Murder at Ochre Court

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date: 03 Aug 2018

Member Reviews

I would describe this book as a cosy. It was easy to read with believable characters. The heroine Emily Cross is a working woman in a world that doesn’t recognize upper class women as having a need to work so she struggled with class restrictions. She is torn between two men and her struggle is believable. Her indecision is not so believable but the story itself is enjoyable, the pacing is good and there is both suspense and sexual tension which give the story an edge. I would read more of this author.
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This is the first time I have been introduced to the series. Therefore, it took a while to get into the characters. The story was well-written, but drawn out. I loved the setting of Newport. However, the mystery was predictable. Still, I am interested in reading the novels predecessors.
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I continue to really enjoy this mystery series set in historic Newport. Emma Cross' reporter career continues, but annoyingly in a mostly social vein. In this, she covers what is lauded as the social event of the season for Ochre Court, the coming out ball for Cleo Cooper-Smith, who will be decked out in Cleopatra garb. When she is electrocuted, Emma begins to investigate what may turn out to be a harder news story than she first thought. I liked the style of the story and the characters and mystery were very well done.
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A solid entry into the Emma Cross series by Alyssa Maxwell is the newest book Murder at Ochre Court.  For readers interested into the upper 400 of the Knickerbocker set in Old New York, this series provides a glimpse into the midst of the social whirl.  The stories are told from the point of view of Emma Cross related to so many of the upper crust yet not truly a part of it.  
Emma is trying to make a name for herself by following in Nellie Bly's footsteps as a female journalist. Along the way Emma solves mysteries and becomes the romantic interest of two charming men.  Murder at Ochre Court is set at the summer residence of many of the Knickerbockers during the summer coming out party for a young lady named Cleo.  During the grand  presentation at Cleo's ball she is electrocuted.  Who would want this young girl dead?  Emma Cross is sure to delve into the matter and find the hard hitting answers.
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I really enjoy the Gilded Newport Mystery Series, and Maxwell has proven time and again that she is great storyteller.  She manages to blend real settings and historical figures seamlessly with fictional characters and scenarios.  The mystery is engaging and the characters are well developed, both those recurring and those centric to this story.  Emma is a strong, intelligent, and independent (perhaps a little too independent for the era) protagonist.  She has grown a lot over the course of the series.  There are enough suspects, potential motives, clues and twists with just the right amount of tension and danger to keep me reading.  I was surprised by the killer’s identity.  Fans of the series will be pleased with this fine addition to the series.  I recommend MURDER AT OCHRE COURT to any reader interested in the Gilded Age, strong amateur sleuths, and complex historical mysteries.

I received a copy of this title from the publisher through NetGalley and voluntarily shared my thoughts here.  The opinions are my own.
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I have been an avid reader of this series and this installment was very enjoyable as well. Emma is returning home to cover a debut and realizes how much she misses living in Newport. Unfortunately, at the ball, the debutante is electrocuted in a tableau and Emma is on the hunt with her gentlemen friends, Derrick and Jesse for the murderer. 
Red herrings abound as Emma has raised the ire of Silas Griggson, and the death raises the question of the it better to stick with gaslight or the new fangled electric? Emma stoically moves thru it all, and at the end , uncovers the murderer, with a few unexpected twists at the end. 
I like Emma and the cast of characters in this book. I want to see Emma succeed as a "hard news" reporter, but her time in New York with the New York paper did not bring her any closer to her goal. I also want Emma to make up her mind: Derrick or Jesse. If the romances and her indecision continue much longer they will become an unwelcome distraction for the reader. Bring on #7. I received an ARC in return for an unbiased review from Net Galley.
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Murder at Ochre Court is a decent addition to the Gilded Newport Mysteries series.  I struggled a bit with this book because I loved the setting in the story but felt that there was too little focus on Ochre Court and too much focus on an unexciting mystery and other extraneous things.  My favorite part of this series is learning about the various Newport “cottages” and would have loved to learn more about Ochre Court and its inhabitants and less about the characters that were part of this particular mystery.  However, if you are a fan of this series, it is still worth the read.
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Dollycas’s Thoughts

Emma clearly has not been happy in New York. Her work for the Herald as a society columnist has been pretty mundane. She really wants to be a hard news journalist, something very few women have been given the chance to do. She has a huge decision to make. Will she return to New York after covering the coming-out ball of Cleo Cooper-Smith or will she stay in Newport and try to find a way to follow her dream?

