The Ocean Street Motel in Floral Beach, California, is located, oddly enough, on Ocean Street, a stone's throw from the sea wall that slants ten feet down toward the Pacific. The beach is a wide band of beige trampled with footprints that are smoothed away by the high tide every day. Public access is afforded by a set of concrete stairs with a metal rail. A wooden fishing pier, built out into the water, is anchored at the near end by the office of the Port Harbor Authority, which is painted a virulent blue.
Seventeen years ago, Jean Timberlake's body had