Five years ago Caroline Fremont Jones fled the proper world of her native Boston for the independent life of a California private detective. But now, in the winter of 1909, she is grief-stricken to learn of her fathers grave illness. Still hampered by half-healed injuries from her last adventure but buoyed by her ever-deepening affection for her partner in love and work, Michael Kossoff Fremont leaves sunny San Francisco for the ice-edged air and handsome mansions of Beacon Street.Her visit has scarcely begun when her father, suffering from a malady not even his doctor can diagnose, takes a turn for the better ... only to die suddenly in the middle of the night. Fremont is certain her odious stepmother, Augusta, somehow caused her fathers death. But how? And did she have an accomplice? Michael questions Fremonts suspicions ... until an exotic piece of evidence and a second, violent death trigger an investigation that draws upon childhood memories and fears to become Fremonts most personal one yet.