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Murder at the Breakers

(Gilded Newport Mysteries #1)

3.62  ·  Rating details ·  2,268 ratings  ·  311 reviews
As the nineteenth century comes to a close, the illustrious Vanderbilt family dominates Newport, Rhode Island, high society. But when murder darkens a glittering affair at their summer home, reporter Emma Cross learns that sometimes the cream of the crop can curdle one's blood . . .

Newport, Rhode Island, August 1895: She may be a less well-heeled relation, but as
Paperback, 320 pages
Published April 30th 2019 by Kensington Publishing Corporation (first published March 25th 2014)
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Tina Although the setting is later (the 1920s), Thornton Wilder's "Theophilus North" is set in Newport, and it's a wonderful book.
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Average rating 3.62  · 
Rating details
 ·  2,268 ratings  ·  311 reviews

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Alyssa Maxwell
Jan 30, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  (Review from the author)  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: my-books
My rating on this book is based on how much fun I had writing it!
Apr 08, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Really enjoyed this cozy mystery that is a fictional account of many notable historical figures, including the Vanderbilts and the Astors, who I am also currently reading about in an actual history book. I love how the author took true, historical data from the time of these individuals and created a story of *what possibly could have happened that night at The Breakers if a murder had occured*

I love when there are strong, spitfire women as central characters who were so atypical of this era.
Mar 27, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2015
*4.5 stars

I found another cozy mystery series to read:) I enjoyed the story, the characters, and the Gilded Age. It was just a simple mystery to get lost in; nothing too taxing on the brain but enjoyable nonetheless.
May 03, 2014 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I wish I could give this 3 1/2 stars. Unfortunately, in my opinion, there is one major flaw. Emma Cross sets out to prove her step brother's innocence of a murder at the Breakers, the Newport mansion of her relatives, Cornelius and Alice Vanderbilt. The good things about the book---the setting is fantastic. We get a clear and beautiful picture of Newport in its heyday. It really makes you feel that you know the place well. The insight into the lives of the super rich is fascinating. (and ...more
Oct 11, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: kindle, mystery, 2019
A ball is being given at the Vanderbilt's newly rebuilt summer cottage, The Breakers. Reporter Emma Cross, a not-so-rich cousin to the Vanderbilts, receives an invitation and decides to report on the event for the local newspaper. When Emma witnesses the murder of Cornelius Vanderbilt's financial secretary and her stepbrother Brady is arrested, Emma knows he would never kill anyone. Emma decides to use her sleuthing ability to uncover the real killer and get Brady out of jail.

I've visited
Mar 07, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Living in RI and having visited the Breakers a number of times, I sort of felt obligated to read this one. It didn't hurt that I also like cozy mysteries, and the Gilded Age cultures are not all that different from the setting on Downton Abbey. Emmaline (Emma) Cross is a non-traditional young woman living among the social elite in Newport. In fact, she is a cousin to the famous Vanderbilt family, who own the Breakers, through her mother. She would probably be considered one of their poorer ...more
Brenda Funk
I love 'cozy' mysteries, but this one was just a little too simplistic, written at a 12 yr old level or so -- I like a little more complexity, a little more 'grey' and with characters that are more developed and 'real'.
It was an okay book. I was looking for a quick, fun read and ran across this book. It could have been so much more, with the inclusion of the Vanderbilts, Astors, and other wealthy families that comprised "The 400" - the wealthy elite at the turn of the century. But this isn't historical fiction. It is a novel which includes some famous families, some facts from the times, and a lot of fluff. Emma Cross is the protagonist. She is so annoying at times. There is a lot of potential, and at times ...more
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
Why, oh why is it that some historical fiction writers take absolutely no trouble to write dialogue and description that sounds as if it came from the era they are writing about? Within the first couple of chapters of "Murder at the Breakers" (end of the 19th century), here are a couple phrases that stopped me cold:

"Didn't I always?"
"He's invited but it's doubtful he'll show."
"What can I say?"
"And while your father's back is turned, you raid his liquor cabinet."
"He's a goner,
Aug 16, 2016 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-in-2016
My actual rating is probably a 3.5.

