cover image Death on the Cliff Walk: A Gilded Age Mystery

Death on the Cliff Walk: A Gilded Age Mystery

Mary Kruger. Zebra, $16.95 (277pp) ISBN 978-0-8217-4769-8

Narrative inconsistencies and cliched situations riddle this historical mystery/romance set in turn-of-the-century Newport, R.I. When the body of a wealthy woman dressed in a maid's uniform is found on the Cliff Walk high above the sea behind many of Newport's newly constructed mansions, police detective Matt Devlin must investigate the fourth murder of a maid on the walk in as many weeks. With the help of Brooke Cassidy, a close friend who was adopted by wealthy relatives after her parents died, he realizes that the killer is one of the socialites, not a servant, as his police chief would like. Jumping to a conclusion, Matt makes a wrongful arrest and is suspended from the force. His replacement arrests a local laborer, and affluent Newport sighs in relief. Matt and Brooke, however, know the Cliff Walk killer is still at large and pursue the investigation on their own, resolving the case after Brooke's life is endangered. Although the characters have a lively appeal, this workmanlike tale doesn't capture Newport's high-society grandeur or its stunning natural beauty. (Dec.)