Saturday 26 August 2023

Murder at the Elms (Gilded Newport Mysteries Book # 11) by Alyssa Maxwell

As the nineteenth century comes to a close, the illustrious Vanderbilt family dominates Newport, Rhode Island, high society. But when murder arrives, reporter Emma Cross learns that sometimes the actions of the cream of society can curdle one’s blood in the latest installment of this bestselling cozy historical mystery series . . .

1901: Back from their honeymoon in Italy, Emma and Derrick are adapting to married life as they return to their duties at their jointly owned newspaper, the Newport Messenger. The Elms, coal baron Edward Berwind’s newly completed Bellevue Avenue estate, is newsworthy for two reasons: A modern mansion for the new century, it is one of the first homes in America to be wired for electricity with no backup power system, generated by coal from Berwind’s own mines. And their servants—with a single exception—have all gone on strike to protest their working conditions. Summarily dismissing and replacing his staff with cool and callous efficiency, Berwind throws a grand party to showcase the marvels of his new “cottage.”

Emma and Derrick are invited to the fete, which culminates not only in a fabulous musicale but an unforeseen tragedy—a chambermaid is found dead in the coal tunnel. In short order, it is also discovered that a guest’s diamond necklace is missing and a laborer has disappeared.

Detective Jessie Whyte entreats Emma and Derrick to help with the investigation and determine if the murdered maid and stolen necklace are connected. As the dark deeds cast a shadow over the blazing mansion, it’s up to Emma to shine a light on the culprit . . . (Summary via Goodreads)

Usually when I write a review I talk about the entire story and I will with Murder at the Elms, the eleventh book in Alyssa Maxwell's Gilded Newport Mystery series but first I have to start with the ending....  I won't give anything away but I will say that the direction that Maxwell is taking this series is going to be AMAZING !!  I love how she ended the storyline and cannot wait until the future books to watch Emma and Derrick grow !!!
Okay..... now in Murder at the Elms the big change is that Emma and Derrick are finally married and enjoying life as newlyweds.  They are working together at the Messenger, the newspaper that Derrick owns and Emma is a reporter, but getting use to living together is a struggle as they have two places to stay at.  Derrick owns the house that Emma actually grew up in and turned it into a few apartments and a bacelor pad for himself and Emma owns Gull Manor which her great-aunt left to her.  Neither place feels completely theirs as both feel different when they are there.
But before they can work around that dilemma they are invited to a musicale at the Elms.  The Elms is a recently built home in Newport and it has electricity generated by the owners own coal from his own mines.  Ned and Minnie Berwind's are excited to show off their home with the musicale unfortunately one of their employees is found dead during the intermission.  This maid is also the only employee of the Berwind's that recently did not go on strike when the rest of the employees did.
Emma, having met Ines at the house when the employees went on strike feels for her and when it is discovered that she was murdered, Emma and Derrick set out to find out who killed her and why.  Unfortunately they also learn that another employee is missing and an expensive necklace of one of the couples staying as guests at The Elms is gone.  It will take some well thought out planning to solve all of these situations......
There is no way that readers are not fans of this series as well as Maxwell and her amazing talent of drawing you in immediately.  And as Emma and Derrick and their lives grow and expand, you will fall deeper in love with everything.  I cannot wait until the next installment of this series because I NEED to know what happens next.....and so will you !!!

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