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The Strange Files of Fremont Jones: A Fremont Jones Mystery (Fremont Jones… (edition 1996)

by Dianne Day

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3441331,845 (3.6)13
Member:Storeetllr
Title:The Strange Files of Fremont Jones: A Fremont Jones Mystery (Fremont Jones Mysteries)
Authors:Dianne Day
Info:Crimeline (1996), Mass Market Paperback, 272 pages
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The Strange Files of Fremont Jones by Dianne Day

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I agree with the synopsis of Day's File of Fremont Jones here on GoodReads in that it compares Jones to Grafton's Kinsey Millhone. The characters certainly have a very similar vibe and I think fans of Grafton's Alphabet Series would enjoy Jones.

I do think I will end up reading through the series eventually but there were some pretty big disappointments in this opener. I really wanted more depth from Jones - as well as a bit more maturity/common sense. Both the main character and the majority of the plot resolution felt coated in naiveté. There was enough to make it an interesting, though quick, read. However, Jones' experiences with China Town, the tease of Gothic elements, and her interactions with other characters felt rather fumbled in parts.

I ended up wishing that Day had avoided the Gothic and Poe side of things and stuck with a Jones Goes to China Town deal; preferably postponing the bigger arc entanglement of Poe for a blank slate. It certainly had enough to itself to warrant the freedom of said slate and I think she could have really played around with it all quite wonderfully because she certainly had something there. It just felt like a long tease with an unsatisfyingly abrupt resolution. It also felt like Day could have given us more weight in the China Town direction because it seemed like she had enough skill to back up a better view of the historical but she reigned it in for some reason.

It's actually this arc entanglement that so reminded me of Grafton's Millhone character and serial mysteries. I've read through the available books this year and the books that have a divided focus end up feeling unsatisfying to me. Whereas Grafton certainly has enough skill to keep you hooked when she focuses her plot. Similarly, Day's Jones feels like it suffered under the same kind of division when it could have shone a lot brighter. ( )
  lamotamant | Sep 22, 2016 |
Set in San Francisco in the early 20th century, The Strange Files of Fremont Jones is about a modern woman who abandons her wealthy Boston home to seek her own life. She has vowed never to marry, so when her father and his new wife are on their honeymoon, she leaves for San Francisco and starts a typing business. Things are going well, and she becomes involved with her new friends: a young lawyer named Justin Cameron, her curious landlady, Mrs O'Leary, and a mysterious neighbor, Michael Archer. Opening up her new Typewriter Service Fremont Jones quickly becomes involved in a mystery when she is approached by a Chinese man who is later found dead. Soon afterward she discovers her office has been burgled and his file stolen. Fremont knows his family needs the information in the letter, which has disappeared, and she is determined to get to the bottom of it all. Along the way, she becomes a private detective, falls in love, and gets in one scrape after another.

I thought this was a promising start to a good series. The time period and the characters are all very colorful. You almost feel the San Francisco of that time. The plot and mystery have some twists and turns that made it very interesting. Ms. Day passed away in 2013 and I noticed there are five more in the Fremont Jones series. I would definitely pick one up to find out what happens to Fremont in the future. ( )
  Olivermagnus | Jan 17, 2016 |
When her father marries a woman who she dislikes Caroline Jones brings forward her plans to live an unconventional life. Determined not to marry because of the way it diminishes the role of the woman, she moves from Boston to San Francisco, changes her name to a gender-neutral Fremont and sets up a business as a typist. And it is that business, plus a fascination with Sherlock Holmes, that introduces Fremont to the role of amateur deduction as she becomes involved in investigating several mysteries that her clients seem to be caught up in. One customer leaves a series of gothic horror stories which he claims to be true for her to type and then disappears, while another is killed shortly after Fremont types a curious document for him.

I enjoyed the depiction of San Francisco in the early 1900′s as a place for adventurers and dreamers and the overall inclusion of period details was well done too. The picture painted of a town at a time of change and flux included things like the adoption of new technologies such as the telephone and electricity and it was very engaging.

