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Murder at the Breakers

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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 mo 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’s 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…


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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 mo 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’s 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…

30 review for Murder at the Breakers

  1. 5 out of 5

    Alyssa Maxwell

    My rating on this book is based on how much fun I had writing it!

  2. 5 out of 5

    Melisa

    Really enjoyed this cozy mystery that is a fictional account of many notable historical figures, including the Vanderbilts and the Astors, who I am also currently reading about in an actual history book. I love how the author took true, historical data from the time of these individuals and created a story of *what possibly could have happened that night at The Breakers if a murder had occured* I love when there are strong, spitfire women as central characters who were so atypical of this era. Em Really enjoyed this cozy mystery that is a fictional account of many notable historical figures, including the Vanderbilts and the Astors, who I am also currently reading about in an actual history book. I love how the author took true, historical data from the time of these individuals and created a story of *what possibly could have happened that night at The Breakers if a murder had occured* I love when there are strong, spitfire women as central characters who were so atypical of this era. Emma was such a headstrong detective and I loved her ways (and especially enjoyed how much she loved her horse!). I've already requested the next book in the series, I can't wait to see what happens after this little cliffhanger with Emma!

  3. 4 out of 5

    Holly

    *4.5 stars I found another cozy mystery series to read:) I enjoyed the story, the characters, and the Gilded Age. It was just a simple mystery to get lost in; nothing too taxing on the brain but enjoyable nonetheless.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Kathy

    I wish I could give this 3 1/2 stars. Unfortunately, in my opinion, there is one major flaw. Emma Cross sets out to prove her step brother's innocence of a murder at the Breakers, the Newport mansion of her relatives, Cornelius and Alice Vanderbilt. The good things about the book---the setting is fantastic. We get a clear and beautiful picture of Newport in its heyday. It really makes you feel that you know the place well. The insight into the lives of the super rich is fascinating. (and hopeful I wish I could give this 3 1/2 stars. Unfortunately, in my opinion, there is one major flaw. Emma Cross sets out to prove her step brother's innocence of a murder at the Breakers, the Newport mansion of her relatives, Cornelius and Alice Vanderbilt. The good things about the book---the setting is fantastic. We get a clear and beautiful picture of Newport in its heyday. It really makes you feel that you know the place well. The insight into the lives of the super rich is fascinating. (and hopefully accurate). The main characters are well developed. The major fault---Emma, the leading character, drove me right up the wall. Time after time she put herself in danger by doing something totally stupid. At one point several characters comment on her actions. She is called "pitifully gullible" This sums her up perfectly---she believes what she wants to. Those she likes can do no wrong so let's shove the blame on to someone else whether they deserve it or not. Another character says "What were you thinking? How could you be so reckless?" The answer is that she didn't think. That said, I did enjoy the story and at the end read the chapter of a sequel, Murder at Marble House. I plan to pick that one up when it is published this fall, and I will probably grit my teeth when Emma goes charging in again.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Robin

    A ball is being given at the Vanderbilt's newly rebuilt summer cottage, The Breakers. Reporter Emma Cross, a not-so-rich cousin to the Vanderbilts, receives an invitation and decides to report on the event for the local newspaper. When Emma witnesses the murder of Cornelius Vanderbilt's financial secretary and her stepbrother Brady is arrested, Emma knows he would never kill anyone. Emma decides to use her sleuthing ability to uncover the real killer and get Brady out of jail. I've visited Newpo A ball is being given at the Vanderbilt's newly rebuilt summer cottage, The Breakers. Reporter Emma Cross, a not-so-rich cousin to the Vanderbilts, receives an invitation and decides to report on the event for the local newspaper. When Emma witnesses the murder of Cornelius Vanderbilt's financial secretary and her stepbrother Brady is arrested, Emma knows he would never kill anyone. Emma decides to use her sleuthing ability to uncover the real killer and get Brady out of jail. I've visited Newport a couple of times and thought the idea of a mystery set in The Breakers was a great idea. I loved the setting and the fact that they used real historical figures as some of the major characters in the story. Emma is an independent woman who makes a list of suspects and works at figuring out which one is the killer. The mystery plot was a bit thin. It was kind of easy to figure out who the killer was. But I enjoyed the story enough to look forward to the next book in the series. My rating: 3.5 Stars.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Gina

