'Newport, Rhode Island, August 1895:
She may be a less well-heeled relation, but as second cousin to millionaire patriarch Cornelius Vanderbilt, twenty-one-year-old Emma Cross is on the guest list for a grand ball at the Breakers, the Vanderbilts' summer home. She also has a job to do--report on the event for the society page of the Newport Observer.
But Emma observes much more than glitz and gaiety when she witnesses a murder. The victim is Cornelius Vanderbilt's financial secretary, who plunges off a balcony faster than falling stock prices. Emma's black sheep brother Brady is found in Cornelius' bedroom passed out next to a bottle of bourbon and stolen plans for a new railroad line. Brady has barely come to before the police have arrested him for the murder. But Emma is sure someone is trying to railroad her brother and resolves to find the real killer at any cost...'
If I could imagine a perfect historical mystery with the right amount of historical element, engaging characters and a plot line to die for, this is the novel that would come to mind. After reading several glowing reviews of this book and reading the synopsis, I decided that I had to find out whether this book was any good by reading it myself. So glad that I did. I definitely enjoyed this one from page one to the very last page. I find a lot of endearing qualities in the main character, Emma Cross, that I tend to enjoy while reading mystery books. Emma is a strong and determined individual who doesn't let anything stand in her way and when her brother is accused of a murder she knows he couldn't have committed, she does everything she can to clear his name.
I love how the author uses the Vanderbilts as a backdrop in this book. Emma is a distant and less well off relation to the family, but she is close and they do make a lot of appearances in this novel. I liked how the author used real life tidbits about the family and found a way to incorporate those into this book. It made the book seem more genuine and that the author had done a substantial amount of research into the novel. Maxwell has created an independent and smart amateur sleuth in Emma Cross and I was thrilled to learn that another book in this series will be released in the fall of this year.
I can't wait to see how Emma handles her upper-crust family, her wayward brother and he curiosity in the next book. I think that Maxwell has created a masterpiece with this novel and I hope that the series continues to be as good as this book was. If you love historical mysteries, please don't miss out on this one. It caught my eye on several blogs that I follow and I am so glad that I was curious enough to give it a shot. A refreshing and new voice in the historical mystery genre and one that I hope will be around to stay.
Overall Rating: 5+
Title: Murder at the Breakers
Author: Alyssa Maxwell
Series: Gilded Newport Mystery #1
Publisher: Kensington Books
Publication Date: March 25, 2014
Genre: Historical Mystery
Get It: Amazon; Barnes & Noble
Disclaimer: This book was purchased by myself and I reviewed this book without compensation of any kind. All thoughts and opinions are solely mine.