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The Strange Files of Fremont Jones by Dianne DayBantam Crime Line, Feb., 1996.
Paperback, 244 pages.
It is 1905 and Caroline Jones is chafing at the restraints that polite society puts on a young woman. Yearning for independence and adventure she leaves her family in Boston to move to San Francisco to start her own business as a "type-writer". Taking the name of her famous adventurer cousin, she becomes Fremont Jones and begins her new life. After adjusting to the strangeness of a new city and a new office, an odd assortment of clients begin to trickle through her door: the mysterious Edgar Allan Partridge with his true tales of horror who leaves a manuscript and promptly disappears, the handsome lawyer who seems to have more on his mind than typewriting services and the ancient Chinese gentleman who is mysteriously murdered after having Fremont type an important document. Never one to let a mystery pass her by, Fremont sets out to investigate the whereabouts of the missing Mr. Partridge and the death of her elderly Chines client who may have been much more than he seemed. Her investigations and a side foray into romance will take her up the California coast and into the depths of Chinatown with danger as her constant companion. Fremont is determined to experience life -- and that's exactly what she does.
The Strange Files of Fremont Jones won the Macavity Award for best first mystery novel and it is easy to see why. Day excels at creating the authentic atmosphere of turn of the century San Francisco. Fremont is a unique, independent and thoroughly charming heroine who never loses her sense of humor -- even in a tight spot. With excitement, intrigue and a fascinating and endearing amateur sleuth, The Strange Files of Fremont Jones is an exhilarating journey to a charming world you won't want to leave.
Once Too Often by Dorothy SimpsonScribner, Feb., 1998.
Hardcover, 223 pages.
Inspector Luke Thanet is back in this 14th installment of the popular police procedural series. As the story opens, Thanet is facing something worse than a grisly murder -- his beloved daughter is getting married and it's up to him to come up with a speech for the wedding. Unhappy over losing his baby girl and wracked with writer's block, Thanet is positively relieved to be presented with a murder to solve. Journalist Jessica Dander is found at the bottom of her stairs with her neck broken and her front door wide open. As Thanet and his assistant Lineham get to work on the case a large number of suspects appear who all had reasons for wanting the obnoxious Jessica to die. As the tale unfolds, the leads are carefully investigated by the police duo, both of whom are having family problems which are revealed to the reader as the case evolves.
Dorothy Simpson again creates the cozy atmosphere of a small English village with a murder which must be solved before Thanet's speech at his daughter's wedding. With its congenial atmosphere and an intriguing mystery, Once Too Often is a welcome addition to this popular series.
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