Murder at Marble House: A Guilded Newport Mystery

Kensington. Oct. 2014. 305p. ISBN 9780758290847. pap. $15; ebk. ISSBN 9780758290854. M
Although Emmaline Cross is related to the wealthy Vanderbilts, she is fiercely independent and earns her keep by writing a society column for the local newspaper in Newport, RI. In Emma's second adventure (after Murder at the Breakers), she has been called to her cousin Consuelo's house where Alva has browbeaten her daughter into an engagement with the ninth Duke of Marlborough. Emma does her best to persuade Consuelo to accept the arrangement even though she secretly agrees it is not a promising match. When Madame Devereaux, a fortune teller invited to the tea party to celebrate the betrothal, has the bad taste to be murdered in the tea pavilion, Emma knows something is rotten in the Vanderbilt estate. When one of the maids is accused of the crime and Consuelo disappears, Emma must investigate before Consuelo's reputation is tarnished and the duke backs out of the marriage. Aided by her friend Jesse Whyte, now a police detective, and her pal, Derrick Andrews, Emma puts herself in danger to save those close to her.
VERDICT In Maxwell's delightful sophomore effort, she offers wonderful details about the Gilded Age and the high society that inhabited the mammoth summer cottages along the Rhode Island shore. Fans of Victoria Thompson or Deanna Raybourn are sure to enjoy dipping into this historical series.
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