There was quite a bit I liked about this book. I know Newport RI very well so I had no problem picturing the setting. References to Thames St, Bellevue Ave, Spring St, and Cliff Walk were easy for me to picture because I am very familiar with them.

The murder mystery was pretty good too. There were a lot of twists and turns that kept me guessing. Emma wasn't bad as an amateur sleuth either. She's smart and resourceful and doesn't give up.

However, a couple of
Emma Cross is a twenty-one year old spinster from Newport, Rhode Island during the summer of 1895. When her relatives, the Vanderbilts, plan to give a grand fete in honor of her cousin Gertrude's coming-out, Emma is invited as a relative but also as a reporter. Emma must work for her living and she does so as a writer for the society page of a local paper. She longs to be a real reporter writing on real events. When her half-brother Brady comes to her asking for help sneaking into The Breakers, ...more
Feb 07, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
In the final years of the nineteenth century, Cornelius Vanderbilt and his family were at the apex of Newport society. When a family employee and friend is murdered and Brady, a poor relation, is arrested for the crime, his Uncle Cornelius pushes for a speedy trial. Emma, Brady's older sister, begins to search out the real murderer in order to free her beloved sibling. Rich in history, Vanderbilt family politics, and action, this book, first in a series, has me hungering for more.

As an addendum
Nov 12, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: wom-reads, rtyr
The story is based off the Vanderbilt's & Astor's of Newport, RI in 1895. The author did a great job with her historical research that you got a good sense of what high society life was like back then.

The story itself was ok. Parts seemed like it was more about the history than about the mystery. I would of liked to have seen more of a mixture of both. The main character had some strong attributes (like her independence by not just relying on her family fortunes) but her sleuthing has a
J.J. Lair
I wanted to like this more. The opulence and grandeur of old Newport sounded exotic. I love history. This had all the makings of a great story. There is already a sequel.
The story dragged. There were so many names dropped in the first chapter that I had to write out a list to keep track of them all.
After all that, the author gave away the ending 60 pages before the end. She made it obvious. So I rushed through the end and didn't bother with the last chapter.
I may read the sequel because this
Mar 15, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Completely loved this book!!!! My recent trip to Newport has me craving more stories about the famous and infamous people who built the now-famous cottages that grace the coastline. The Breakers is an unbelievably stunning property...and the perfect setting for an intrigue taking place in the Gilded Age. I enjoyed getting to know the characters and look forward to the next book in the series. Bring on the Marble House volume, Alyssa!
Amanda Richards
This isn't my normal genre but I read it for the University of Central Florida Book Festival panel I was moderating, and to be honest I quite enjoyed it!

I learned that is was called a "cozy mystery" and I think that is the perfect term. It was an easy book to pick up and read with a cup of coffee while snuggled under a warm blanket. I can definitely see myself picking up book two!
hmmm what was I thinking? I didn’t research it before purchasing. I was just on a post tour high. Now that I’ve started it, I’ve learned it’s a "cozy mystery". The MC is a young adult or late teen. I just can’t get into it. I will set it free and hope someone who likes such things finds it.

No rating since it's outside my reading preferences. My bad with the purchase
Aug 31, 2014 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery, read-in-2014
Not a bad cozy mystery but nothing special. The setting was interesting--turn of the (last) century Newport. However, the heroine was heavy on the TSTL moments and the mystery ended very weakly, i.e., the entire thing is revealed by the formerly-sane-now-suddenly-crazy murderer. I won't continue with this series.
Dec 28, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Settings and notable figures of the era come alive in Alyssa Maxwell's charming period mystery. A breezy puzzler with an engaging central figure make for great fun; especially for those familiar with Newport's distinguished denizens and luxurious locales!
Mar 12, 2014 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I just could not get into this book. I found it very boring.
Swati J.
Aug 17, 2015 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I read this bc we had just visited the breakers - Newport during the Gilded Age is a fantastic setting. Otherwise, however, this was quite boring and the main character annoying. Eh.
Laurie Way
Jul 06, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Enjoyable murder mystery!
Terry Engel
Jul 27, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
If you're familiar with Newport you'll like this book. An interesting story revolving around the Vanderbilts. The mystery kept you interested throughout.
Jul 26, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I loved Newport, Rhode Island when my family and I visited several years ago, especially the Cliff Walk with all the gorgeous mansions, so I was excited to read a mystery series based on the various mansions.

