new adventures: driving Michael's Maxwell on errands of mercy, helping the Red Cross relief effort, digging in the rubble with her friend Meiling Li for the lost pearls that will finance Meiling's escape from her importunate fiancÇ, keeping her own unwelcome suitor at arm's length, and, inevitably, solving a murder. The victim is scaredy- cat librarian Alice Lasley, who, bereft of her husband, offers Fremont room in her apartment, only to get her throat cut anyway by whoever she was afraid of. Worse still, when Fremont goes to report the murder to the skeptical local law, they return to find Alice's body gone and announce themselves too busy with real emergencies to follow up Fremont's vaporings. It's exactly the sort of official rebuke needed to provoke Fremont and the newly returned Michael to their successful conclusion of a most untidy case. Despite the uproar in which the earthquake seems to have left the plot, Day's decorous, spirited heroine is as charming as ever as she picks her way through a world of rubble where every acquaintance could be a killer. Read full book review >
Released: April 1, 1995

Author of several novels under other names, Day here introduces Fremont (nÇe Caroline) Jones, the strong-willed daughter of a proper Bostonian widower, the Hon. Leonard Jones, who's about to remarry. It's 1905 and Fremont's decision to move to San Francisco is a daring one, made possible by her mother's legacy and her own skill as a typist. She settles into an apartment in Mrs. O'Leary's house and sets up a typing service over a bookstore. Customers come in satisfying numbers, bringing problems that an inquisitive Fremont soon makes her own. There's handsome young lawyer Justin Cameron, whose torrid lovemaking sways Fremont's decision never to marry; wild-eyed Edgar Allan Partridge, who leaves a sheaf of spooky stories he claims are true, pays his fee, and never returns to pick up his work; elderly Li Wong, murdered after picking up a one-page document that has now vanished. On top of it all is a Russian fellow, Michael Archer, who's also an apartment dweller at Mrs. O'Leary's and who may be a spy—or worse. Fremont explores Chinatown, lighthouse towers, and residential streets as she tries to solve her self-inflicted puzzles, losing the reader in the maze. A fine, buoyant literary style falls victim to overkill plotting—and to a spirited, likable heroine unaccountably deficient in common sense. Read full book review >