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Murder at the Breakers (A Gilded Newport Mystery Book 1) Kindle Edition

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Length: 305 pages Word Wise: Enabled Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
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Editorial Reviews


"Emma's ebullience and the glittering details of Newport's gilded age past give the novel a brisk energy." ~Publishers Weekly 

"...A variety of likable characters create a strong sense of community...a promising start to an engaging mystery series filled with smart observations. ~Library Journal

"...A great effort with intriguing characters and a solid murder mystery...Maxwell has written a delightfully complex tale..." ~RT Book Reviews

"Sorry to see the conclusion of Downton Abbey Season 4? Well, here is a morsel to get you through a long afternoon. Brew some Earl Grey and settle down with a scone with this one."~Washington Independent Review of Books

From the Back Cover

Newport, Rhode Island, August 1895: She may be a less well-heeled relation, but as second cousin to millionaire patriarch Cornelius Vanderbilt, twenty-one-year-old Emma Cross is on the guest list for a grand ball at the Breakers, the Vanderbilts' summer home. She also has a job to do--report on the event for the society page of the Newport Observer.  

But Emma observes much more than glitz and gaiety when she witnesses a murder. The victim is Cornelius Vanderbilt's financial secretary, who plunges off a balcony faster than falling stock prices. Emma's black sheep brother Brady is found in Cornelius's bedroom passed out next to a bottle of bourbon and stolen plans for a new railroad line. Brady has barely come to before the police have arrested him for the murder. But Emma is sure someone is trying to railroad her brother and resolves to find the real killer at any cost...

Product Details

  • File Size: 1335 KB
  • Print Length: 305 pages
  • Publisher: Kensington (March 25, 2014)
  • Publication Date: March 25, 2014
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Lending: Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #57,930 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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More About the Author

Alyssa Maxwell is the author of The Gilded Newport Mysteries, a historical series featuring the glamour of a bygone era and a sleuth who hails from a less "well-heeled" branch of the Vanderbilt family. The series debuted in March 2014 with MURDER AT THE BREAKERS (a USA Today Bestseller week of Sept. 4, 2014), followed by MURDER AT MARBLE HOUSE in September 2014, and MURDER AT BEECHWOOD in May 2015. Alyssa is also debuting an English-set historical series, A Lady and Lady's Maid Mysteries, set in the post WWI era. MURDER MOST MALICIOUS releases on Dec. 29, 2015. She and her family live in South Florida, and she is a member of the Florida Mystery Writers of America, Sisters in Crime, Novelists Inc., and The Florida Romance Writers.

Please visit her at, and on Facebook at

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

19 of 19 people found the following review helpful By Lori Caswell VINE VOICE on March 28, 2014
Format: Paperback
Dollycas’s Thoughts
What an awesome debut!!!

Emma Cross inherited much more than Gull Manor from her Aunt Sadie. She inherited her wit and her spunk as well. Her parents have traveled abroad to follow their own dreams and left her to handle everything on her own. Using the small annuity left to her by her Aunt and the wages she earns writing about social events for the local paper she keeps up what she can at Gull Manor. She really is not Cornelius Vanderbilt’s niece. She is actually his second cousin “twice or thrice removed” but she calls him Uncle because she could never call the shipping magnate or his wife by just their first names. They invite her to parties, try to watch over her and hope to find her a suitable husband even though that is the furthest thing from her mind. She is very independent and has little fear of anything and seems to be wise beyond her years. She is a wonderful protagonist. I was engaged by her story immediately.

The author introduces us to many wonderful characters, the local Vanderbilt’s of course, Emma’s step brother Brady, her “cousin” Neily, Nanny, who has been at Gull Manor forever, Emma’s maid, Katie, Officer Jessie Whyte, and Derrick “Anderson”. I look forward to getting to know more about all of them and their stories in future installments.

What I really loved about this book is that while the story is fictional it is based on fact. A party similar to the one in book actually took place. The author used her research to craft a mystery that was interwoven into a story of a family most of us are familiar with on some level, maybe not back to 1895, but they were one of the riches families in American history.

The mystery was a good one too.
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23 of 24 people found the following review helpful By C. Lampos on March 29, 2014
Format: Paperback
Murder At The Breakers starts out slow, but then gains momentum. Then it becomes a page turner until the end. Set in historic Breakers of Newport in 1895, the historic aspects of life at the Vanderbilt mansion are interesting to those of us who love that time period. I liked the fact that the heroine, Emma, was not snobbish, but a down to earth kind of person. The book keeps the ending a surprise all the way through. When I found out who the killer was, I felt it was logical, but definately didn't see it coming.Good read for history and murder mystery buffs.
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18 of 18 people found the following review helpful By Gloria Robinson on March 27, 2014
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
If you enjoy Rhys Bowen's Royal Spyness series, you will definitely love this book! Instead of a poor relation to British royalty, you have a poor relation of American "financial" royalty (the Vanderbilts)! Have already preordered the next book due out in later this year!!
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41 of 47 people found the following review helpful By dizzheart on June 1, 2014
Format: Paperback
I began this book with high hopes, because I love period mysteries, but I found it a disappointment. It was mainly the author's style which put me off. It is set during the Gilded Age, and told in first person, yet the speaker does not sound anything like a woman of that era - her dialog and narrative are way too modern-sounding - flat, banal, simplified, without complexity or flavor. Since I did not believe in the heroine as a genuine character of that era, I could not get interested in the story's events, and I cast it aside unfinished.
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By prairie woman on August 26, 2014
Format: Paperback
I visited the Breakers many years ago along with Marble House. It was astonishing to tour these enormous mansions that in the late nineteenth century were referred to as summer cottages. They contained priceless furniture, art(like genuine Della Robbia porcelains) and had endless rooms, and were several stories high! Not to mention the breathtaking views of the ocean! It must've been grand in those days to attend numerous balls, coming out parties, and enjoy all of the trappings of the wealthy!

This story centers around a young woman by the name of Emmeline Cross, who happens to be a second cousin(through her mother) to Cornelius Vanderbilt, the famous multimillionaire railroad magnate. She's lucky to have been the heiress of a smaller house from her aunt and lives in Newport in an area known as the Point. Also with spectacular views. Her career is as a journalist for the local paper---more specifically as a reporter of the social scene in Newport during the summer season when all the New York elite retire to their "cottages" for the summer.

Emmeline or Emma as her friends and family call her is invited to her cousin Gertrude Vanderbilt's coming out ball at the family mansion, The Breakers. She's also there as part of her newspaper job to report on the event---who wore what, who was there, and the usual soiree news. However, the whole evening ends on a tragic note when a man's body comes crashing down from the upper floors. Emma, on an errand for her wayward brother, witnesses the fall. Her brother, Brady is accused of pushing the man and is taken off to the local jail.

In trying to clear her brother's name, Emma becomes pro-active much to the chagrin of the local police.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Nancy J. Cohen on April 8, 2014
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
The debut title of Alyssa Maxwell's new historical mystery series will enthrall you with details of the gilded Vanderbilt era in Newport, RI. The heroine, a less than wealthy relative, takes it upon herself to investigate a murder when her brother is implicated in the case. Can Emma clear him of the crime which the police are so eager to pin on him? As she uncovers buried secrets, Emma risks her life to save the people she loves. Plot twists, page-turning suspense, and endearing characters will make you eagerly anticipate the sequel.
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