cover image Murder at Chateau sur Mer

Murder at Chateau sur Mer

Alyssa Maxwell. Kensington, $25 (304p) ISBN 978-1-4967-0332-3

Set in 1897, Maxwell’s middling fifth Gilded Newport mystery (after 2016’s Murder at Rough Point) finds reporter Emma Cross, who writes the weekly Fancies and Fashions page for the Newport, R.I., Observer, at a polo match. In the stands, she sees the police intercept Lilah Buford, a woman forced “to depend upon the patronage of gentlemen in order to make her way in the world,” who was attempting to speak with the wife of Senator George Wetmore in a restricted seating area. The following day, Emma get a call from Det. Jesse Whyte of the Newport PD, who wants her to meet him at the Wetmore home, Chateau sur Mer, where Lilah has been found at the foot of a staircase with her neck broken. Distrustful of the authorities, Mrs. Wetmore asks Emma to investigate Lilah’s death and prevent any scandal. Even as Emma does so, she’s unsettled by the return to her life of a man whose “chiseled features” “jog” her pulse. Unremarkable sleuthing and underdeveloped characters are unlikely to attract newcomers. Agent: Evan Marshall, Evan Marshall Agency. (Aug.)