In the autumnal chill of Newport, Rhode Island, at the close of the nineteenth century, journalist Emma Cross discovers an instance of cold-blooded murder on the grounds of a mansion . . .
Following the death of her uncle, Cornelius Vanderbilt, in September 1899, a somber Emma is in no mood for one of Newport’s extravagant parties. But to keep Vanderbilt’s reckless son Neily out of trouble, she agrees to accompany him to an Elizabethan fete on the lavish grounds of Wakehurst, the Ochre Point “cottage” modeled after an English palace, owned by Anglophile James Van Alen.
Held in Wakehurst’s English-style gardens, the festivities will include a swordplay demonstration, an archery competition, scenes from Shakespeare’s plays, and even a joust. As Emma wanders the grounds distracted by grief, she overhears a fierce argument between a man and a woman behind a tall hedge. As the joust begins, she’s drawn by the barking of Van Alen’s dogs and finds a man on the ground, an arrow through his chest.
The victim is one of the 400’s most influential members, Judge Clayton Schuyler. Could one of the countless criminals he’d imprisoned over the years have returned to seek revenge—or could one of his own family members have targeted him? With the help of her beau Derrick Andrews and Detective Jesse Whyte, Emma begins to learn the judge was not the straight arrow he appeared to be. As their investigation leads them in ever-widening circles, Emma will have to score a bull’s eye to stop the killer from taking another life . . .
In Maxwell's lively ninth Gilded Newport mystery (after 2020's Murder at Kingscote), journalist Emma Cross, a cousin "twice or thrice removed" from Cornelius Vanderbilt II, who has recently died, attends an Elizabethan-themed fete at Wakehurst, the Van Alen family estate in Newport, R.I. The entertainment consists of archery competitions, jesters, actors, and musicians. When a jousting exhibition is announced, Emma, who's in no mood for partying after Cornelius's death, has had enough. As she's walking away from the festivities, she hears the insistent barking of the Van Alen dogs. Following the sound, she finds Judge Clayton Schuyler dead, an arrow protruding from his chest. In the past, Emma has depended on helpful police detective Jessie White in her sleuthing, but Jessie's replacement, Det. Gifford Myers, tells her to stay out of his investigation, adding, "I see you can't help yourself, but for your own sake, you had better learn some self-control." Maxwell once again exposes the underhanded doings of the wealthy ruling class while providing plenty of fascinating historical background. This entry is bound to delight both established fans and new readers.