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The Avalanche

Gertrude Atherton

Book Overview: 

Price Ruyler has been sent to San Francisco from New York to salvage the family business after the 1906 earthquake. His success makes him one of the city's most eligible bachelors but he resists the machinations of the local girls (and their mothers). Then he meets the beautiful and captivating Helene. He proposes within a week. Into the fourth year of their marriage, he realizes something has changed. He still loves his wife and he believes she loves him but he begins to wonder about her mysterious past and questions whether family secrets were buried in the rubble left by the earthquake.

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Book Excerpt: 
. . .Tell me," he exclaimed, and the new fear almost choked him, "does any other man interest you—the least little bit?"

She stared at him and then burst into the most natural laugh he had heard from her for months. "That is simply too funny to talk about."

"But I am able to give you so little of my time. Working or tired out at night—letting you go out so much alone—but I haven't the heart to insist that you yawn over a book, while I am shut up here, or too fagged to talk even to you. Life is becoming a tragedy for business men—if they've got it in them to care for anything else."

"Well, don't add to the tragedy by cultivating jealousy. I've told you that I am perfectly willing to give up Society and sit like Dora holding your pens—or filling your fountain pen—no, you dictate. What chance has a woman in a business man's life?"

"None, alas, except to look . . . Read More

Community Reviews

I've read quite a few of Atherton's works now and I definitely like her overall. This book was a fun read, though the subtitle "a mystery", is a little misleading. It's not a traditional mystery, per se, but more of a husband finding out things about his wife that he didn't know. It's a short boo...more

A gem of a mystery set in San Francisco soon after the1906 earthquake. I came upon this author, now almost forgotten, by happenstance—which is why reading is such a pleasure

Interesting characters and plot with a unique twist near the end. Kept me glued to the audiobook. Loses one star for the sappy conclusion, though!

This was a very simple mystery. Set in San Francisco after the fire and earthquake.