    It was an okay book. I was looking for a quick, fun read and ran across this book. It could have been so much more, with the inclusion of the Vanderbilts, Astors, and other wealthy families that comprised "The 400" - the wealthy elite at the turn of the century. But this isn't historical fiction. It is a novel which includes some famous families, some facts from the times, and a lot of fluff. Emma Cross is the protagonist. She is so annoying at times. There is a lot of potential, and at times th It was an okay book. I was looking for a quick, fun read and ran across this book. It could have been so much more, with the inclusion of the Vanderbilts, Astors, and other wealthy families that comprised "The 400" - the wealthy elite at the turn of the century. But this isn't historical fiction. It is a novel which includes some famous families, some facts from the times, and a lot of fluff. Emma Cross is the protagonist. She is so annoying at times. There is a lot of potential, and at times the book was charming, but there is a lot of repetition. We are constantly reminded that Emma is NOT part of the elite. She is just a working class girl who happens to be related to the Vanderbilts. I could easily have left the book unfinished, but I don't typically do that. I find myself compelled to finish reading even the most inane books. It wasn't awful, but it wasn't great. I don't think I could recommend it to anyone.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Aaron

    Living in RI and having visited the Breakers a number of times, I sort of felt obligated to read this one. It didn't hurt that I also like cozy mysteries, and the Gilded Age cultures are not all that different from the setting on Downton Abbey. Emmaline (Emma) Cross is a non-traditional young woman living among the social elite in Newport. In fact, she is a cousin to the famous Vanderbilt family, who own the Breakers, through her mother. She would probably be considered one of their poorer relat Living in RI and having visited the Breakers a number of times, I sort of felt obligated to read this one. It didn't hurt that I also like cozy mysteries, and the Gilded Age cultures are not all that different from the setting on Downton Abbey. Emmaline (Emma) Cross is a non-traditional young woman living among the social elite in Newport. In fact, she is a cousin to the famous Vanderbilt family, who own the Breakers, through her mother. She would probably be considered one of their poorer relations. Emma lives in one of the smallest of the "summer cottages," and she is perfectly happy with that. She also has a position with one of the local newspapers, the Newport Observer, writing pieces for the Society pages. The Vanderbilts are having a major party at their home, the Breakers, which has just completed a major reconstruction project after the mansion was basically lost in a fire. It is now the biggest and most extravagant home on the island. It will also be the coming out part for the daughter of the family. Emma knows she will most likely run into her brother (half-brother really) Brady at the party, though he is up to his usual no-good deeds. She is not the only person in her family who is untraditional. Brady likes to drink, gamble, and party, which is probably not the greatest idea since their branch of the family is definitely lacking in the wealth department. He has made her promise not to tell anyone if she sees him up to something because he is trying to fix a mistake he made against their Uncle Cornelius. Things take a terrible turn when Uncle Cornelius' secretary is murdered and thrown over the balcony of one of the estates bedrooms. To make matters worse, Brady is found in the bedroom, knocked unconscious. This makes him the most likely murder suspect. As you can guess, Emma is going to do everything she can to clear Brady of the charges since she knows that he would never murder anyone, even if he has no trouble running afoul of the police in less serious ways. Maxwell has created a fun little mystery set in 1895 Newport. The book is peopled with many of the 400, America's wealthiest families who shared living space in both New York City and Newport (in the summers). Romance, finance, and social intrigue abound as Emma interacts with a number of the rich and their servants in order to solve the mystery of who might have committed the murder at the Breakers. The characters are likable (when they should be), and the book definitely has the feel of a traditional cozy mystery. I did figure out who committed the murder fairly early in the storytelling, but that did not stop me from enjoying the book. Maxwell has done a good job with trying to throw in red herrings. The characters, particularly the suspects, could probably have had a bit more development, but I suspect we will see that in further volumes in the series. I will definitely be looking forward to the next book, Murder at Marblehouse.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Heidi

    Why, oh why is it that some historical fiction writers take absolutely no trouble to write dialogue and description that sounds as if it came from the era they are writing about? Within the first couple of chapters of "Murder at the Breakers" (end of the 19th century), here are a couple phrases that stopped me cold: "Didn't I always?" "He's invited but it's doubtful he'll show." "What can I say?" "Over-the-moon." "And while your father's back is turned, you raid his liquor cabinet." "He's a goner, I Why, oh why is it that some historical fiction writers take absolutely no trouble to write dialogue and description that sounds as if it came from the era they are writing about? Within the first couple of chapters of "Murder at the Breakers" (end of the 19th century), here are a couple phrases that stopped me cold: "Didn't I always?" "He's invited but it's doubtful he'll show." "What can I say?" "Over-the-moon." "And while your father's back is turned, you raid his liquor cabinet." "He's a goner, I'm afraid." "Really? What else is new?" "He's been framed." What is so hard about reading a little Dickens, or Austen, or Edith Wharton to find out how people spoke, and what expressions they used in those days? "To 'show'"! "Over-the-moon" "What can I say?" were so modern it took me right out of the moment. And since the only reason I read a HISTORICAL mystery is, at least partly, to revel in the period, I gave up after three chapters. Flouncy dresses and shining carriages is not enough to make this a historical mystery.

