Author of several novels under other names, Day here introduces Fremont (nile 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 fails victim to overkill plotting -- and to a spirited, likable heroine unaccountably deficient in common sense.