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Dianne Day Books In Order

Publication Order of Fremont Jones Books

The Strange Files of Fremont Jones (1995) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Fire and Fog (1996) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
The Bohemian Murders (1997) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Emperor Norton's Ghost (1998) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Death Train to Boston (1999) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Beacon Street Mourning (2000) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle

Publication Order of Standalone Novels

Obsidian (1987) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
The Stone House (1989) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Cut to the Heart (2002) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle


Ava Dianne Day was born on 5th July 1938 in Mississippi delta. Her father died while she was still very young. She later moved to San Francisco Bay area. She was elected as a member of Phi Beta Kappa after graduating from the Stanford University with honors in BA in English. She moved to Cambridge, MA after getting married. She studied at Radcliffe Institute for a year and Tufts University where she studied Psychology while working. After giving birth to her sons, she relocated to Chapel Hill, NC with his family. She worked in hospital administration and mental health counseling in Duke after earning a certificate in hospital management

She had been writing for years but started to write seriously when her youngest son was in college. In 1978, she published Obsidian and The Stone House in 1989. Dianne followed these with other books under pseudonyms Diana Bane and Madelyn Sanders. She finally returned to Northern Carolina in 1993 and began working on her mystery series that featured the courageous Fremont Jones, a former Boston debutante leaving behind a conventional and prudish world to find economic independence and adventure in San Francisco. She is well known for these, starting with The Strange Files of Fremont Jones in 1995. This series introduced friends and fans to the character Fremont Jones and brought Dianne critical acclaim. Five books featuring Fremont Jones followed including; Fire and Frog (1997), The Bohemian Murders (1998), Emperor Norton’s Ghost (1999), Death Train to Boston (2000) and Beacon Street Mourning (2001). In 2000, her last individual book, Cut to the Heart was published. This book was set in South Carolina’s Sea Islands with Clara Barton as the Civil War began. Earlier, she had published two other novels, Obsidian (1978) and The Stone House (1989). Dianne has also been part of online writers groups and mystery blogs which greatly miss her presence.

Dianne Day’s books brought San Francisco to life, in fact, the city became more of a character as the other fictional characters of her stories. This San Francisco series is highly recommended to anyone interested in good read books with a great historical setting. If you have always been enthusiastic of San Francisco and all its colorful history, probably her series will be fun to read. Thankfully, Dianne’s marvelous story telling will illuminate in your mind some spectacular sites of the Old San Francisco in 1906.

Her first 2 early books in the series had spectacular fictional stories. They are a good read indeed. For instance, The Strange Files of Fremont Jones is set in the foggy and gas-lit streets of San Francisco where the sounds of clang cable-car bells and horse-drawn carriages still echo around. This series introduces us to an independent and plucky heroine who may be the natural ancestor of the modern private eyes Kat Colorado and Kinsey Millhone. Fremont Jones, a Wellesley graduate and proper Bostonian purchases a train ticket and heads to San Francisco escaping her stepmothers’ meddlesome matchmaking to work as an independent type-writer. She is destined for adventure but soon realizes that her new career might involve a lot of fun than she bargained for, maybe she had not intended to become very personally involved in her client’s lives. First, Justin Cameron, a feckless young lawyer who is dashingly handsome nearly sweeps Jones off her feet with his charm, landing her in danger. Then there is Edgar Allan Partridge who is wildly frightened and strangely disturbed. His phantasmagoric-autobiographical manuscript sends Fremont on a discovery mission up the California coast. Finally, there is the deferential and elegant Li Wong, whose ill-timed death is linked to one of the papers she typed for him, and whose content she can’t recall. With a period and setting precisely observed, and a spirited, feminist protagonist, this first series provides intrigue and entertainment for history lovers and modernists as well.

The second series, Fire and Frog, Fremont Jones portrays a youthful determination and independent spirit making her virtually invincible. Fremont finds herself in the middle of San Francisco earthquake in 1906 after being awakened by a dreadful rumbling and almost crushed by a tumbling armoire. Amidst the ensuing devastation and confusion, Fremont offers to volunteer for the Red Cross, learning to drive a vehicle transporting supplies as well as handsome doctors who spark romances on the way. Her snooping cohort, Michael Archer who is elusive, vanishes leaving Fremont all by herself to fight her romantic feelings for him and investigate the mysteries the earthquake had uncovered. The disaster unearthed a smuggler’s cache which leads Fremont right into danger. Kidnapped by cruel Ninjas, Fremont tries to find her way to safety but gets frustrated at every turn as her friends become suspect too. Alone, Fremont gets her way through the frightening ruins of San Francisco as she narrowly escapes alive.

The other mystery series also have great story lines:

In The Bohemian Murders, Fremont leaves San Francisco to follow and reunite with her suitor after the terrible earthquake of 1906. She is also determined to resume typewriting part-time.

Emperor Norton’s Ghost mystery tells the story about the first case handled by Fremont as a private investigator.

Death Train to Boston series involves Fremont and her partner, Michael being hired by a railroad to investigate a series of accidents.

The last series, Beacon Street Mourning depicts an investigation to unravel the cause of death of Fremont’s father. She suspects her stepmother of killing her dad.

Some other noticeable characters in the series include; Michael Archer Kossoff (partner in work and life), Frances McFadden, Augusta (stepmother) and a lot more.

The six series have been highly reviewed for breaking most rules associated with the genre of crime fiction. In fact, she was awarded the Macavity Award in 1996 for her best first novel or series, The Strange Files of Fremont Jones. This award is a literary prize rewarding works of crime fiction and is awarded every year by members of Mystery Readers International.

Dianne passed away on July 11, 2013, in Eureka. She was suffering congestive heart failure and rheumatoid arthritis complications which lead to her death aged 75. She left behind her two sons and several grandchildren. She will be greatly missed.

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