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Murder at Beechwood by Alyssa Maxwell
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Murder at Beechwood

by Alyssa Maxwell

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I like this series! Emma discovers a baby on her doorstep. In her search to find the mother of the infant she goes to a party at Beechwood. Emma and her friends and relations watch a sailboat race from the grounds when a squall comes up and one of the sailor’s is washed overboard or was he pushed? Emma’s friend Derrick jumps in to save him but is the prime suspect . Did he hold him under?

Emma, who wants to be a serious news reporter, gets her chance to write the story while, solving the murder, reuniting the mother and child and working things out with her boyfriend. ( )
  Kathy89 | Jun 7, 2015 |
Murder at Beechwood by Allysa Maxwell is a 2015 Kensington Publication. I was provided a copy of this book by the publisher and Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

This is the first book I have read in the series, but I do believe I need to catch up with the two previous installments because I really enjoyed this cozy style historical mystery.

Real life locations and real historical figures in blue blood society are featured in the Gilded Newport series featuring Emma Cross, a young newspaper journalist, who seems to always manage to find herself embroiled in a crime drama.

In this case, Emma is shocked to discover an infant has been left on her doorstep and begins to discreetly look for the child's mother, while covering the social event of high society with the Astors and Vanderbilts.

While attending a summer party at Beechwood a tragic sailing accident leads to a suspicious death and Emma's former beau, Derrick is a prime suspect. Can she prove his innocence? Will she discover how the child's mother is and why she left him on her doorstep? Could the two incidences be connected?

I am a sucker for historical mysteries and I crime solving by amateur sleuths. So, this book was right up my alley. Emma is great character with a big heart and a strong sense of right and wrong. She struggles to maintain peace within her family, help others without passing judgment, and is fiercely independent.
Societies rules are a running theme throughout as Emma, who is marginally related to these people, is often treated as a step above servitude. The divorce rates and unwed mothers were rare in those days, but when they did happen it was a great scandal, so when faced with ruin, people resorted to desperate measures, which in this case resulted in murder and tragedy.

This book does have cozy mystery qualities, since Emma is not a professional detective, but all mystery lovers could enjoy this book. Over all this one gets 4 stars ( )
  gpangel | Jun 5, 2015 |
Newport, Rhode Island – 1896 – Gull Manor, a New England sort of house, was sprawled on the edge of the Atlantic Ocean. The structure, a bit isolated, and on the proper side of shabby, had enough rooms to house several families comfortably. But it belonged to Emma and she loved it. It had been the gift of her great-aunt Sadie, who’d left Emma the means to lead an independent life. Gull Manor, was known to the people in the area as the place that never turned away anyone who needed help.

During one night in June, Emma heard cries that called her from her sleep. These cries were from a baby that had been tucked into a basket, and left on her doorstep. The only clue left behind was an embroidered lace handkerchief, which led Emma to believe the mother might be a lady of quality. Did someone want them to know where the baby came from? And the story unfolds as Emma sets into motion an investigation to find the baby’s mother.

Certainly a story with an interesting premise, Murder At Beachwood offers a glimpse into the Gilded Era, bringing the wealthy and elite families to life.

This is a story filled with deceit and lies, glamour, tragedy, and loss, with a thread of romance. Lives are profoundly changed because of unexpected events. This certainly was a complex and well-written book, with a tempo that varied throughout. There didn’t seem to be an easy resolution, with the impossible situations that had developed, but a crescendo of suspense builds, with unexpected twists and turns, for a satisfying conclusion.

My one negative comment – I got the many characters confused. My rating is 4 stars.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. ( )
  wrbinpa | Jun 4, 2015 |
Murder at Beechwood by Alyssa Maxwell is the third book in the Gilded Newport Mystery series. Emmaline “Emma” Cross is awakened one morning to what she thinks is a storm. Upon further investigation Emma finds a baby crying on her front porch. There is no note left with the little boy. Soon Officer Jesse Whyte (with the Newport Police) arrives because a coachman was murdered nearby and needs Emma’s help on the case (Jesse is finally asking Emma for help on difficult cases). Jesse and Emma believe the baby and the coachman cases are related (the coachman was most likely the one to leave the baby on Emma’s doorstep and then killed so he would not talk).

