The year is 1902. John Sagacity Adair, “Sage” to his friends, is a wealthy restaurant proprietor in Portland, Oregon. Beneath the flickering gaslights of his elegant eatery, Mozart’s Table, Sage appears urbane and attractively shallow. Yet, he is someone altogether different. Haunted by memories of an impoverished childhood, Sage seeks acceptance by City’s financial elite only so that he can expose their secrets.
After nearly two years of social maneuvering, he has won an invitation to Arista Dunlop’s exclusive soiree. By the end of that night, more questions are raised than he thinks can be answered. What is the secret deal Portland’s financiers are so eager to hide? Did his cook’s nephew knife the brutal railroad guard? And, why has his Chinese colleague chosen such an inopportune time to make the distracting observations that “a soul needs unbreakedness?” Nothing is turning out as Sage planned.
Though eager to pursue leads overheard at the soiree, the entreaties of Sage’s cook bring a halt to his plans. Her nephew stands accused of murder. While Sage knows that railroad guard deserved to die, he also knows that it is up to him to prove the young boy innocent.
Donning the clothes and persona of America’s turn-of-the-century itinerant workers, Sage seeks answers to the two seemly disparate questions: Who really killed the railroad bull, Clancy Steele? What is the secret deal the financiers are trying to hide? Obscuring his quest like a low-hanging cloud, is Fong’s comment about the soul’s need for unbreakedness.
The ensuing search takes Sage into hobo jungles, rural farms, bordellos and logging camps only to have the answers finally emerge in the drawing room of one of Portland’s wealthiest citizens.
|Realism:||Consistent with real world, no magic, no unachieved science|
|Setting Type:||Urban (city)|
|Time Period:||1900 - 1949|
Styles & Themes
|Humor:||Moments of levity|
|Inspires Reader to Feel:||Politically or Socially Motivated|
|Mysteries & Puzzles:||Significant mystery(ies) are core to driving the story|
|Physical Action:||Frequent action, driven by threat to safety or life by antagonist(s)|
|Political/Social Commentary:||Story includes metaphors for social or political theme(s)|
|Romance:||Minor romance, not a significant story driver|
|Mysteries & Puzzles:||