Dianne Day. Fire and Fog (1996) 241 pp.
Caroline “Fremont” Jones is a plucky, independent typist-for-hire who has a knack for becoming an unwitting, amateur sleuth. She is in turn-of-the-century San Francisco, having left her family home in Boston to make her own way. This second book in the series opens at 5:12AM, April 18, 1906, as Fremont, in a Western Addition rooming house, is awoken from her dreams by the earthquake. At first, she is excited to be experiencing an earthquake. Her excitement quickly turns to terror as an armoire crashes onto her bed (barely missing her) and tumbles her onto the floor. The mystery in this novel begins when Fremont goes to her office to try to recover her typewriter and discovers several crates broken open in an adjacent room. They are filled with Japanese artifacts, which make her suspect that her landlords are involved in a smuggling operation. Unable to stay in her room or occupy her office, Fremont relocates to the tent city in Golden Gate Park, learns to operate an automobile, and makes herself useful driving for the Red Cross. Smuggling turns to murder as Fremont gets caught in the crossfire between the smugglers and the Japanese agents sent to recover the stolen treasures. In addition to a vivid description of the quake and the fires that followed it, this novel offers interesting visions of life in the Golden Gate Park tent city, the efforts of the Red Cross, the military, and others in the aftermath, and of the outdoor kitchens set up around the neighborhoods.
Setting: San Francisco