Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Scandal and Murder in the "Four Hundred"

Gilded Newport Mystery #5
Alyssa Maxwell
Kensington Books
May 25, 2017

What begins as a routine task for reporter Emma Cross, covering the polo match at the legendary Westchester Polo Club in Providence, RI quickly turns into a story that threatens the elite summer residents. Emma herself is far from routine in the town of 1897 Providence. She is a less well-off cousin of the Vanderbilts who runs her own household, works for a living, and has decided ideas about women's equality. Her relations give her entree into most of the social events that she covers for the local paper, but Emma really wants to be an investigative reporter. When a shabbily dressed woman approaches the wife of RI Senator George Peabody Wetmore and asks to speak with her, it causes quite a stir and arouses Emma's curiosity. Emma becomes involved when that same shabby woman is discovered dead at the foot of a staircase in Chateau sur Mer, the Wetmore "cottage". Mrs. Wetmore denies any relationship with the woman. Neither she or her distinguished husband have ever seen the woman before, and she asks Emma to investigate. The investigation leads Emma into the seamier side of Newport, threatening her livelihood and ultimately her life. She is aided and sometimes hindered by Derrick Andrews, a former romantic interest who reappears in her life, and her friend, Jesse Whyte. Jesse is a detective on the town police force, who also has more than a friendly interest in her.

Murder at Chateau sur Mer is another well-researched and plotted book in Alyssa Maxwell's Gilded Newport series. She takes historical figures and builds mysteries around them without sacrificing accuracy in either history or the manners and mores of the day. This time Emma may have gone a little too far with her disregard for proprieties and may have to pay the price. It's an excellent build-up to the next novel in the series, which I will be looking forward to.

Thanks to NetGalley and Kensington Books for an advance digital copy. The opinions are my own.

RATING- 4 Stars

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