Book Review

‘Murder at Marble House’ by Alyssa Maxwell

mamh amSTORY: With the dawn of the twentieth century on the horizon, the fortunes of the venerable Vanderbilt family still shine brightly in the glittering high society of Newport, Rhode Island. But when a potential scandal strikes, the Vanderbilts turn to cousin and society page reporter Emma Cross to solve a murder and a disappearance. . .Responding to a frantic call on her newfangled telephone from her eighteen-year-old cousin, Consuelo Vanderbilt, Emma Cross arrives at the Marble House mansion and learns the cause of her distress–Consuelo’s mother, Alva, is forcing her into marriage with the Duke of Marlborough. Her mother has even called in a fortune teller to assure Consuelo of a happy future.

But the future is short-lived for the fortune teller, who is found dead by her crystal ball, strangled with a silk scarf. Standing above her is one of the Vanderbilts’ maids, who is promptly taken into police custody. After the frenzy has died down, Consuelo is nowhere to be found. At Alva’s request, Emma must employ her sleuthing skills to determine if the vanishing Vanderbilt has eloped with the beau of her choice–or if her disappearance may be directly connected to the murder. . .

REVIEW: A Gilded Newport Mystery

August 1895

Consuelo Vanderbilt lives with her mother, Alva Vanderbilt, at the Marble House mansion in Newport Rhode Island.  At the young age of 18, Consuelo has been informed by her mother that she is to marry the Duke of Marlborough who is now en route from England to meet her.  The marriage will provide a much-needed infusion of money for the Duke and Consuelo will in turn, become a Duchess.  But, Consuelo does not want to marry the Duke.  She calls upon her cousin, Emma Cross, who is the “poor relation” of the Vanderbilt family.  

Emma works as a society-page reporter for the local newspaper and lives in her small home with her Nanny.  Emma tries to calm her even as her mother, Alva’s plans continue for the wedding.  In trying to prove to Consuelo that the marriage will be a good one and she will be happy, Alva arranges for a fortune teller to come and tell her future and reassure her.  But when the fortune teller is found dead and one of the maids is taken into custody charged with her murder, the house is in an uproar.  At the same time, Consuelo vanishes leaving the family unsure if she has been kidnapped or has run away in trying to get out of her marriage to the Duke.  Once again, Emma dons her well-known sleuth’s cap and goes on a mission to find Consuelo and to discover who the real murderer is.

In her search, she uncovers a smuggling operation and other shocking events which put her own life at risk.  When another death occurs, she realizes that she needs to call upon some old friends for help.

If you have read the author’s first novel, “Murder at the Breakers,” you are familiar with the determination of Emma and her keen detective mind.  My review of this first book is here.

I found this novel to be well written but I admit that it did not hold my interest as much as her first novel did.  But, the descriptions of this eye-popping time called “The Gilded Age” prove how it got that name. The author has a third novel in the series “Murder at Beechwood” which is being published in June 2015 from Kensington Publishing.

Connie for b2b


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