Sunday, August 14, 2016

REVIEW: Murder at Rough Point

Murder at Rough Point
Author: Alyssa Maxwell

**I received a copy of this book from Kensington Publishers via NetGalley in exchange for a fair, honest review.**

Murder and intrigue return to Newport, Rhode Island in this 4th installment of the Gilded Newport series by Alyssa Maxwell.

Emma Cross, a poor relation of the stately Vanderbilt family, is invited to attend an artists retreat at Rough Point, a stately home owned by her Uncle Frederick Vanderbilt. Emma is to write a newspaper article about the retreat. She hopes that the exposure will help boost her career to covering more than the usual Fancies and Fashions articles she normally writes.

In attendance are several well-known artists ranging from ballet dancers to sculptors, including the renowned Edith Wharton. Surprisingly enough, Emma's parents are attending as well, returning from an extended stay in Paris.

The group is not a peaceful one. The artists soon start bickering among themselves, revealing strained relationships. Soon, however, Emma has more to worry about than clashing personalities. An English Baronet, Sir Randall Clifford, is found dead at the bottom of a cliff. At first it is assumed he committed suicide over his failing ambitions as a sculptor, but when a second guest is found dead in his bathtub, suspicious turn to murder. Emma finds herself once again assisting police detective Jesse Whyte to discover the identity of the killer before anyone else dies.

This book reminded me of Agatha Christie's novels -- a large house, illustrious guests, servants, dark secrets and murder. As Christie is my favorite author, I found myself absolutely loving this book! It is a great blend of fictional characters and real people, all centered in a historic Newport home.

Rough Point - Newport, RI

The mystery is engaging, with plenty of plausible suspects, plot twists and surprises. The killer is revealed in an exciting ending, wrapping up this story in Christie-like eloquent fashion.

I read this book without previously reading any of the novels in the Gilded Newport series, so it isn't necessary to read the books in order. However, there are some nuances to character relationships that would be better understood by reading in order. My jumping in with this newest installment in the series didn't dampen my enjoyment of the book. But, it did make me want to go back and read all of the prior novels! And, I also spent some time researching Rough Point and the other Newport mansions that Maxwell writes about in her books. I live about 40 minutes from Biltmore Estate, located in Asheville, NC, and I find the history of iconic American families like the Vanderbilts and their mansions captivating! I will most definitely be reading more of this series!

In addition to the Gilded Newport series, Alyssa Maxwell has also written two mysteries set in post-World War I England, A Pinch of Poison and Murder Most Malicious. Check out her website here:

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