  9. 4 out of 5

    J.J. Lair

    I wanted to like this more. The opulence and grandeur of old Newport sounded exotic. I love history. This had all the makings of a great story. There is already a sequel. The story dragged. There were so many names dropped in the first chapter that I had to write out a list to keep track of them all. After all that, the author gave away the ending 60 pages before the end. She made it obvious. So I rushed through the end and didn't bother with the last chapter. I may read the sequel because this I wanted to like this more. The opulence and grandeur of old Newport sounded exotic. I love history. This had all the makings of a great story. There is already a sequel. The story dragged. There were so many names dropped in the first chapter that I had to write out a list to keep track of them all. After all that, the author gave away the ending 60 pages before the end. She made it obvious. So I rushed through the end and didn't bother with the last chapter. I may read the sequel because this had potential but this ending dropped it.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Brenda Funk

    I love 'cozy' mysteries, but this one was just a little too simplistic, written at a 12 yr old level or so -- I like a little more complexity, a little more 'grey' and with characters that are more developed and 'real'. I love 'cozy' mysteries, but this one was just a little too simplistic, written at a 12 yr old level or so -- I like a little more complexity, a little more 'grey' and with characters that are more developed and 'real'.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Natalie

    My actual rating is probably a 3.5. There was quite a bit I liked about this book. I know Newport RI very well so I had no problem picturing the setting. References to Thames St, Bellevue Ave, Spring St, and Cliff Walk were easy for me to picture because I am very familiar with them. The murder mystery was pretty good too. There were a lot of twists and turns that kept me guessing. Emma wasn't bad as an amateur sleuth either. She's smart and resourceful and doesn't give up. However, a couple of My actual rating is probably a 3.5. There was quite a bit I liked about this book. I know Newport RI very well so I had no problem picturing the setting. References to Thames St, Bellevue Ave, Spring St, and Cliff Walk were easy for me to picture because I am very familiar with them. The murder mystery was pretty good too. There were a lot of twists and turns that kept me guessing. Emma wasn't bad as an amateur sleuth either. She's smart and resourceful and doesn't give up. However, a couple of things really detracted from it for me. First, there are so many characters that it is hard to keep all of them straight, in part because quite a few of them were underdeveloped. My bigger problem with this was the completely unnecessary romance. The story was strong and compelling without adding a love story to it and in my opinion it detracted. Still, I really enjoyed this and will definitely continue with this series. :)

  12. 5 out of 5

    Alisha

    If you're looking for a cozy turn of the century mystery with a hint of luxury and no real surprises, this is for you. I look forward to checking out more in the series. Although it was incredibly easy to figure out who did the murder, I enjoyed the quick pace and the beautiful setting of this story. Emma is a distant relative of the Vanderbilts, living just down the street from their insanely ostentatious mansion in Newport. When she becomes almost-witness to a suspicious death outside the mansio If you're looking for a cozy turn of the century mystery with a hint of luxury and no real surprises, this is for you. I look forward to checking out more in the series. Although it was incredibly easy to figure out who did the murder, I enjoyed the quick pace and the beautiful setting of this story. Emma is a distant relative of the Vanderbilts, living just down the street from their insanely ostentatious mansion in Newport. When she becomes almost-witness to a suspicious death outside the mansion and her half-brother is arrested for it, she starts digging in, determined to prove him innocent. Along the way she revives a friendship with a childhood playmate, runs into a newspaper man who is probably more than he seems, and wrestles with the problem of whom to trust amongst her family and social circles. It's pretty predictable, but it's fun reading if you're in the mood.

