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Publisher's Summary

As the 19th century comes to a close, the illustrious Vanderbilt family dominates Newport, Rhode Island, high society. But when murder darkens a glittering affair at the Vanderbilt summer home, reporter Emma Cross learns that sometimes the actions of the cream of society can curdle one's blood....

Newport, Rhode Island, August 1895: She may be a less well-heeled relation, but as second cousin to millionaire patriarch Cornelius Vanderbilt, 21-year-old Emma Cross is on the guest list for a grand ball at the Breakers, the Vanderbilts' summer home. She also has a job to do - report on the event for the society page of the Newport Observer.

But Emma observes much more than glitz and gaiety when she witnesses a murder. The victim is Cornelius Vanderbilt's financial secretary, who plunges off a balcony faster than falling stock prices. Emma's black sheep brother, Brady, is found in Cornelius's bedroom passed out next to a bottle of bourbon and stolen plans for a new railroad line. Brady has barely come to before the police have arrested him for the murder. But Emma is sure someone is trying to railroad her brother and resolves to find the real killer at any cost....

©2014 Alyssa Maxwell (P)2014 Audible, Inc.

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Entertaining mystery

This book has the flavor of Newport, and the author's skill in creating that golden era incomparable. I felt the danger Emma was in, and the love for her family. I can't wait to start the next story

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    1 out of 5 stars
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  • SS
  • 02-21-15

Born and raised in Newport

This book wasn’t for you, but who do you think might enjoy it more?

No one that I can think of

What do you think your next listen will be?

Listening to In Cold Blood

What didn’t you like about Eva Kaminsky’s performance?

I love all the readers.Eva is no exception.

You didn’t love this book... but did it have any redeeming qualities?

None that I can think of

Any additional comments?

Born And raised in Newpot. This is a silly story.Will not buy another book by this author.This could have very well ruined Bellevue Drive for me.
This is one I would return.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    1 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars

Historical Fiction, without the History.

I know that this book is not meant to be Serious Literature, and I was searching for something casual and easy when I purchased it, but...
Did Alyssa Maxwell do any research when she wrote this book? It reads more like a guidebook (for children) to Newport than historical fiction. The author's perspective seems an attempt at describing the past from a present (tourist) point-of-view instead of historical fiction written with integrity, which at its best should pull a reader into a time and place so that it almost feels lived. And appropriate linguistic details are lacking: I am sure, for example, that no heroine--spunky though she may have been--would have said "Oops" in Gilded-Age-Newport.
Eva Kaminsky's narration takes this experience from bad to worse: her always-slightly-ironic-and-smug voice makes the characters sound like millenials (but not even real ones--just the kind of stereotypical millenial the media love to lambast).
I am returning this book so that I can use my credit more wisely.

5 of 7 people found this review helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Fun historical mystery

Murder at the Breakers by Alyssa Maxwell takes place in Newport, RI in August 1895 among the elite of society, centered around the Vanderbilt family. Emma Cross, a poor relation of the Vanderbilt family but recognized by them for her heritage and bloodline, works to support herself as a society page journalist. Then one night she attends the coming-out ball of her cousin at the home of her second cousin Cornelius Vanderbilt, the family patriarch, when Cornelius’s secretary plunges to his death right at Emma’s feet. And Emma’s brother Brady lies passed out with an empty bottle of bourbon and the stolen plans to a railroad venture next to him in the very room from which the secretary has fallen. With this evidence against Brady, the police immediately arrest him, and it will be up to Emma to put to use her investigative skills in order to clear her brother’s name.

This book follows Emma’s threads of investigation as she tails her suspects and gets threatened for snooping. Everyone, including her own family, seems ready to make Brady a scapegoat even when evidence suggests his potential innocence.

The book contains some interesting insight into life in 1895 elite society. We see the snobbish hierarchy of the individuals and just how people cannot move between classes and the minute details that influence the views of those like the Vanderbilts towards those around them.

My one concern about this book is the plethora of characters, which causes some confusion in keeping them straight. By the end I pretty much got them figured out, but especially earlier in the book I had trouble sorting out the various characters.

The audio edition of this book is narrated by Eva Kaminsky, who does a good job. Her performance fit in with the mood of the turn-of-the-century era. I do wonder if this book would have been easier for me to follow, particularly with the numerous characters, either read visually instead of audibly or perhaps with a different narrator. But since the book contains first person narration, I’m not sure that any of this confusion I experienced would have been any less with a different narrator.

I enjoyed this mystery that gives insight into late-19th century elite society. The book gives plenty of flavor from the era and an interesting mystery, with a drive to find the true criminal before Brady can be railroaded into being convicted of this crime. I give the book four stars.

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Great whodoneit

This book keeps you guessing until the last page. Alyssa Maxwell's way with words shine and makes up for the not so great narration. I can honestly say this was the BEST story I have "read" in a long time. I will surely keep an eye out for this authors work.

0 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Mrs Maureen Cate
  • 04-21-17

Although enjoyable...

Where does Murder at the Breakers rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

...for some reason this book did nor strike me as equal to the previous books in the series.

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  • IAN
  • 09-01-16

Historial mystery well worth listening to!

What did you like most about Murder at the Breakers?

The setting of Newport, Rhode Island and the Vanderbilt family in the 'Gilded' period of American history.

What did you like best about this story?

True history content wrapped around a fictional story.

Which scene did you most enjoy?

Near the final scene, when the penny finally drops for Emma.

Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

When Emma makes a stand at the end of the book...on her principles. Maybe too much pride, before the fall?

Any additional comments?

Well researched, plotted and written. With a great mix of real people and fictional characters, that blend in well in this period story.
Well narrated by Eva Kaminsky.