An amateur sleuth goes the extra mile to aid her police officer husband.
Capt. Daniel Sullivan is too honest to suit the New York police department of 1906, so he jumps at the chance of doing a special job for John Wilkie, head of the U.S. Secret Service, that could lead to a long-term appointment. Molly Murphy Sullivan has no great love for Wilkie, who dismisses her considerable sleuthing skills, but she recognizes an excellent opportunity for Daniel, who goes off to Washington, giving her no clue what his job might be. In his absence, socialite Mrs. Endicott shows Molly a motion picture that depicts her husband, whose business is all on the East Coast, at a hotel in San Francisco and shows Daniel in the background. Molly is surprised, especially when she receives a strange letter from Daniel which she reads as an appeal for her to go to San Francisco. Leaving her ward with her two closest friends, she and her young son, Liam, catch the train west, agreeing to look for Endicott as well. The trip is made more pleasant by Mr. Paxton, an employee of the Metropolitan Opera who’s going west to smooth things for the company members who will be singing with the great Enrico Caruso. Upon arriving, Molly goes to the police to find Daniel—only to be told that he fell off a cliff and was just buried. Molly seems poised to make some startling discoveries when the San Francisco earthquake and an ensuing fire put her and Liam in a life-threatening situation that will take all her skills to survive.
Mystery takes a back seat to history in Molly’s 16th adventure (Away in a Manger, 2015, etc.), in which real-life tragedies jostle with lucky escapes for our heroine.