Friday, February 2, 2024

Murder at the Breakers - A Review


The First Gilded Newport Mystery
Emma Cross' charming, but ne'er do well brother, Brady, needs her help. Though he won't reveal exactly what's going on, she agrees to distract Cornelius Vanderbilt for him during a fancy ball at the Breakers. But when she loses track of her uncle she becomes a witness to murder when the body of Mr. Goddard falls from a balcony in front of her. When Brady is found in a compromising position at the crime scene Emma knows it will be up to her to prove his innocence, no matter the danger.

Emma Cross is a wonderful protagonist. She's smart, resourceful, and determined. She lives life on her own terms, as challenging as that can be for a single woman during the Gilded Age. Never forget that Emma is a Vanderbilt, with the grit and determination that comes with the name. While she loves her family, it is not a blind love. She sees their foibles and realizes they could be culpable for all manner of transgressions, including murder. A picture is painted of this fabled family...but painted with cracks showing. 

Relationships play a vital role in the first Gilded Newport Mystery. Of course, it's Emma's relationship with her brother that leads her to investigate the murder, as well as her relationship with her childhood friend, Jesse, who happens to be a detective. Though a poor relation, she's still close to the Vanderbilt family. Family and friends circle each other, motives pop up, secrets come out, and not everyone is who they seem. I love Nanny and, though she never appears in the book, having died previously, Aunt Sadie certainly leaves her mark and is a woman I admire.

I really enjoyed the mystery. Lots of red herrings had me suspicious of a lot of people...but I did figure out the killer before Emma did. There was enough danger and excitement to get my heart racing along with a touch of romance to keep things even more interesting.

From the opulence of the rich to those striving to fit in MURDER AT THE BREAKERS is a rich period mystery filled with machinations and memorable characters. Reading this entry to the Gilded Newport Mystery series has sparked a desire to learn more and I’m excited to delve deeper into the intricacies of this time period and read more about the fascinating people and gorgeous “cottages”.

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