Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Book Review: Fire and Fog by Dianne Day

Dianne Day. Fire and Fog. New York: Bantam Books, 1996. 257 pp. $6.50, ISBN 0553569228.

From the back cover:
A locked storeroom proves too fascinating for Fremont Jones to ignore--but the knowledge of what lies inside could lead to terror. Befriending shy, sweet Alice Lasley seems the right thing to do, until Fremont discovers that Alice--and her missing husband--are not what they seem. And when someone begins leaving loathsome offerings at her front door, Fremont's efforts to learn the truth entangle her once again with the disturbingly attractive Michael Archer...as she steals through the charred rubble in pursuit of a killer who would, in a trice, find a way to extinguish her.

This is the second book of the Fremont Jones Mystery series, and once again combines two of my favorite genres--historical fiction and cozy mystery (if you don't know what a cozy mystery is, read more about it here). This installment 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.

Rating: 4.5 of 5 stars


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