  13. 4 out of 5

    QNPoohBear

    Emma Cross is a twenty-one year old spinster from Newport, Rhode Island during the summer of 1895. When her relatives, the Vanderbilts, plan to give a grand fete in honor of her cousin Gertrude's coming-out, Emma is invited as a relative but also as a reporter. Emma must work for her living and she does so as a writer for the society page of a local paper. She longs to be a real reporter writing on real events. When her half-brother Brady comes to her asking for help sneaking into The Breakers, Emma Cross is a twenty-one year old spinster from Newport, Rhode Island during the summer of 1895. When her relatives, the Vanderbilts, plan to give a grand fete in honor of her cousin Gertrude's coming-out, Emma is invited as a relative but also as a reporter. Emma must work for her living and she does so as a writer for the society page of a local paper. She longs to be a real reporter writing on real events. When her half-brother Brady comes to her asking for help sneaking into The Breakers, she's worried he's done something terribly wrong. She's used to bailing him out of jail for drunken and disorderly conduct, but this hints at something much worse, especially when cousin Neilly comes around and reveals Brady's secret. Emma keeps her promise though and just as she heads outside to look for her brother, she overhears a confrontation in her uncle's room and a body falls off the balcony and onto the grounds. She's worried it might be her brother, but the body turns out to be a family friend and Uncle Cornelius' secretary. Was it an accident or murder? The police seem to think murder and Brady is the prime suspect! Emma is convinced Brady was framed and she's determined to prove it to the arrogant police who dismiss her because she's a woman and Brady's sister. She crosses paths (and wits) with a handsome reporter from Providence as she investigates her suspects. Emma knows the rich and powerful will close ranks around their own but she's determined not to let her brother hang for a murder he didn't commit. From her great-aunt Sadie she inherited a home and an independent spirit. She relies on that independent spirit to carry her through to the end. Though the plot follows the basic cozy mystery outline, the story is unique enough and filled with so many small details that it's vastly interesting. The plot held my interest as I followed Emma's clues to figure out whodunnit. I figured it out before she did and I thought she was incredibly silly not to at least suspect but she was blinded by personal feelings. There's a little bit of romance with just enough sparks to make it believable and appealing, yet very Victorian. The dialogue between Emma and her love interest is very good. The period details are worked into the story as part of the characters' everyday lives and as part of the setting. The author doesn't step out of the story to insert her views or explain things, which I was grateful for. The author's views on women's rights are obvious but she provides the reader with a character and setting where those views are appropriate. I loved the local setting. Fans of Downton Abbey and Upstairs, Downstairs will be interested in the subplot about Emma's maid Katie and the Vanderbilts' butler, Mason. The point-of-view doesn't shift to them but they're very much a part of Emma's life and her world. I don't get to Newport as often as I would wish but I am familiar with Bellevue and recently visited The Breakers. The book really makes me want to go inside the playhouse, where I didn't get to see. It's not in the budget at the moment though. The author thought of all kinds of details no one thinks about anymore: how did people get to Newport? How did they get around the island? Who takes care of that massive house? What was the relationship between parents and children like? The story reveals a lot about life in Gilded Age Newport I didn't know. The characters are great. I love spunky Emma. She's high enough to associate with her wealthy cousins but not too high so she also associates with lower sorts of people. Her poverty makes her empathetic to others and it also makes her too proud to accept too much help from the Vanderbilts. She's strong, determined, stubborn and an all-around wonderful character. I look forward to seeing her go toe-to-toe with the formidable Alva Vanderbilt in the second book. Her bit of romance was well-deserved and took a turn I didn't entirely expect, yet I did because of who she is and what she wants out of life. Needless to say, she's a character I can relate to. (A Gilded Age me, if you will). She isn't ditzy like most female cozy mystery heroines but she does make a few blunders I saw coming. The secondary characters are also well drawn. None of them rely solely on the stereotypes of Gilded Age personalities. The Vanderbilts appear as they really were. I liked getting to know them better, especially Gertrude, who was is largely glossed over on the museum tour (aside from her bedroom). I also liked getting to know young Gladys because she is featured in the audio tour of the museum. I don't know much about the younger boys and I was interested in getting to know them too. The fictional secondary characters include Brady, Emma's love interest, her outspoken Nanny and maid Katie, among others from both upstairs and downstairs. This is a great book for cozy mystery fans and Downton Abbey fans. Those of you from Aquidneck Island should also read this.