Emma Vanderbilt Cross feels like she's just a shirttail relation to the famous Vanderbilts, Cornelius and Aunt Agnes that built The Breakers. But to her cousins, she was an equal when they were kids. Her cousin Niely (Cornelius III) was always good to her even as adults. When her uncle's
It was okay, but that’s about it.

Having read a couple era appropriate novels recently (1920s, 1950s, 1980s), I was surprised about how modern this sounded. It was very 21st century for being set in 1895. It even bounced around with modern feminism which seemed out of place for that time. Also there were gems like “He was a young heir on holiday, a Newport summer dandy, and it was considered his right to sow some wild oats.” Doesn’t seem like a mentality that would be held at that time.

As for
Mina De Caro (Mina's Bookshelf)
Full review available on MINA'S BOOKSHELF

A delightful and harmonious concoction of vividly portrayed Gilded Age milieu and well thought-out murder mystery plot. Theme, voice, and pace flow on a trail of red herrings with a balance that was as graceful as unexpectedly transfixing for a debut novel. Based on real historical figures and narrated through the outsider's perspective of Emma Cross, an acute observer treading the fine line that separates the
I just finished reading Murder at the Breakers by Alyssa Maxwell. It is the first book in the Gilded Newport Mystery series. Murder at the Breakers is an historical cozy mystery. It is August of 1895 in Newport, Rhode Island. Emmaline “Emma” Cross lives at Gull Manor which she inherited from her Great Aunt Sadie. Emma also writes stories on society events for the Newport Observer. Emma is a cousin to Cornelius Vanderbilt (a poor relations, but still a relation). Emma is awakened early one ...more
Dear lord, this was boring. I normally don't like first books of cozy mysteries, it takes me time to get used to the writing and the characters unless they're unusually filled with sparkle. Unfortunately, not much sparkle in this lot of characters. You'd think Gilded Age Vanderbilts would have provided some gravitas, but nope. They're just teeth gnashing old fogeys, and not even in an interesting way. For example, there's a novel in the Vanderbilt feud (the older Vanderbilts vs. Neily and ...more
Jul 14, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Ahh, the glitz and prestige of American wealth in the guilded age! A wonderful backdrop for a scandal!

So, before my recent trip back to Newport, RI (one of my most favorite places on earth) I sought some knowledge about scandal and intrigue that occurred amongst the rich heirs and heiresses of the times. I wanted to learn about some illicit affair, murder, or possibly a ghost that still haunts one of the mansions.
It is impossible to put some of the wealthiest, most powerful people alive all
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Alyssa Maxwell is the author of The Gilded Newport Mysteries, inspired by her husband’s family whose Newport origins date back numerous generations. The series features the glamour of the Gilded Age and a sleuth who is a Newporter born and raised, and also a less "well-heeled" cousin of the Vanderbilt family. Alyssa also writes A Lady & Lady’s Maid Mysteries, an English-set series that begins ...more

Other books in the series

Gilded Newport Mysteries (7 books)
  • Murder at Marble House (Gilded Newport Mysteries, #2)
  • Murder at Beechwood (Gilded Newport Mysteries #3)
  • Murder at Rough Point (Gilded Newport Mysteries, #4)
  • Murder at Chateau Sur Mer (Gilded Newport Mysteries #5)
  • Murder at Ochre Court (Gilded Newport Mysteries #6)
  • Murder at Crossways (Gilded Newport Mysteries #7)
“turned a scandalized gaze on me. “Will there be rats scurrying about?” “What?” I shook my worries” 1 likes
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