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BEACON STREET MOURNING


by Dianne Day

Bantam, 2001
ISBN: 0553580612

Reviewed by Jennifer Ashley

This novel picks up where DEATH TRAIN TO BOSTON left off. Fremont Jones, recovering from her injuries in San Francisco, realizes she has not corresponded with her father since her railroad accident. She sends messages, which, to her alarm are not answered. She dispatches a telegram to a gentleman who had worked with her father at his bank, and he replies that her father is very ill, perhaps dying.

Fremont decides she must get to Boston and discover what is happening. She and her partner and lover, Michael Archer, board a train once again, but this time, she arrives safely at her destination. On her instruction, her father's doctor has put him into a hospital, where he shows great improvement.

Fremont's stepmother is very displeased at Fremont's interference, and Fremont discovers that the woman has changed everything in her father's life from stopping the grandfather clock to refusing to let his old friends see him. She allows her strange son from a previous marriage to live there, even though Fremont's father does not approve.

I won't give away the events (although all the blurbs for this novel do), but Fremont faces her own past, grief, and frustration as she tries to piece together what has happened to her father's life. She becomes distant from Michael and even distant from the person she'd made herself in San Francisco, despite agreeing to get engaged to Michael to please her father.

The mystery revolves around her stepmother, the stepmother's odd son, the doctor and his nurses, and an old friend from the bank (whom Fremont now notices is only as old as Michael). Fremont balances between her past and present and has to make a few hard decisions.

As in the previous books in the series, the solution to the murder seems too easy and cliché. On the other hand, this is a powerful story about facing one's past and mistakes and making choices about the future. Also things change Fremont's life and her relationship with Michael, which makes me eager to read the next story in the series.

(Edcom: reviews of other books in this series are available in the morgue.)

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