Warning, this review contains sarcasm and spoilers.
With this book, the author seemed to write the vast majority of the text without having a clue how she was actually going to wrap it all up. So you read through the book with all of these clues hinting at various things, and then at the end - hmm, how do you wrap things up now? I know!
Because that totally makes sense with the NONEXISTENT TIE INS FROM THE REST OF THE BOOK. Need a slightly villanous character killed off? Ninjas! Need to explain the threats to our heroine's life that really don't make sense even in context? Ninjas! Need to kill off that minor character who'd completely changed personality between the last book and this one (continuity? What's that?)? NINJAS! Why the heck not. Because everyone knows that San Francisco was swarming with them in 1906, making them a totally valid option. I have to at least give Ms. Day credit for originality. I, for one, might have gone with a secret society that was found in California at that point, or something related to the rest of the plot, but her creativity allows her to look past those banal boundaries, and instead choose ninjas.
Amazon.com: "I have something of a wild streak in me" says Fremont Jones, the heroine of Fire and Fog. First seen in The Strange Files of Fremont Jones, she returns here a survivor of the great 1906 earthquake in San Francisco. After rescuing her typewriter from the rubble, Jones goes to work helping out the Red Cross, typing letters in the home of a woman she saved during the tremor, hunting for illegal artifacts and investigating a murder. She even gets kidnapped by a ninja. That might seem like a bit much, but then, who's to say that there were no ninjas back then? Besides, the early 20th century was a busy time, and Fremont Jones is a busy, busy woman. She's also a great sleuth and an irrepressible and enjoyable adventuress."
The New York Times Book Review, Marilyn Stasio: "Dianne Day's plucky young heroine ... rises from the rubble to carry on the thrilling adventure of being a liberated woman in a brave new world."
As good as the first one! In both books, the city of San Francisco is almost a character. With the earthquake and fire beginning on page one, the city really is more than just a backdrop. Mrs. O'Leary and mysterious Michael Archer are back. Fremont has 3 swains desirous of her affections, as well as someone trying to kill her for information about which she knows nothing.
Dianne Day's Fremont Jones series is a wonderful, enjoyable series. Fremont lives in turn-of-the-century San Francisco and is an independently minded young woman running a detective agency when this was unheard of for females. Get all the books and read them in order.
This is the second book of the Fremont Jones Mystery series, and takes place in San Francisco during and after the earthquake and fire of 1906.
After the earthquake and fire leave her homeless, Fremont finds herself thrown into a plethora of unexpected situations. Her friend Michael (who she suspects is a spy) lends her his car to help the Red Cross while he leaves town on unexpected business. In the process of ferrying doctors, supplies, and personnel she encounters a disoriented and paranoid acquaintance and agrees to become her roommate. Her roommate later disappears and Fremont is left to try and figure out just what happened. In the meantime, she must deal with interested suitors, a marriage proposal, the destruction of her precious typewriter (she is a typist), ninjas, treasure, and people who are not who they seem.
Fremont Jones is an unusual woman for her time. She is independent, she owns her own business, and she does not want to get married. In these ways, the series is a tad unrealistic, but these attributes also make her an awfully interesting character. Sometimes her independent nature makes her a bit too stubborn, and keeps her from seeing the big picture (this sometimes frustrates me about this character). But other than that, I truly enjoyed the book. I am really liking the time period and location of this series a lot more than I thought I would, and I was also happy to see it did not include any love scenes (the first of the series had one short scene--love scenes weird me out a little in a mystery when I'm not expecting it). I will definitely be looking to pick up the next book in the series.