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Alyssa Maxwell

Author of Murder at the Breakers

21 Works 1,197 Members 137 Reviews

About the Author

Alyssa Maxwell is an American author who grew up in New England. She has worked in publishing as a reference book editor, ghost writer, and fiction editor. She has always wanted to be a novelist. Her travels to Great Britain and Ireland, and love for all kinds of puzzles and history, made writing show more mysteries a nature choice. She is a member of the Mystery Writers of America, the Florida Romance Writers, Sisters in Crime, and Novelists Inc. Her work includes the Gilded Newport Mysteries series and A Lady and Lady's Maid Mysteries series. (Bowker Author Biography) show less


Works by Alyssa Maxwell

Murder at the Breakers (2014) 274 copies
Murder at Marble House (2014) 102 copies
Murder at Beechwood (2015) 90 copies
Murder Most Malicious (2015) 87 copies
Murder at Rough Point (2016) 81 copies
Murder at Chateau-sur-Mer (2017) 78 copies
Murder at Ochre Court (2018) 59 copies
Murder at Crossways (2019) 53 copies
A Pinch of Poison (2016) 53 copies
Murder at Kingscote (2020) 47 copies
Murder at Wakehurst (2021) 43 copies
Murder at Beacon Rock (2022) 42 copies
Murder at the Elms (2023) 35 copies
A Devious Death (2017) 32 copies
A Murderous Marriage (2019) 30 copies


Common Knowledge

20th century
Evan Marshall



I was excited about the premise of this book, and it was fun to be immersed in the Gilded Age for a while. I had a couple of problems with the main character, though. First, despite appearances (and her half-brother Brady's past run ins with the law), when the murder occurred Emma was immediately convinced of Brady's innocence (but contemplated lying to the police to ensure they agreed thought he was innocent too?!?). At that point, the only evidence she had was their close familial connection. That connection did not seem to apply to her law-abiding cousins, however, as she quickly centered her suspicions on them. Second, despite the fact that one of the investigating officers (Jesse) was her friend and inclined to believe in Brady's innocence, Emma recklessly went about investigating on her own, even after she was almost killed for her efforts. As I'm assuming Brady won't be a suspect in the next book, I hope Emma will be able to show more common sense and restraint.… (more)
ang709 | 20 other reviews | Apr 30, 2024 |
Newport, Rhode Island - August, 1895

A murder occurs at a Ball given at The Breakers, the newly built summer cottage of Cornelius Vanderbilt and his wife, Alice. Their niece, Emmaline (Emma) Cross, was a firsthand witness to the demise of the deceased. When Emma’s mischievous brother Brady is accused of the murder she doesn’t believe it so she sets out to prove his innocence. During her own investigative efforts, which the police are none too thrilled about, Emma uncovers deceit, thievery, infidelity and less than admirable business dealings, all of which call various individuals’ reputations into question. There’s good reason why a few of the suspects might have wanted Mr. Goddard dead, but some things are not adding up. Meanwhile, Emma can’t stand to see her brother in jail looking so discouraged and defeated when she knows in her heart that Brady could never commit murder. Alas, blame is shifted to a different possible culprit, but will new details of a revealed secret lead Emma to the proper killer before someone silences her forever and Brady is put away for good?

Since I am familiar with the Vanderbilt family I wanted to read this book. George Vanderbilt’s Biltmore House is America’s largest home and our family has visited the estate in Asheville, NC, several times over the years. It is an impressive sight.

The Breakers in Newport, RI, is the summer residence of Cornelius Vanderbilt ll. I enjoyed this murder mystery that took place in that home. Emma Cross, the amateur sleuth in this entertaining mystery, was not a rich member of the Vanderbilt family. I liked her independent nature and determined spirit. Also of note was the sweet relationship that existed between Emma and her older brother, Brady. Despite his reckless behavior at times resulting in unfavorable predicaments, Emma still loved him and tried everything within her power to help him be exonerated.

I figured out relatively early on who the murderer was but this in no way lessened my enjoyment of the book. Even though I thought I knew who did it, I still didn’t know how or why. Emma’s pursuits brought me into contact with some very interesting characters including servants, as well as the upper crust of society. The red herrings had me second guessing myself, and thus this gilded age mystery gets a big nod of approval. There was even a little romance developing between two of the characters during the investigation. I liked that it was a mild addition to the storyline and didn’t compete with the central focus of the book, the murder mystery.

I was privileged both to read and to listen to Murder at the Breakers thanks to Kensington Books and Tantor Audio. I wish to thank both for the gifted copies. The audiobook narrator, Eva Kaminsky, did an AMAZING job at bringing this book to life. Excellent narration.

It is also my understanding that Hallmark Movies and Mysteries recently aired Gilded Newport Mysteries: Murder at the Breakers, in case you’d like to check that out. Great job, Alyssa Maxwell.
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Lauigl | 20 other reviews | Mar 9, 2024 |
In 1901, newlywed Emma Cross Andrews finds herself once again in the position of seeking justice. Coal baron Edward Berwind's luxurious Elms estate is being opened. Immediately, it is plagued by a servant strike. The servants are all fired and new ones hred for a grand party. During the party, a maid is murdered, a guest's diamond necklace vanishes, and a laborer disappears. Detective Jessie Whyte enlists Emma and her husband Derrick's help to unravel the connection between the maid's murder and the missing necklace. As the dark secrets of the mansion threaten to overshadow its grandeur, Emma takes on the task of uncovering the elusive culprit.

I always look forward to seeing where Emma ends up next! She married and went on a honeymoon to Italy between this book and the last book. Now she must learn to balance her work life with being married. Her husband wants her to be more careful in seeking criminals, though he does respect her independence.

I have not heard of the Elms before, so I was intrigued to learn more. The descriptions didn’t give me a vivid description so I had to look up pictures. The other historical details, the time period and clothing, made the story come alive. I was kept guessing as to the culprit for this one, which is always fun.

This series is one I definitely recommend to readers who enjoy historical mysteries and this book is no different. I received an advance copy through NetGalley and all opinions expressed are my own.
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TheQuietReader | 8 other reviews | Sep 21, 2023 |
Alyssa Maxwell has brought us back to Newport, Rhode Island in 1901 to explore another one of the gilded age’s success stories. Edward Berwind and his wife were fabulously wealthy and known to be heavy handed with their staff. With dissent comes dismissal and murder and scandal which provides Emma Cross and her husband with a new case to investigate.

Described as an installment in Maxwell’s “cozy historical mystery series” I can’t help thinking there is cozy and then there is well researched, informative, and challenging puzzles to be solved. Nothing is completely clear nor simple which is what makes Maxwell’s mysteries so enjoyable. She doesn’t pander to her readers - she expects them to become informed and involved which is a problem because once started her books are hard to put down. Yeah, I am a fan and I loved this book. I learned more about The Elms and the Berwinds from Alyssa Maxwell than I did from the tour I took of the Mansion years ago.

Many thanks to Kensington Publishing and NetGalley for a copy.
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kimkimkim | 8 other reviews | Aug 29, 2023 |


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