Friday, October 10, 2014

Aloha to Alyssa Maxwell and MURDER AT MARBLE HOUSE - Book review and giveaway


With the dawn of the twentieth century on the horizon, the fortunes of the venerable Vanderbilt family still shine brightly in the glittering high society of Newport, Rhode Island. But when a potential scandal strikes, the Vanderbilts turn to cousin and society page reporter Emma Cross to solve a murder and a disappearance. . .Responding to a frantic call on her newfangled telephone from her eighteen-year-old cousin, Consuelo Vanderbilt, Emma Cross arrives at the Marble House mansion and learns the cause of her distress--Consuelo's mother, Alva, is forcing her into marriage with the Duke of Marlborough. Her mother has even called in a fortune teller to assure Consuelo of a happy future.

But the future is short-lived for the fortune teller, who is found dead by her crystal ball, strangled with a silk scarf. Standing above her is one of the Vanderbilts' maids, who is promptly taken into police custody. After the frenzy has died down, Consuelo is nowhere to be found. At Alva's request, Emma must employ her sleuthing skills to determine if the vanishing Vanderbilt has eloped with the beau of her choice--or if her disappearance may be directly connected to the murder. . .

File:Marble House, Newport, Rhode Island edit1.jpg
Marble House
Permission granted at this link

Fortune, good night; smile once more, turn thy wheel. – Shakespeare

Alyssa Maxwell returns to Newport’s Gilded Age with Emma Cross – a society reporter turned amateur sleuth. Although Emma is a distant cousin of the Vanderbilts, she treasures her independence at a time of growing interest in women’s suffrage. Emma balances the Vanderbilts’ demand for her time with her own pursuit of a journalism career.

Maxwell sets this cozy mystery apart with the colorful world of Newport’s society. I spent several weekends in Newport, renting a summer house with other Boston denizens - Maxwell is on target with her apt descriptions of the seaside resort. Likewise, I appreciate Emma’s internal conflict of finding her way despite the interest of a rich suitor and interference of her influential relatives. Maxwell tells the story through Emma’s first person perspective. At times the prose was monotone but it also offered a glimpse of what it must have been like for Emma to watch the women’s right movement unfold among the glitter of the Gilded Age. 

Recommended read for fans of historical set cozy mystery. MURDER AT MARBLE HOUSE will also appeal to readers who have visited Newport.

Marble House is part of Newport's Cliff Walk
Image released to Public Domain (link)

I am giving away a print copy of MURDER AT MARBLE HOUSE to one randomly selected commenter.  To enter the giveaway,

1.  Leave a comment about Newport - have you visited this seaside resort?

2.  Comments are open through Saturday, October 18, 10 pm in Baltimore.

3.  I'll post the winner on Sunday, October 19.


Kim in Baltimore
Aloha Spirit in Charm City 

Learn more about Alyssa and her books at

Check out my review of MURDER AT THE BREAKERS, Book 1 in the Gilded Newport Mysteries, at this link.



  1. No, I have not been to Newport. There are many places on the east coast that I would like to see, and Newport is one of them.

  2. I haven't been to Newport, but it certainly looks cozy, and as of now I've added it to my wish list of places I'd like to visit. Thanks for sharing the pictures.

    I read a lot of cozies, but I've never read a historical one. I'm putting the Gilded Newport Mysteries on my TBR list! :)

  3. I have walked the Cliff Walk and have visited some of the mansions, including one that is haunted.

  4. I might've driven near Newport, RI, as a friend went to school in RI......

  5. I've never visited Newport, but it always looks beautiful in pictures.

  6. No,I've never been to Rhode Island but one day I hope to.

  7. I have never been to Newport but it sounds like a nice place to visit some day. This book sounds like a fun one to read. Thank you for the chance to win.

  8. Never been. Sounds like a fun place to see.

  9. I never been to Newport but I have seen pictures and read about it. I would love to go there. The book sounds good thanks for the chance to win.

  10. No, afraid I haven't but I'd like to.

  11. I live in Rhode Island and I visit Newport alot actually, walked the cliff walk this summer and I've been inside a couple mansions including the Marble House during winter time.

  12. I've never been to Newport either. One of these days I will get to tour New England.

  13. No, I have never been to Newport.

  14. Would love to go back and visit some of the mansions. We only had time for an overview tour on our excursion there off a cruise ship.