Cover image for Beacon Street mourning : a Freemont Jones mystery
Beacon Street mourning : a Freemont Jones mystery
Day, Dianne.
Personal Author:
First edition.
Publication Information:
New York : Doubleday, 2000.
Physical Description:
278 pages ; 25 cm
Program Information:
Accelerated Reader AR UG 6.6 14.0 56902.
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X Adult Fiction Central Closed Stacks

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Deadly crime turns to personal tragedy  for the normally intrepid Fremont Jones in the latest of Dianne Day's acclaimed series of historical mysteries. Still not completely recovered from the two broken legs she suffered in her previous adventure, Fremont Jones learns that her father, Leonard Pembroke Jones, is gravely ill and hospitalized in Boston. Deeply distressed, and always suspicious of her detested stepmother, Augusta, Fremont sets out at once with her life-partner, Michael Archer, to be at her father's side.  Their arrival finds Leonard slightly improved, and despite his physician's doubts about the possibility of a full recovery, he is sent home-much to Fremont's dismay-only to die shortly thereafter in the middle of the night. Could Augusta be complicit in his illness? Fremont is certain of it, and she immediately begins to search the house for possible poisons. But then Augusta herself is shot to death, which would seem to exonerate her from blame-or does it? Determined to uncover the truth, Michael and Fremont embark on their own private investigation and soon discover potential suspects in some of the least likely places. Rich in the same period atmosphere for which Dianne Day's previous books have been so highly praised,Beacon Street Mourningalso adds fascinating new dimensions to the character of Fremont Jones. Thrust back into the world of her childhood-the proper Bostonian world from which she fled just a few short years ago-Fremont is forced to face previously unacknowledged feelings and hidden fears. And at the same time, she must use her hard-won skills as an objective investigator to solve the most personal case of her career.  In her most intensely charged novel to date, Day proves once more that she is not only an extremely skilled weaver of intricate puzzles but also an expert in plumbing the depths of human emotion.

Reviews 3

Booklist Review

Still recovering from injuries sustained in her last adventure, Fremont Jones is impelled to take the long trip back to Boston from her home in San Francisco. She and her love and work partner, Michael Kossof, return to where Fremont grew up, for her father is gravely ill. Plunging into the rich atmosphere of upper-crust Boston in the winter of 1909, Day's tale mesmerizes with long-festering secrets. Fremont loathes and fears Augusta, the woman her father has married, but when her father dies (even though he had seemed to be recovering) and Augusta is shot to death, Freemont and Michael focus on what they do best--investigating a crime. Fremont's insistent and overbearing independence grates in this episode, and she teases Michael by accepting a ring from him and planning a wedding. The tale's a bit overstuffed with villains, not to mention rife with poisonings, abandoned servants, a sick child, and hints of impotence and abuse. It's hard to let Fremont get away, though, and fans will eagerly await her next compelling stew of mystery, horror, and romance. --GraceAnne A. DeCandido

Publisher's Weekly Review

Plenty of period flavor and a heroine who's a nascent feminist with an independent streak as wide as San Francisco Bay distinguish this sixth turn-of-last-century adventure from Macavity Award winner Day (The Strange Files of Fremont Jones). Though still recovering from devastating injuries incurred during a previous outing, feisty Fremont Jones leaves San Francisco to return home to Boston to attend her ill, perhaps dying father, Leonard. Fremont makes the arduous trip cross country accompanied by her lover, Michael Kossoff, co-owner and partner in the J&K (detective) Agency. Fremont has to cope not only with Leonard's illness but also with her stepmother, Augusta, whom she suspects may have been poisoning him, as well as with a greatly changed Boston (or is it she who has changed?). As Fremont faces the inevitable parting from her father, she also begins to deal from a new, adult perspective with the people she knew as a child. Just as she and Michael are on the verge of sorting out some tricky questions of poison and murder, the shooting death of Augusta forces them to reassess their assumptions. Day's astute descriptions of the social mores and day-to-day life in Boston in 1909 are as entertaining as the characters she creates, and give much added pleasure to the reader. (Sept.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Library Journal Review

Turn-of-the-century San Francisco's feisty detective, Fremont Jones, hastens to her dying father's bedside in Boston. After he dies, Fremont is convinced that her disliked stepmother poisoned himDuntil someone kills her. Fremont and partner/lover Michael Archer subsequently expose any number of suspects. A wonderful, atmospheric historical mystery. (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.



