The three most important parts of a book are: a well constructed plot, compelling characters, and a satisfying conclusion.

Friday, June 5, 2015

MURDER AT BEECHWOOD (Gilded Newport Mysteries #3) By Alyssa Maxwell

Publisher:  Kensington
Release Date:  May 2015
Pages:  304
Genre: Mystery/Historical Fiction
Rating:  4 Stars⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Book Description: 
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 magnet 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…

Wanda's Thoughts:  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. 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.

About the Author: Alyssa Maxwell began a love affair with the city of Newport while visiting friends there back in her high school days. Time and again the harbor‑side, gas‑lit neighborhoods drew her to return, and on one of those later visits she met the man who would become her husband. Always a lover of history, Alyssa found that marrying into a large, generations‑old Newport family opened up an exciting new world of historical discovery. From the graveyards whose earliest markers read from the seventeenth century, to original colonial houses still lived in today, to the Newport Artillery Company whose curator for many years was her husband’s grandfather, Newport became a place of fascination and romantic charm. Today, Alyssa and her husband reside beneath the palms and bright skies of Florida, but part of her heart remains firmly in that small New England city of great significance, a microcosm of American history spanning from before the Revolution through the Civil War, the Industrial Age, the Gilded Age, and beyond.