For me the rest of the book was not as successful. The blurb on my copy suggested it would be suitable for fans of Elizabeth Peters whose character, Amelia Peabody, does share some traits with Fremont Jones. However I found the writing here more stiff and lacking the underlying sense of humour that Peters conveys with her similarly strident and forward-thinking protagonist. There was also too much focus on a fairly implausible romance between Fremont and her first client for my tastes. The use of the first person narrative and Day’s penchant for exclamation points at the end of innocuous sentences contributed to the impression the entire tale was being told by a breathless teenager seeing intrigue where none exists. In all then the book was a bit more of a melodramatic suspense than I enjoy reading but there are plenty of readers who would disagree, including those who awarded the novel a Macavity award for best first novel in 1996. ( )
  bsquaredinoz | Mar 31, 2013 |
This, the first in the Fremont Jones series, is a historical mystery set in San Francisco previous to the great earthquake of 1906.

Fremont Jones is an independent young woman from Boston, who, in order to escape her intrefering step-mother, establlishes her own typing business in far-away San Francisco.

When handsome lawyer Justin Cameron hires her, he causes her pulse to quicken and her head to whirl, creating a confusing mix of emotions.

Eccentric writer Edgar Allen Partridge hires her to type a manuscript of stories as eerie as those written by his namesake, Edgar Allen Poe. After proclaiming the stories to be true, he vanishes without returning to collect his finished work.

A third client is found murdered after hiring Fremont to type a sensitive document. The man's family turn to her seeking answers.

Her search for E. A. Partridge and for the answers she hopes to find for the murdered man's family lead her to San Francisco's seedy, dangerous underworld, Will it also be there that she will find the answers to her own heart's dilemma?

This was a fairly good mystery. I liked the main character, and the setting and plot were interesting. However interesting the plot was, though, it felt like it was too busy with too many threads. I found that rather distracting. For what it's worth, I also dislike the title. It sounds too much like a juvenile book to me, which it certainly is not. ( )
  bookwoman247 | Apr 27, 2012 |
Fans of historical fiction mysteries will enjoy this story of a spunky young woman at the turn of the 20th century who leaves Boston for San Francisco and opens her own typing business. She becomes embroiled in murder and romance, and the action moves along quite rapidly to a satisfying conclusion. ( )
  sleahey | Jul 25, 2011 |
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For Harvey Klinger, gratefully
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I know what people say about me: that I am willful and opinionated, shockingly eccentric in my manner of dress (this because I will not wear a corset), altogether a trial to my father.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 055356921X, Mass Market Paperback)

Brave, resourceful, adventurous Fremont (née Caroline) Jones is a woman ahead of her time. Hungry for independence, she's traded in her conventional life in Boston for a career as a "type-writer" in turn-of-the-century San Francisco. But Fremont soon discovers that her clients aren't always what they appear to be, and that in doing her job she's transcribing her way into a wealth of mystery--and mortal danger....

Dashing lawyer Justin Cameron well-nigh sweeps Fremont Jones off her feet--and into a situation ripe with perilous intrigue. A client meets an untimely death that Fremant suspects is linked to the paper she typed for him, of which she can recall but one small fragment. And her attempts to disentangle reality and imagination in the gothic tales penned by Edgar Allan Partridge--whose demeanor is one of terror under the barest restraint--send her up the rocky California coast on a mission of discovery from which she may not return....

A riveting, atmospheric mix of intrigue and humor introduces a new investigator as cultivated as Sherlock Holmes and as spunky as Kinsey Millhone.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:19:44 -0400)

(see all 4 descriptions)

"Brave, resourceful, adventurous Fremont (nee Caroline) Jones is a woman ahead of her time. Hungry for independence, she's traded in her conventional life in Boston for a career as a "type-writer" in turn-of-the-century San Francisco. But Fremont soon discovers that her clients aren't always what they appear to be, and that in doing her job she's transcribing her way into a wealth of mystery-and mortal danger ... Dashing lawyer Justin Cameron well-nigh sweeps Fremont Jones off her feet-and into a situation ripe with perilous intrigue. A client meets an untimely death that Fremont suspects is linked to the paper she typed for him, of which she can recall but one small fragment. And her attempts to disentangle reality and imagination in the gothic tales penned by Edgar Allan Partridge-whose demeanor is one of terror under the barest restraint-send her up the rocky California coast on a mission of discovery from which she may not return ..."--BOOK COVER.… (more)

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