A visit from European royalty has all Newport society atwitter—except for the corpses.
In 1898, Emma Cross occupies a strange spot in Newport as a native, a Vanderbilt relative, and an investigative reporter. She runs the Newport Messenger for its owner, Derrick Andrews. During a beach excursion, Emma falls into a faint on seeing a dead man she thinks is her beloved half brother, Brady. Awakening, she realizes that he’s a much older man who bears a striking resemblance to her half brother. Could he be Brady’s father, thought to have died many years ago? Emma, who’s helped Detective Jesse Whyte solve many crimes (Murder at Ochre Court, 2018, etc.), is naturally interested in this mystery. But first she must attend the last big party of the season when her society reporter is stranded by a carriage mishap. The party, hosted by Mr. and Mrs. Fish at their "cottage," Crossways, promises the star attraction of Prince Otto of Austria as a guest. When Otto does not show, the outspoken Mamie Fish has him replaced by an adorable chimpanzee. It’s no laughing matter, however, when Otto’s body is found stabbed in the garden. Despite Emma’s demands at the newspaper, she turns again to sleuthing with the unwanted help of Mamie Fish, who also aims to find the killer and is enjoying her new life as a detective. Between them, Emma and Mamie know almost everyone in town. The news that Otto may have been involved in drugs and certainly toyed with the emotions of several young society ladies just increases the number of suspects. After Katherine Pendleton, one of Otto’s love interests, is murdered in the same way, Emma and Mamie continue to probe, putting themselves in danger from a killer determined to remain in the shadows.
Another tricky mystery set against the backdrop of some great real-life mansions, some of which remain open to anyone who wishes to visit.