  14. 4 out of 5

    LORI CASWELL

    Dollycas’s Thoughts What an awesome debut!!! Emma Cross inherited much more than Gull Manor from her Aunt Sadie. She inherited her wit and her spunk as well. Her parents have traveled abroad to follow their own dreams and left her to handle everything on her own. Using the small annuity left to her by her Aunt and the wages she earns writing about social events for the local paper she keeps up what she can at Gull Manor. She really is not Cornelius Vanderbilt’s niece. She is actually his second co Dollycas’s Thoughts What an awesome debut!!! Emma Cross inherited much more than Gull Manor from her Aunt Sadie. She inherited her wit and her spunk as well. Her parents have traveled abroad to follow their own dreams and left her to handle everything on her own. Using the small annuity left to her by her Aunt and the wages she earns writing about social events for the local paper she keeps up what she can at Gull Manor. She really is not Cornelius Vanderbilt’s niece. She is actually his second cousin “twice or thrice removed” but she calls him Uncle because she could never call the shipping magnate or his wife by just their first names. They invite her to parties, try to watch over her and hope to find her a suitable husband even though that is the furthest thing from her mind. She is very independent and has little fear of anything and seems to be wise beyond her years. She is a wonderful protagonist. I was engaged by her story immediately. The author introduces us to many wonderful characters, the local Vanderbilt’s of course, Emma’s step brother Brady, her “cousin” Neily, Nanny, who has been at Gull Manor forever, Emma’s maid, Katie, Officer Jessie Whyte, and Derrick “Anderson”. I look forward to getting to know more about all of them and their stories in future installments. What I really loved about this book is that while the story is fictional it is based on fact. A party similar to the one in book actually took place. The author used her research to craft a mystery that was interwoven into a story of a family most of us are familiar with on some level, maybe not back to 1895, but they were one of the riches families in American history. The mystery was a good one too. Emma was not afraid to keep digging and observed many things the local authorities either missed or ignored. She was not afraid to ask the hard questions even when those questions put her own life in danger. She also found an unexpected ally. There was so much I loved about this book. It takes us back in time to a slower lifestyle when visiting meant harnessing up the horse to the buggy and traveling down a dirt road going house to house or manor to manor. This is definitely an author to watch. I can’t wait for Murder at Marble House (A Gilded Newport Mystery) out September 29.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Donna

    Not a bad cozy mystery but nothing special. The setting was interesting--turn of the (last) century Newport. However, the heroine was heavy on the TSTL moments and the mystery ended very weakly, i.e., the entire thing is revealed by the formerly-sane-now-suddenly-crazy murderer. I won't continue with this series. Not a bad cozy mystery but nothing special. The setting was interesting--turn of the (last) century Newport. However, the heroine was heavy on the TSTL moments and the mystery ended very weakly, i.e., the entire thing is revealed by the formerly-sane-now-suddenly-crazy murderer. I won't continue with this series.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Jeanette

    I just could not get into this book. I found it very boring.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Dawn Frazier

    Loved it!

  18. 4 out of 5

    Sandra

    In the final years of the nineteenth century, Cornelius Vanderbilt and his family were at the apex of Newport society. When a family employee and friend is murdered and Brady, a poor relation, is arrested for the crime, his Uncle Cornelius pushes for a speedy trial. Emma, Brady's older sister, begins to search out the real murderer in order to free her beloved sibling. Rich in history, Vanderbilt family politics, and action, this book, first in a series, has me hungering for more. As an addendum In the final years of the nineteenth century, Cornelius Vanderbilt and his family were at the apex of Newport society. When a family employee and friend is murdered and Brady, a poor relation, is arrested for the crime, his Uncle Cornelius pushes for a speedy trial. Emma, Brady's older sister, begins to search out the real murderer in order to free her beloved sibling. Rich in history, Vanderbilt family politics, and action, this book, first in a series, has me hungering for more. As an addendum to this review, I write Guest Reviews for a San Diego book store and this mystery has been picked as the New Cozy Starter for the month of April. I was delighted as (I hope) the review I turned in help influence their decision.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Britney

    The story is based off the Vanderbilt's & Astor's of Newport, RI in 1895. The author did a great job with her historical research that you got a good sense of what high society life was like back then. The story itself was ok. Parts seemed like it was more about the history than about the mystery. I would of liked to have seen more of a mixture of both. The main character had some strong attributes (like her independence by not just relying on her family fortunes) but her sleuthing has a tendency The story is based off the Vanderbilt's & Astor's of Newport, RI in 1895. The author did a great job with her historical research that you got a good sense of what high society life was like back then. The story itself was ok. Parts seemed like it was more about the history than about the mystery. I would of liked to have seen more of a mixture of both. The main character had some strong attributes (like her independence by not just relying on her family fortunes) but her sleuthing has a tendency to make the evidence fit her theory rather than the other way around. I did like that the author used a real historical home as her back drop. Seems like an interesting place to see. I will probably give the next on in the series a try.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Erlyne

    Completely loved this book!!!! My recent trip to Newport has me craving more stories about the famous and infamous people who built the now-famous cottages that grace the coastline. The Breakers is an unbelievably stunning property...and the perfect setting for an intrigue taking place in the Gilded Age. I enjoyed getting to know the characters and look forward to the next book in the series. Bring on the Marble House volume, Alyssa!

