Marcia Muller. The Cheshire Cat’s Eye (1983) 149 pp.
San Francisco private investigator Sharon McCone finds a dead body in a Victorian mansion on Steiner Street. The victim is Jake Kaufmann, a house painter and former client of Sharon’s employer, All Souls Legal Cooperative, who had been desperate to talk to her. The house Jake was working on is one of several Western Addition Victorians undergoing renovation so Sharon begins her investigation with members of the city’s architectural community. She soon finds herself squarely in the middle of an ongoing conflict between preservationists, who advocate strict historical accuracy, and renovators who are proponents of turning the homes into flamboyant “painted ladies.” As she investigates the murder, Sharon learns more than she ever really wanted to know about Victorian architecture, rekindles her romance with SFPD homicide lieutenant Greg Marcus, and pursues an extremely valuable, one-of-a-kind Tiffany lamp emblazoned with the grinning face of the Cheshire Cat.
Setting: San Francisco (Western Addition)