Ochre Court is where the party for Miss Cooper-Smith is taking place. The Goelet’s have just installed modern electricity and the decorations and planned tableau vivant should be spectacular and the talk of the season. But as the debutante dressed as Cleopatra takes her place on the throne, the room shockingly goes dark. As soon as lighting is restored a horrible sight awaits the crowd. Miss Cooper-Smith is dead, she has been electrocuted and the wiring has been tampered with.  The young lady was murdered and there is a room full of suspects.

With Emma on the scene, she plans to report on the death for the Herald and investigate the murder too. The problem is as she uncovers the truth she is putting herself in the killer’s sights. She may miss her final deadline if she isn’t careful.

Alyssa Maxwell is an extraordinary storyteller. She is able to blend real historical times, places and events into a fictional story that will have readers believing they are reading a true account. She is careful to separate fact from fiction at the end of the story. It is so easy to see that she has researched the era and the area extensively. It is also very easy for the reader to escape right into the pages and away to Newport circa 1898.

Emma Cross is a protagonist that is smart, engaging and very independent for a woman at this point in history. Because of her shirttail relationship to the Vanderbilt family, she is able to call on and question almost all members of the elite 400 Club. She doesn’t hold back either. They are not always happy to see her, but they usually come around to answering her questions.  Also in this story, Emma meets Nellie Bly, a famous female journalist who has inspired Emma to follow her passion of becoming a hard news reporter.

We meet many new characters in this installment and each is very defined but they all seem to have some kind of secret that causes Emma to really dig to find the truth. The truth leads her to some shady dealings in New York, and that takes the story in direction Emma has been pondering a while. Twists, yes. Turns, yet. Surprising reveal, yes, yes, yes.

The cover of the book gives us a nice picture of Ochre Court, but after reading each book in this series and the author’s notes at the end I always find myself searching for more information about the place and the family that actually lived there. I really enjoyed this post on The Gilded Age Era, complete with pictures and floor plans. Seeing those confirmed that what I had imagined from the author’s wonderful descriptions were spot on.

Thanks to Ms. Maxwell readers are treated to a rich story set in the Gilded Age with a complex mystery that keeps us guessing right up until the end. Then she gives us just a little snippet that leaves us craving for the next book in this series.

Every book in this series is wonderful and I do recommend reading them all in order. I am amazed at all Emma Cross has been through in these six stories.
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When we last saw Emma Cross she was excitedly heading off to New York for a new job at The New York Herald. The owner, James Bennett, had more or less promised her more substantial reporting assignments, but instead, she has been given the same old Society News that so frustrated her in Newport. While it was pleasant living with her well-heeled Vanderbilt relations, she missed her home and family in Newport. She has a decision to make and is seriously considering returning home for good.

Emma still has her entree to the "400" events in Newport, so the Herald sends her to cover the society debut of Cleo Cooper-Smith. Mrs. Ogden Goelet, the widowed owner of Ochre Court, promised Cleo's mother, also deceased, a perfect launch into society thereby ensuring a suitable (and monied) marriage. Emma, on the other hand, is on the trail of Silas Griggson, who will be in attendance. Griggson is a wealthy real estate developer in New York whose tenement building collapsed, killing many inside. Griggson escaped taking responsibility for the collapse, but Emma thinks he is responsible by using shoddy materials and workmanship. Emma aims to prove his culpability but is sidetracked by a bizarre death at the debut ball. Could Griggson also be responsible for that death?

The Gilded Newport Mysteries are well- researched and bring to life the manners and mores of the late 1890's. Even the notorious Five Points Gang of New York plays a part in Murder at Ochre Court, and Emma has an encounter with the famous Nellie Bly, a woman who made a successful career in journalism. Emma wants to emulate Bly but is drawn to two different men with roots as deep in Newport as her own.

