This week I’m hosting mystery author, Alyssa Maxwell.
Alyssa Maxwell, author of The Gilded Newport Mysteries, began a love affair with the city of Newport while visiting friends there back in her high school days. Time and again the harbor‑side, gas‑lit neighborhoods drew her to return, and on one of those later visits she met the man who would become her husband. Always a lover of history, Alyssa found that marrying into a large, generations‑old Newport family opened up an exciting world of historical discovery. From the graveyards whose earliest markers read from the seventeenth century, to original colonial houses still lived in today, to the Newport Artillery Company whose curator for many years was her husband’s grandfather, Newport became a place of fascination and romantic charm. Today, she and her husband reside beneath the palms and bright skies of Florida, but part of her heart remains firmly in that small New England city of great historical significance. For more about Alyssa and her books, please visit http://.alyssamaxwell.com.
Murder at The Breakers
Newport, Rhode Island, August 1895: She may be a less well-heeled relation, but as second cousin to millionaire patriarch Cornelius Vanderbilt, twenty-one-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…
Here is an excerpt from Murder at The Breakers:
She awoke that morning to an angry sea battering the edges of the promontory, and gusting winds that kicked up a spray to rattle against her bedroom windows. She might simply have rolled over, closed her eyes again and sunk pleasantly back into sleep, if not for the—
Here the nib of my pen ran dry and scratched across the paper, threatening to leave a tear. If not for the what? I knew what I wanted to say; this was to be a novel of mystery and danger, but I was having a dickens of a time that morning finding the right words.
As I pondered, my gaze drifted to another page I’d shoved aside last night. Sitting on my desktop inches from my elbow, the words I’d hastily scrawled before going to bed mocked me with their insipidness. Mrs Astor Plants A Rose Garden, the title read. Who could possibly care, I wondered. Yet people apparently did care, or I wouldn’t have been sent by my employer, Mr. Millford of the Newport Observer, to cover the auspicious event. Not that Mrs. Astor actually wielded anything resembling a garden tool, mind you, or chanced pricking her tender fingers on a thorn. No, she’d barked brisk orders at her groundskeepers until the placement of the bushes suited her taste, and then ushered her dozen or so guests onto the terrace for tea.
I sighed, looking up from my desk to stare out my bedroom window. The scene outside perfectly matched the mysterious one I’d just described: a glowering, blustery day that promised intermittent rains and salty winds. The inclement weather heralded ominous tidings for my protagonist, not to mention reeking real-life havoc on the tightest of coiffures.
No matter; I had no plans to stray from home until much later in the evening. I dipped my pen in the inkwell and was about to try again when from behind me a hand descended on my shoulder.
With a yelp I sprang from my chair, shoving it away with the backs of my knees. I sucked in a breath and prepared to cry out in earnest, but before I could utter a sound a second hand clamped my mouth.
“Shush! For crying out loud, Em, don’t scream. I thought you heard me. Ouch!”
I’d instinctively bitten one of the fingers pressed against my lips, even as recognition of the familiar voice poured through me and sent my fear draining from my limbs. Still, I had no intentions of apologizing. Wrenching from his grip, I turned and slapped my brother’s hands away.
“Blast it, Brady! What are you doing here? Neither Katie nor Nanny would have let you upstairs without asking me first.”
“The front door was unlocked. I called out but when no one answered I let myself in.” A flick of his head sent a shank of damp, sandy blond hair off his forehead—and assured me he was lying. That particular gesture had accompanied Brady’s fibs for as long as I could remember. The only truth to his statement was that he’d let himself in.
“You sneaked in, didn’t you?” I folded my arms in front of me. Why?”
“I need your help, Em.”
“Oh, Brady, what now?” My arms fell to my sides, and with a sigh that melted into a yawn, I walked to the foot of my bed and reached for my robe. “I suppose you must be in real trouble again, or you’d never be out and about this early.”
“Are you going to The Breakers tonight?” He referred to the ball our relatives were holding that evening.
“Of course. But—”
“I need you to do something for me.” He threw himself into the chintz overstuffed chair beside the hearth. I remained standing, glaring down at him, braced for the inevitable. “I, uh…I did something I shouldn’t have…”
Murder at The Breakers can be purchased from the following: Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Murder-
at-Breakers-Alyssa-Maxwell/dp/ 0758290829/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8& qid=1374172316&sr=8-1& keywords=murder+at+the+ breakers+alyssa+maxwell
Barnes & Noble: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/
w/murder-at-the-breakers- alyssa-maxwell/1115966843?ean= 9780758290823
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Alyssa is doing a book giveaway this week, so please leave a comment and you will automatically be entered to win a free copy of Murder at The Breakers.