San Francisco * January 1909 WITH THE TURN of the New Year came, as always, a time of resolutions and new beginnings. No more could I afford the vaguely pleasurable limbo in which I'd lately been floating. So I took stock and began to deal with feelings of guilt I had metaphorically swept under the carpet. Since my return to San Francisco in early December from a certain trip I didn't even like to think about, I'd allowed myself to luxuriate in feelings of safety and belonging. I was daily overwhelmed with gratitude at simply finding myself alive--especially considering a number of things that had happened while I was away that might have produced quite the opposite result. There were times when to be alive and in love with my partner Michael Kossoff was almost more happiness than I could bear. Of course there were also times when I wished I were strong enough to throw him off the roof of our house at the top of Divisadero Street, but that's another story. If I were honest, I had to admit that underneath my happiness ran a subterranean vein of the most profound disquiet, and in this vein lay the source of my guilt: deep concerns about my father. I was worried about his health and general well-being, certain I had good reason for worry, and yet I had done next to nothing. Oh, I had a good excuse for my inaction: two broken legs that were excruciatingly slow to heal, and some unpleasant mental and emotional aftereffects of that aforementioned trip. I would have denied having any problem other than my legs if anyone had asked, especially Michael; lacking control over one's thoughts and feelings can be most distressing. My legs were stronger now--I had recently traded my crutches for two canes--and even though I was less sure about strength in the rest of me, I could not wait any longer to do something about Father. Ever testing limits, I tucked one cane under my left arm and, leaning only upon the other one, started across the sitting room. Three steps: drops of perspiration broke out on my forehead. This was agony--not so much physical, although there was pain. The embarrassing truth was, ever since giving up the crutches, I'd been afraid of falling. Breathing hard against fear's chill, I thought: Why push myself too far? I needed both the canes, for balance as well as support. Even so, I forced one more step before allowing the relief that flooded me as soon as I put that second cane to the floor. If I hadn't known better, I could've sworn this house had grown larger during the time I was away. It took a ridiculously long time to cross this room. Or any room. Finally I reached the other side, as sweat-drenched as if I'd run a race in midsummer rather than walked a few steps indoors on a gloomy, rainy San Francisco winter day. Taking a seat at a little antique writing desk that had been a welcome-home gift from Michael, I heard the telephone ring right beneath my feet. Downstairs on my side of our double house is the office suite of J&K, the private investigation agency that Michael and I own and operate together. Not that I had lately been of any use to our operation whatsoever. I sighed, and reached for writing paper. The telephone rang three times before it was picked up, then faintly I heard the inimitable tones of Edna Stephenson's voice. She has a large voice for such a small woman, yet I couldn't make out her exact words. Never mind, she always said the same thing anyway: "The J and K Agency. This is Mrs. Stephenson, the receptionist, speaking. May I help you?" I smiled, then frowned, straining to hear even though I knew the chance of my being able to make out the words through the thick walls of the house was slim to none. Lately my pleasure at being safe and sound has been regularly outweighed by a strong desire to resume all my normal activities, such as snooping. As an eavesdropper I excelled, in large part due to my unusually acute hearing. But here the walls defeated me; in the world at large my physical limitations did the same. What good is a detective who cannot walk unaided? For whom a flight of stairs presents a formidable obstacle? How long, oh how long before I would be myself again? My present routine had me going downstairs to the office twice a day, once in the morning and once in the afternoon, to meet with the others and hear what cases the agency had going. These two trips up and down were all I could physically handle. Sitting in on case discussion was not enough for me. I wanted to do more. I might have stayed downstairs to do typewriting in the mornings, I was physically capable of that--but Edna had become quite a good typewriter. She could run the office alone. She did not need me, and after a few minutes I inevitably felt like an intruder. The office was no longer my territory, I had made myself into a detective, or an investigator, and if I could not detect or investigate then I felt useless. Downstairs the sound of Edna's voice ceased; involuntarily I winced as she banged the earpiece back on its hook, a gentle hang-up not being Edna's style. For a moment I pictured her slipping out of her chair--she is a short woman whose feet do not quite reach the floor when she sits at her desk--then tottering on tiny feet across the front office, through the conference room, and then into the kitchen. I glanced at my pendant watch--another gift from Michael, who has been showering me with entirely too many presents lately--to confirm the time. As I'd thought, it was about 4 p.m. In another hour I would make my way down the stairs to follow the same path Edna had just taken in my mind's eye, back to the kitchen where she and Michael and Wish and I would discuss what they had done today. Wish Stephenson is our other investigator, and Edna is his mother. The others would talk and I would listen; greedily, enviously I would drink in their words along with Edna's scalding coffee. Excerpted from Beacon Street Mourning: A Fremont Jones Mystery by Dianne Day All rights reserved by the original copyright owners. Excerpts are provided for display purposes only and may not be reproduced, reprinted or distributed without the written permission of the publisher.