Murder at Beacon Rock (A Gilded Newport Mystery)

Written by Alyssa Maxwell
Review by Marlie Wasserman

Emma Cross stars as the protagonist of Murder at Beacon Rock, set in 1900 Newport, Rhode Island. She works as a journalist for the Newport Messenger, owned by her fiancé. Emma visits the Newport estate of Edwin and Elizabeth Morgan when they host a group of wealthy Americans who have formed a syndicate to back the yacht Columbia in competition for the World Cup. Soon Emma discovers the body of 18-year-old Lillian Fahey, but she doubts Lillian has drowned herself as the locals suggest. As Emma works with her fiancé and a policeman to hunt for the murderer, more bodies appear.

An accomplished writer, Alyssa Maxwell focuses effectively on the sounds and atmosphere of Newport rather than events going on in the larger world during the Gilded Age. She develops an intriguing cast of characters, all possible villains. The plot occasionally pushes the limits of credulity, but Emma’s instincts are so fine that readers will go along with her discoveries. Maxwell excels at folding this novel into her Gilded Newport Mystery series, incorporating only what readers need from the nine previous books. The novel works as a stand-alone while tempting readers to engage with the entire series.