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.