Thanks to NetGalley and Kensington Books for an advance digital copy. The opinions are my own.

RATING- 3.5 Stars rounded to 4
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I’ve found a new female sleuth to enjoy with this book! Set in Newport in 1898, Emma Cross is a reporter who wants to be taken seriously and given the hard news stories in the newspaper business...unfortunately she has problems with that. Here she solves three murders, exposes criminal negligence and takes down some members of a nasty gang...all while trying to navigate a love triangle. I ❤️ this character! Will definitely go back and read her previous 5 adventures to get the full picture...hate that I came to this one mid-stream but happy that I discovered her! 

Thanks to #NetGalley & #KensingtonBooks for providing the ARC, but the opinion is strictly my own.
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High Society of Newport explored in this delightful mystery. The death of a debutante exposes secrets among the gilded age elite along with a touch of romance for the intrepid reporter investigating the crime.
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Princess Fuzzypants here:  I do enjoy historical novels especially those that bring the factual into the fictional.  This series is one that does an admirable job blending the two.  Our heroine is related to “the” Vanderbilt’s but is a poor relation.  As such she has access to Society while being relegated by many to the fringes, almost there but not quite.  
Emma wants to be journalist but the best she can manage, thanks to her tenuous acceptance by the rich and powerful, is to report on their lavish lifestyles.  She wants to much more but as a woman is denied.  When she meets Nelly Bly, her idol gives her advice that she does not appreciate fully until the end of the book.  For it is during this adventure so much that seemed confused becomes crystal clear.
While coming to these powerful self realizations, she must try to discover who killed the debutante at her Coming Out party.  Her end is quite electric= literally.  There are plenty of suspects but hardly any of them seems to fit the bill except one particularly nasty piece of work.  Could it be that simple?  Snidely Whiplash has nothing on this guy.  Is he responsible for the death as well as a tenement disaster in NYC?
While the resolution is not completely a surprise, the book offers enough dead ends and blind spots the reader can enjoy the final twists.
I rather enjoyed as well how the book ended.  I am excited to see where certain story lines go.  I give four purrs and two paws up.
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Newport, Rhode Island  -  1898

Emma Cross has just returned to Newport by train after spending the last year in New York reporting for the New York Herald.  Riding with her is the famous journalist, Nellie Bly, and they are discussing marriage.  Nellie tells her that she must find a man she can trust, make her laugh, and who is very wealthy.  Emma has known some nice men, but as yet, not one she wants to marry.

Currently, she is on assignment from the New York Herald and is also investigating Silas Griggson, who owns a construction company.  A building built by his company recently collapsed killing and injuring people, but he appears to be blameless.

Emma has been a reporter for the local Newport newspaper for years, but has only been relegated to report on the social scene.  She is a cousin to the Vanderbilt family but does not share in their money.  She has come to Newport to report on a ball at Ochre Court hosted by Mrs. Goelet in honor of Miss Cleo Cooper-Smith’s come-out.

Emma’s home is Gull Court which she shares with her old nanny and some other young women whom she has taken in when they needed help.  She has now decided to stay in Newport and not return to New York.  Even though she enjoyed working for the Herald, she found that the editor only wanted her to report on the society events due to her social connections.

At the ball, Mrs. Goelet has decorated Ochre Court quite elaborately.  She meets Cleo who appears to be a rather spoiled person.  When she meets Cleo’s sister, Ilsa, she finds a lovely and kind young woman.  Sadly, Ilsa has an extreme curvature of the spine which limits some movement for her.  Also attending the ball is Silas Griggson who appears to be enamored by Cleo, but she does not return his affection.  At the climax of the ball, an electrical accident occurs killing Cleo and frightening everyone.

As always, our sleuth, Emma Cross, decides to try and find the killer.  Along the way, she meets some questionable people and even encounters some threats against her.  Who killed Cleo and will they strike again?