Emma promises to see if she can find out who the mother of the child is while she is at the ball. There is to be a ball that evening at Beechwood for the beginning of the season. Emma is given a beautiful gown by Grace Wilson to wear to the ball. Neily (Corneilius Vanderbilt III) and Grace are still dating despite opposition from Neily’s family. Emma does not get a lead on the baby’s mother at ball, but she will try again the next day.

The next day is the yacht race. However, there is a tragedy at the race. A storm comes up which makes for rough seas. Virgil Monroe goes overboard. Derrick Andrews tries to save him, but he is unsuccessful. Wyatt Monroe thinks Derrick actually held his father, Virgil under water instead of trying to save him. Jesse has no choice but to place Derrick under arrest (he gets house arrest). Emma sets out to find out if Virgil was murdered or if it was an accident (she may have turned down Derrick’s proposal, but Emma still cares for him). Emma believes that what happened to the coachman, Virgil, and the abandoned baby are all connected. Emma, along with help from her friends and relations, sets out to solve these mysteries (you just know that she will somehow manage to put herself in harm’s way).

I give Murder at Beechwood 4 out of 5 stars. I enjoyed Murder at Beechwood more than the first book in the series. The mystery is complex and more difficult to solve. There are so many characters in the book that it is difficult to keep track of all of them (and they all seem related). I enjoyed the descriptions of the lovely homes. I am hoping, though, that Emma and Jesse are put together as a couple. I think they would be perfect for each other. A better match than Emma and Derrick.

I received a complimentary copy of Murder at Beechwood from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. The review and opinions expressed are strictly my own. ( )
  Kris_Anderson | May 27, 2015 |
Having grown up in Massachusetts, the Newport mansions were a kind of fantasy place, existing in our space but separate just the same. I toured through them all several times, imagining what life was like for those wealthy elite of the gilded age. This book uses that backdrop as a launching point. The famous Newport families of the late 1800s come to life on these pages, fictionalized, though still very much true to who they were.

The setting is certainly the author's strength. She clearly knows the history of this area, with its summer residents and extravagant parties. Even if you've never set foot in one of these mansions as a tourist, you'll likely have a good sense of their opulence.

Emma is not the typical woman of her time, being more concerned with her independence than with marrying the right man. Her character is well developed and easy to like. This book is written in first person, so we spend all our time with Emma, and we see others through her eyes.

The plot unfolds slowly. We follow the clues along with Emma, as her quest to find one answer only leaves her with more and more questions. At times the unraveling plot and its cast of characters feels a little too much like a soap opera, though I suppose that's also true of the real-life families within those Newport mansions.

I did not read the prior books in this series, and had no trouble following along with this story. It works well as a stand-alone. That being said, there are a whole lot of characters here. If you're unfamiliar with the names of those early Newport families, you might have difficulty keeping up and should probably read the earlier books first.

*I received a free advanced copy from Kensington Books, via NetGalley, in exchange for my honest review.* ( )
  Darcia | May 27, 2015 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0758290861, Paperback)

For Newport, Rhode Island’s high society, the summer of 1896 brings lawn parties, sailboat races…and murder.

Having turned down the proposal of Derrick Andrews, Emma Cross has no imminent plans for matrimony—let alone motherhood. But when she discovers an infant left on her doorstep, she naturally takes the child into her care. Using her influence as a cousin to the Vanderbilts and a society page reporter for the Newport Observer, Emma launches a discreet search for the baby’s mother.

One of her first stops is a lawn party at Mrs. Caroline Astor’s Beechwood estate. But an idyllic summer’s day is soon clouded by tragedy. During a sailboat race, textile magnate Virgil Monroe falls overboard. There are prompt accusations of foul play—and even Derrick Andrews falls under suspicion. Deepening the intrigue, a telltale slip of lace may link the abandoned child to the drowned man. But as Emma navigates dark undercurrents of scandalous indiscretions and violent passions, she’ll need to watch her step to ensure that no one lowers the boom on her…

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 09 Jul 2015 11:25:18 -0400)

Having turned down the proposal of Derrick Andrews, Emma Cross has no imminent plans for matrimony--let alone motherhood. But when she discovers an infant left on her doorstep, she naturally takes the child into her care. Using her influence as a cousin to the Vanderbilts and a society page reporter for the "Newport Observer", Emma launches a discreet search for the baby's mother. But as Emma navigates dark undercurrents of scandalous indiscretions and violent passions, she'll need to watch her step to ensure that no one lowers the boom on her...… (more)

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