  21. 5 out of 5

    Amanda Richards

    This isn't my normal genre but I read it for the University of Central Florida Book Festival panel I was moderating, and to be honest I quite enjoyed it! I learned that is was called a "cozy mystery" and I think that is the perfect term. It was an easy book to pick up and read with a cup of coffee while snuggled under a warm blanket. I can definitely see myself picking up book two! This isn't my normal genre but I read it for the University of Central Florida Book Festival panel I was moderating, and to be honest I quite enjoyed it! I learned that is was called a "cozy mystery" and I think that is the perfect term. It was an easy book to pick up and read with a cup of coffee while snuggled under a warm blanket. I can definitely see myself picking up book two!

  22. 5 out of 5

    Rob

    Settings and notable figures of the era come alive in Alyssa Maxwell's charming period mystery. A breezy puzzler with an engaging central figure make for great fun; especially for those familiar with Newport's distinguished denizens and luxurious locales! Settings and notable figures of the era come alive in Alyssa Maxwell's charming period mystery. A breezy puzzler with an engaging central figure make for great fun; especially for those familiar with Newport's distinguished denizens and luxurious locales!

  23. 5 out of 5

    Laurie

    Enjoyable murder mystery!

  24. 4 out of 5

    Terry Engel

    If you're familiar with Newport you'll like this book. An interesting story revolving around the Vanderbilts. The mystery kept you interested throughout. If you're familiar with Newport you'll like this book. An interesting story revolving around the Vanderbilts. The mystery kept you interested throughout.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Tari

    I loved Newport, Rhode Island when my family and I visited several years ago, especially the Cliff Walk with all the gorgeous mansions, so I was excited to read a mystery series based on the various mansions. Emma Vanderbilt Cross feels like she's just a shirttail relation to the famous Vanderbilts, Cornelius and Aunt Agnes that built The Breakers. But to her cousins, she was an equal when they were kids. Her cousin Niely (Cornelius III) was always good to her even as adults. When her uncle's fi I loved Newport, Rhode Island when my family and I visited several years ago, especially the Cliff Walk with all the gorgeous mansions, so I was excited to read a mystery series based on the various mansions. Emma Vanderbilt Cross feels like she's just a shirttail relation to the famous Vanderbilts, Cornelius and Aunt Agnes that built The Breakers. But to her cousins, she was an equal when they were kids. Her cousin Niely (Cornelius III) was always good to her even as adults. When her uncle's financial secretary is killed on the grounds and Emma's half-brother Brady is accused of the murder, Emma will stop at nothing to find the real killer, even if it means risking her own life. Emma was such an awesome and strong character! I loved how she was kind to everyone, no matter what their class. She befriended a teen-aged maid who had come to her and her Nanny looking for work when the maid became pregnant. Nanny was such a sweetheart. She was much more than a servant--she was more like a grandmother to Emma since Emma had never felt any real affection from her own parents. They always seemed to be away and Emma always seemed to be the one to go to Brady's assistance when he was in trouble. Despite some threats on her life, Emma kept on investigating and along with a new friend, Derrick, they got to the bottom of the murder as well as a couple more killings done by that same person. I really never suspected this person! This was so well-written I could picture myself in the 1800s Newport summer (not as a character, I don't think I'd be able to stand those suffocating outfits lol). There were some great red herrings. Now there are two men who seem interested in Emma. My first thought was to be Team Derrick but now I'm not sure--Jesse is a policeman and would be a lot more of a steady person. Derrick is exciting and likes to investigate. I think I'll just have to read the next book to make a proper decision! ;)

  26. 5 out of 5

    Zach

    It was okay, but that’s about it. Having read a couple era appropriate novels recently (1920s, 1950s, 1980s), I was surprised about how modern this sounded. It was very 21st century for being set in 1895. It even bounced around with modern feminism which seemed out of place for that time. Also there were gems like “He was a young heir on holiday, a Newport summer dandy, and it was considered his right to sow some wild oats.” Doesn’t seem like a mentality that would be held at that time. As for th It was okay, but that’s about it. Having read a couple era appropriate novels recently (1920s, 1950s, 1980s), I was surprised about how modern this sounded. It was very 21st century for being set in 1895. It even bounced around with modern feminism which seemed out of place for that time. Also there were gems like “He was a young heir on holiday, a Newport summer dandy, and it was considered his right to sow some wild oats.” Doesn’t seem like a mentality that would be held at that time. As for the mystery, the suspects were obviously not the killer. Admittedly, the killer was on my own personal suspect list, but not who I thought it was. But she stumbled on the killer rather than deducing it. She spent more time harassing friends and family than investigating. And she wasn’t subtle at all. “So cousin, where were you when the murder happened?” (Almost verbatim.) And the love interest... out of the blue and instant only to be stomped flat like a bug. Honestly, with my complaints, I almost feel like a 2 star, but it was so meh that I can’t even feel that badly against it. Read for a reading scavenger hunt for a book set in Rhode Island.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Jenny

