Murder at Beechwood is the 3rd book in the series by Alyssa Maxwell that centers around Newport, RI in the Gilded era. The series gives the reader a peek at the lifestyle of the lifestyle of the extremely wealthy American families in late 1890s. Emma Cross is a cousin of the Vanderbilt family living and as such she interacts with the who's who of the American industrialists. While being a lesser Vanderbilt relation, she has the opportunity to live independently and without some of the restrictions and expectations placed upon the debutante daughters of the Vanderbilts and their peers. Her lineage does afford her the opportunity to visit the famous homes of Newport though; sometimes as a social call and other times as a lifestyle reporter for the local paper. The books focus on the crimes she finds herself at the center of and uniquely positioned to obtain insight the police would otherwise not uncover. Although the books can be read alone, it is more enjoyable to read them in order as there are references to past adventures and existing relationships.
This particular book focuses on the Astor family estate and the summer season kickoff Mary Astor hosts for the 400 Hundred. Emma finds herself in attendance in her role as the society writer. But her new friendship with Grace Wilson, due to cousin Niely's courtship of the young lady, provides her inside access to the social events. This access is important to the investigation of several crimes that appear to be interrelated but not definitively. Maxwell does a wonderful job of unraveling the details and keeping the mystery engaging. There is a nice balance of description about the gilded era and the plot lines. Emma and her household are very likeable characters and Emma's strong will is made apparent through the dialogue, both external and inner. I enjoy reading about the era but am certainly glad to live in the modern world with all the choices and opportunities provided to both genders.
If you are looking for a historical cozy mystery this is a great series to try. In many ways it is the American version of the Rhys Bowen series.
Murder at Beechwood by Alyssa Maxwell
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Enjoyable book set amongst a wealthy society. its fun to read about some of the famous industrialist families we learn of in history books. Maxwell does a wonderful job of creating characters both likeable and easily despised. Emma Cross is a wonderful antagonist and her relationships with her cousins and her childhood friends are quite engaging. The mystery itself is well written and the different subplots fit well together and are resolved appropriately.
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The Challenge Prompts I will use this for are:
- Library Love #LibraryLoveChallenge Book # 70
- Literary Escapes #LiteraryEscapes RI
- Finishing the Series #FinishingTheSeries2022 Series: 36 Book #1
- Virtual Mount TBR #VirtualMountTBR2022 Book #83
- Back List Reader #Backlistreader Book #63
- Cruisin thru Cozies Historical #2
- Cloak & Dagger #CloakDaggerChal Book #78
- Craving for Cozies Book #71
- Medical Examiner Challenge 5 Toe Tags
- Beachcomber Challenge
- Crime Scene-road; bluff; ocean; hospital; steamer ship
- Weapon- gun; gun; drown; dagger; fire
- Detectives- emma cross; jesse
- Victims- Charlie; Naomi; Virgil Monroe, Wyatt Monroe, Nate Monroe