Eberhart in her least lively mystery/gothic/historical vein--this one set in San Francisco just in time for the 1906 quake. Heroine Mallory Bookever is on her way to S.F. to wed Richard Welbeck, whose huge fortune will make life livable for Mal and aunt-guardian Flo Bel, an impoverished widow with top social credentials. But on the trip west (in Richard's private railway car), there's the inevitable attempt on Mal's life--and others will follow after she gets to Frisco and meets Richard's suspicious cousins. But it's Richard (already incapacitated by a mysterious fail) who gets bumped off--in the chaotic aftermath of the quake. And all the household survivors then scamper over to Casa Madrone--home of Richard's best friend Scott Suydam--where mysteries are solved and hearts entwine. Wooden characters, stilted dialogue, heavy on dress and dâ€šcor--a drab damsel-in-distresser for only the faintest of heart or staunchest of fans.