    Murder at the Breakers is book one in the Gilded Newport Mysteries series by Alyssa Maxwell. Emma Ross second cousin to Cornelius Vanderbilt was lucky to gain access to the grand ball at Breakers Rhode Island. While Emma was attending the ball, her brother found next to the body of Cornelius Vanderbilt, was charged with murder. Emma believes that her brother Brady was frame started to investigate. The readers of Murder at the Breakers will continue to follow Emma to find out what happens. Murder Murder at the Breakers is book one in the Gilded Newport Mysteries series by Alyssa Maxwell. Emma Ross second cousin to Cornelius Vanderbilt was lucky to gain access to the grand ball at Breakers Rhode Island. While Emma was attending the ball, her brother found next to the body of Cornelius Vanderbilt, was charged with murder. Emma believes that her brother Brady was frame started to investigate. The readers of Murder at the Breakers will continue to follow Emma to find out what happens. Murder at the Breakers is the first book by Alyssa Maxwell. I like the historical factor of this cozy that allowed me to engage with the plot of this book. I love Alyssa Maxwell portrayal of her characters and the way they interacted with each other throughout this book. Murder at the Breakers is well written and researched by Alyssa Maxwell. The readers of Murder at the Breakers will learn about living Newport, Rhoda Island during the eighteenth century. Also, the readers of Murder at the Breakers will learn about the Gilded Age in the late eighteenth and early nineteen century. I recommend this book.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Mina De Caro (Mina's Bookshelf)

    Full review available on MINA'S BOOKSHELF http://minadecaro.blogspot.com/2014/0... A delightful and harmonious concoction of vividly portrayed Gilded Age milieu and well thought-out murder mystery plot. Theme, voice, and pace flow on a trail of red herrings with a balance that was as graceful as unexpectedly transfixing for a debut novel. Based on real historical figures and narrated through the outsider's perspective of Emma Cross, an acute observer treading the fine line that separates the upp Full review available on MINA'S BOOKSHELF http://minadecaro.blogspot.com/2014/0... A delightful and harmonious concoction of vividly portrayed Gilded Age milieu and well thought-out murder mystery plot. Theme, voice, and pace flow on a trail of red herrings with a balance that was as graceful as unexpectedly transfixing for a debut novel. Based on real historical figures and narrated through the outsider's perspective of Emma Cross, an acute observer treading the fine line that separates the upper crust of society from its barely tolerated bourgeois relatives, Murder At The Breakers evokes the sumptuous charm of that by-gone era with its wealth, its splendid mansions, and high society scandals hidden behind a veil of primness and apparent respectability. Newport, Rhode Island, 1895 Vanderbilt blood runs through Emmaline Cross' veins, but she belongs to the less illustrious side of the family: the twenty-five year old spinster was born and raised a Newporter -- a salty and sturdy 'bluestocking'. Definitely not on the market for a tycoon husband. Emma won't compromise her independence to be the wife of a wealthy man and have her life mapped out in an endless series of balls and regattas. More similar to her bold and eccentric Aunt Sadie, she refuses to be part of the gilded prison that traps Aunt Alice, wife of business magnate Cornelius Vanderbilt. A reporter for the society column of the Newport Observer, and with her artistic parents expatriated on the other side of the Atlantic, Emma writes for a living and resides with a nanny and a maid at Gull Manor, a quaint house boldly perched on the ocean. On the night of her cousin Gertrude's coming-out ball at The Breakers, Uncle Cornelius' financial secretary is found dead in one of the rooms of the Vanderbilt summer mansion. All the evidence collected by the police on the murder scene points to Emma's half-brother Brady Gale, a good-natured young man who can hardly keep himself out of troubles. Although hailing from two of the most respectable families of the Island, Stuart Braden Gale IV has seen the inside of the Newport jail nearly as often as the worst scoundrel in town -- just the perfect scapegoat for a crime that may have been committed by some unsuspected and more titled members of the good society. With the help of the enigmatic fellow reporter Derrick Andrews, Emma will discover the true culprit, unveiling, at the same time, the shocking extravagancies and the surprising frailties of one of the most iconic and powerful American dynasties... [ continues on MINA'S BOOKSHELF http://minadecaro.blogspot.com/2014/0... ] ***Review copy graciously offered by the publisher in return for an unbiased and honest review

