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 financial secretary is killed on the grounds and Emma's half-brother Brady is accused of the murder, Emma will stop at nothing to find the real killer, even if it means risking her own life.
Emma was such an awesome and strong character! I loved how she was kind to everyone, no matter what their class. She befriended a teen-aged maid who had come to her and her Nanny looking for work when the maid became pregnant. Nanny was such a sweetheart. She was much more than a servant--she was more like a grandmother to Emma since Emma had never felt any real affection from her own parents. They always seemed to be away and Emma always seemed to be the one to go to Brady's assistance when he was in trouble.
Despite some threats on her life, Emma kept on investigating and along with a new friend, Derrick, they got to the bottom of the murder as well as a couple more killings done by that same person. I really never suspected this person!
This was so well-written I could picture myself in the 1800s Newport summer (not as a character, I don't think I'd be able to stand those suffocating outfits lol). There were some great red herrings. Now there are two men who seem interested in Emma. My first thought was to be Team Derrick but now I'm not sure--Jesse is a policeman and would be a lot more of a steady person. Derrick is exciting and likes to investigate. I think I'll just have to read the next book to make a proper decision! ;)