Murder at Crossways
Gilded Newport Mystery #7
By Alyssa Maxwell
Brought to you by OBS Reviewer Daniele
In late August 1898, reporter Emma Cross attends the final fate of the Newport social season and discovers the party’s over for a visiting prince .
The days are getting shorter as summer’s end approaches, which means it’s time for the Harvest Festival, the last big event of the season, held by Mamie Fish, wife of millionaire railroad tycoon Stuyvesant Fish, at their grand “cottage,” Crossways. The neocolonial mansion is decked out in artificial autumn splendor, and an extravagant scavenger hunt will be held. But the crowning jewel of the evening will be the guest of honor, Prince Otto of Austria.
As acting editor-in-chief of the Newport Messenger, Emma had hoped to leave her days as a society reporter behind her. But at the last moment, she must fill in and attend the Harvest Festival. With nearly every eligible daughter of Newport high society in attendance, Emma can almost hear romantic dreams shattering like glass slippers when the prince fails to appear. The next morning, he is found dead in the side garden at Crossways, making it clear a murderer crashed the party.
The prince has been stabbed in the same manner as another man, recently found on nearby Bailey’s Beach–who strongly resembles Emma’s half-brother Brady’s father, presumed dead for nearly thirty years after a yachting mishap. As Emma investigates a connection between the two victims, she is joined on the hunt by Mamie Fish herself. But they must hurry–before the killer slips away like the fading summer . . . (Goodreads)
Murder at Crossways, the seventh entry in the Gilded Newport Mystery series, finds plucky newspaper woman Emma in the middle of another investigation as she tries to figure out the identity of a body found on the shore and the killer of Prince Otto of Austria. Another murder and strange happenings at the newspaper office urge Emma on to quickly find answers.
Alyssa Maxwell excels at blending real people and historical places and events with her fictional scenarios. The history makes the stories feel authentic, and, though Emma is a bit independent for the late nineteenth century, everything feels period correct. Maxwell obviously does her research, and her love of Newport shines through her writing. She proves time and again that she is a great storyteller.
Emma is independent and smart making her a strong protagonist and amateur sleuth. She has grown a lot over the course of the series and is now a well developed, compelling young woman. This adventure is particularly fresh because Emma has a sidekick to help her investigate. Mamie Fish brings light and fun into the story that can get a bit dark at times (dark for cozy mystery standards). Her status in society opens a lot of doors for Emma, and her insults are truly priceless. She is eccentric but not over the top. All of the characters are well drawn and executed. I miss Emma’s love interest Derrick this time around and hope he returns in the next installment.
The mystery is quite complex with several threads and minor mysteries woven together. I did not know whodunit in every situation until the very end. Some I suspected, but some really surprised me.
I greatly enjoyed Murder at Crossways and impatiently anticipate the next installment in the series. Recommended to any historical mystery reader.