BEACON STREET MOURNING by Dianne Day
A FREMONT JONES MYSTERY
Doubleday, October 2000
Fremont Jones, nee Caroline, has never trusted her step-mother Augusta. When she hears her father suffers from a wasting disease, she suspects the worst and travels from San Francisco to Boston to investigate. Michael Kossoff, her lover and partner in their detective agency, accompanies her, intent on helping or at least preventing Fremont from making a disaster out of herself.
Once Fremont arrives, her father's condition begins to improve--supporting her belief that poison rather than a disease was responsible for his illness. Fremont's plans to marry Michael revive her father still further. Now he has something to live for. Still, how could Augusta have poisoned him for so long without his doctors detecting it?
BEACON STREET MOURNING is set in 1908 and has an authentic feel to it. Social manners were more important than today. Fremont is a strong and independent woman who, nevertheless, is fully subject to the unspoken rules of her society. Those rules become far more crushing as she returns from the more liberal (even then) San Francisco to the conservative Boston. Even with Michael's support, Fremont finds it difficult to get anyone to take her concerns seriously. Even Michael seems taken by Augusta's short-term charm.
Dianne Day writes beautiful prose that brings the reader into the story and environment. Although Fremont is far from perfect, the reader learns to appreciate her for her honesty and spunk.
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