I think my favorite book of this series is “Murder at Chateau sur Mer” because there weren’t a lot of characters and the story centered itself in and around the Chateau.  I have read all of the other books in this series and I have to say “Murder at Ochre Court” is my least favorite.  It’s because there are so many, many characters and the story line branches out into too many places making it difficult for the reader to keep up with who is who.  I have enjoyed the character of Emma in the past, but in this book, she comes across as a hardened spinster-wanna-be.  I’m wondering if it’s time to wrap up this series and start another, because the author is certainly very talented and I would like to see her write something new.  I enjoy her “A Lady and Lady’s Maid” mystery series and look forward to reading more of those books. 

Copy provided by NetGalley in exchange for a fair and honest review.
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This is my favorite book by Alyssa so far!!  I loved every page!!  I'm a huge historical fiction fan and the way she weaves in history throughout her books is just magical!!
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Set in 1898 Miss Emma Cross is back in Newport to cover the coming out ball of Miss Cleo Cooper-Smith, which is to be the social event of the season at Ochre Court. But a murderer stalks the ballroom. So now Emma investigates a murder partly to ensure that close friend Dale Hanson is not accused.
An interesting and enjoyable well-written mystery with likeable characters. This can be read easily as a standalone story.
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With six books in this series, I have never been disappointed. I have read them in order but it would be possible to read this one as a stand alone. However, to get the most out of Emma's personal story, start at the beginning. By now, Emma, a third or is it fourth cousin of the Vanderbilt family (she isn't sure which it is) and not one of the rich members of the family, has come back to Newport to cover the coming out ball for Cleo Cooper-Smith. For the past year Emma has been writing society articles for a New York paper and she only wants to write serious pieces as an investigative reporter. She is at the right place at the right time to witness the electrocution of Cleo as she sits on a throne made for the event, complete with special lighting. At this point in time there was friction between gas and the new fangled electricity. Could that be a motive for murder? As Emma sets about to find the killer, she continues to wrestle with her feelings for two men - which one will be want to spend the rest of her life with?
I love historical mysteries, especially ones as detailed as this series. The settings, the descriptions of the lavish Newport cottages and the people who inhabit that world are wonderful. But it isn't just their world that is seen, the world of the less fortunate is on display as well. In creating the character of Emma, both worlds are experienced by the reader. I have no doubt that I will enjoy the next in the series as well.
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Emma's not only a poor relation, she's also struggling to be taken seriously as a journalist in late 19th century Newport.  What a wonderful setting for a historical cozy!  Maxwell has managed to capture a time and place which continues to captivate. There are rituals, like the coming out party, which are so passe and yet were incredibly important at the time.  Cleo, the debutante in this tale, is electrocuted.  Wow.  Who did it and why?  Emma pokes and pokes and well,  she will untangle things.  Thanks to Netgalley for the ARC.  I've only read one of the previous books but because the story is, once again, pretty well contained, I don't think I missed anything.  As before, I'm definitely looking for. more in this series.  For fans of historical mysteries with a neat female protagonist.
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This was a fun read although the constant "I'm not going to get married because I want to do something important" refrain but then spending so much time trying to figure out which man of the two who have shown an interest in her does get repetitive. However, I did enjoy the mystery and how Emma and Jessie solve it was interesting. Plenty of characters, suspects and a good backdrop of Newport in the Gilded age. 

I received an eARC from Kensington via NetGalley for an honest review. - A good series and will go back and read the others.
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This is the first book I have read in this series, and I plan to go back and read the other books. I really like Victorian mysteries. In this installment, Emma Cross (who is a society columnist) returns to Newport High Society to cover the coming out ball of Cleo Cooper-Smith. During her presentation, all of the lights go out. When the guests can see again, they discover Cleo has been electrocuted. There are many possible suspects so Emma has her work cut out for her. With some help from her friends, Emma investigates and figures out who committed this terrible crime. I like mysteries written during the Guilded Age and I would recommend this series!
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I want first excited to read about the Newport gilded age, and Ochre Court in particular.  Miss Emma Cross is a reporter and part time detective, who is called upon to solve the murder of debutante Cleo Cooper-Smith.  The turn of century Newport setting, and mentions of Vanderbilt and Astor relatives are mentioned throughout the book.  However, I found the book to be rather draggy and slow.
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