cover image Murder at Kingscote

Murder at Kingscote

Alyssa Maxwell. Kensington, $26 (304p) ISBN 978-1-4967-2073-3

Set in 1899, Maxwell’s excellent eighth Gilded Age Newport mystery (after 2019’s Murder at Crossways) finds newspaper editor-in-chief Emma Cross and her beau, Derrick Andrews, at a high-society motorcar competition, where they see 21-year-old Philip King crash his car while driving drunk. That evening, Emma and Derrick are dining with King’s widowed mother, Ella, at her “cottage,” Kingscote, when the butler, Isaiah Baldwin, is found crushed between a beech tree and Philip’s car. Philip, who has borrowed money from the butler that he can’t repay, is the obvious suspect, but Emma isn’t convinced. Isaiah was a boxing aficionado who lied about his last post, seemed inexplicably flush with cash, and had an unsavory reputation with women. Emma also probes a woman claiming to be the real heir to the King family fortune, as well as a housemaid with something to hide. Meanwhile, she questions her future in the newspaper business and with Derrick, whose family disdains her lack of social standing. Maxwell combines convincing character development and vivid depictions of Newport’s heyday with a well-plotted mystery. This historical series just keeps getting better. Agent: Evan Marshall, Evan Marshall Agency. (Aug.)