  29. 5 out of 5

    Kristina

    I just finished reading Murder at the Breakers by Alyssa Maxwell. It is the first book in the Gilded Newport Mystery series. Murder at the Breakers is an historical cozy mystery. It is August of 1895 in Newport, Rhode Island. Emmaline “Emma” Cross lives at Gull Manor which she inherited from her Great Aunt Sadie. Emma also writes stories on society events for the Newport Observer. Emma is a cousin to Cornelius Vanderbilt (a poor relations, but still a relation). Emma is awakened early one mornin I just finished reading Murder at the Breakers by Alyssa Maxwell. It is the first book in the Gilded Newport Mystery series. Murder at the Breakers is an historical cozy mystery. It is August of 1895 in Newport, Rhode Island. Emmaline “Emma” Cross lives at Gull Manor which she inherited from her Great Aunt Sadie. Emma also writes stories on society events for the Newport Observer. Emma is a cousin to Cornelius Vanderbilt (a poor relations, but still a relation). Emma is awakened early one morning by her half-brother Brady (Stuart Braden Gale IV). Emma and Brady share a father, but have a different mother. Brady asks Emma not to tell anyone she has seen him and could she make sure that Uncle Cornelius stays downstairs from 11:45 to midnight at the ball at The Breakers. Brady states he is going to make something right! Emma is used to getting her brother out of scrapes. When Neily (Cornelius Vanderbilt II) arrives asking for Brady, Emma states she does not know where he is at that exact moment (which is true since he had left the attic). At the ball Emma reunites with childhood friend Adelaide Peabody Halstock. Adelaide is now married to Rupert Halstock and they are summering in Newport. Poor Rupert’s health is failing and he is having memory issues. Near midnight Emma realizes she has lost track of Cornelius and Emma wants to warn Brady. She sneaks outside and she can see a light in one of the rooms (the one with the safe). Then a fight breaks out and a man falls over the balcony. At first Emma thought it was Cornelius Vanderbilt, but then realizes it is Alvin Goddard. Alvin was Cornelius’ financial secretary. Brady is found unconscious in the room. Jesse Whyte, detective with the local police department, has no choice but to arrest Brady for the murder. Brady cannot remember what happened. Emma sets out to prove her brother’s innocence (she is very headstrong). Will Emma prove Brady’s innocence? Check out Murder at the Breakers to find out who killed Alvin Goddard. I was hoping to enjoy Murder at the Breakers, but I did not. I found it extremely long (just my perception). It just did not flow. I give Murder at the Breakers 3 out of 5 stars. There are a lot of characters in the book and it is hard to keep up with all of them. I did enjoy Emma’s strong personality and her determination.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Debbie

    Ahh, the glitz and prestige of American wealth in the guilded age! A wonderful backdrop for a scandal! So, before my recent trip back to Newport, RI (one of my most favorite places on earth) I sought some knowledge about scandal and intrigue that occurred amongst the rich heirs and heiresses of the times. I wanted to learn about some illicit affair, murder, or possibly a ghost that still haunts one of the mansions. It is impossible to put some of the wealthiest, most powerful people alive all toge Ahh, the glitz and prestige of American wealth in the guilded age! A wonderful backdrop for a scandal! So, before my recent trip back to Newport, RI (one of my most favorite places on earth) I sought some knowledge about scandal and intrigue that occurred amongst the rich heirs and heiresses of the times. I wanted to learn about some illicit affair, murder, or possibly a ghost that still haunts one of the mansions. It is impossible to put some of the wealthiest, most powerful people alive all together in one small town and have no crazy shit go down! Right!? Anyway, I merely browsed a bunch of sites from Google and Wikipedia but I found nothing! Seriously, NOTHING! Were these people so powerful that they were able to coverup all the scandal and intrigue? yeah So, my search brought me to Alyssa Maxwell and her book about the most ostentatious mansion in Newport, The Breakers. The author lived in Newport for a time and loved it so much that she uses the town as the setting for her historical fiction novels. However fictional the novel may have been, the story is entirely plausible. This COULD have happened. The facts of the time and the Vanderbilt family are well researched. She brought them to life! We follow an amateur sleuth, Emmaline Cross, as she tries to solve a murder that takes place at The Breakers during the 1895 coming out party for Vanderbilt daughter Gertrude. Emmaline's brother is framed for the murder and she does not believe the police are doing their job efficiently, so she gets herself into some trouble trying to exonerate him. I enjoyed this mystery and liked the way it wrapped up the pieces. I will definitely read the other one about Marble House.

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