In June 1900, reporter Emma Cross discovers the body of a woman in the waters below the Morgans’ mansion, which threatens to send members of Newport’s high society floundering . . .
As a reporter, Emma is used to covering Newport’s social events. But this time she is appearing on the arm of her fiancé, Derrick Andrews, at a small but exclusive gathering of the New York Yacht Club at Beacon Rock, the Grecian-inspired summer “cottage” of Edwin and Elizabeth Morgan. The members—which include cousin and Yacht Club Commodore John Pierpoint Morgan and widow Lucy Carnegie, the first woman to be admitted to the Club—are there to discuss their strategy for the next America’s Cup Challenge, to be held in New York Harbor the following summer.
But it’s Emma who must come up with a strategy when she discovers a woman’s body bobbing against one of the hulls of the boats moored at the base of Beacon Rock. Is it possible she fell from the Newport ferry and was carried by the tide? Or could she have drowned herself or fallen victim to foul play?
After the woman is identified as the missing daughter of a yacht designer, the police—with the exception of Emma’s friend Detective Jesse Whyte—hastily conclude she is a suicide, perhaps to quiet any scandal for the Morgans, since her body was found floating near their property. But Emma suspects the woman was murdered and begins to sort through a who’s who of sportsmen, boat crews, and the Newport elite in search of a stone-cold killer . . .
At the start of Maxwell's clever Gilded Newport mystery (after 2021's Murder at Wakehurst), intrepid reporter Emma Cross and her fiancé, Derrick Andrews, arrive one summer day in 1900 for dinner at yachtsman Edwin Morgan's Beacon Rock estate. While Derrick was born into this privileged world, Emma, though a distant cousin of the Vanderbilts, is aware that she "dangled from the nether regions of the family tree" and feels ill at ease. To escape the constant talk about the upcoming America's Cup races, she steps out for a breath of air and makes her way down to the pier. There, she discovers the lifeless body of a young woman floating in the water. As always, the wealthy close ranks when the police come to call, and it's up to Emma to investigate not only the original murder but those that follow. Series fans will be pleased that Emma and Derrick officially announce their intention to marry, leaving Emma to ponder how she will navigate the tedious and at times dangerous world of high society. Readers will look forward to the further adventures of Emma, who astutely illuminates the habits and mores of her day.