Emma Cross, although a relation of the Vanderbilts, is not wealthy. She lives in Gull Manor in Newport because she inherited it from her Aunt Sadie. Emma is the society editor for the local Newport newspaper and uses her modest fortune to help those in trouble.
In the summer of 1897, she is unsure about her romantic life. Last summer she turned down a marriage proposal from Derrick Andrews, but wonders if she did the right thing. Jesse Whyte, a detective she grew up with, is also interested in her, but she sees Jesse as her partner in solving crimes.
When a baby is left on her doorstop, the summer focuses on finding the mother of the baby. There's something mysterious and dangerous about it, because the man who most probably left the baby there was murdered on the way out of town. A lethal accident in a yacht race increases the tension, and Emma finds herself in midst of a society dilemma.
The best part of this book is the realistic description of the members of the Gilded Age like the Astors and the Vanderbilts and their magnificent summer “cottages.” The author weaves the plot around real events which gives a good view of how the upper class families lived.
Emma, in trying to solve the mystery, rushes headlong into situations that put her in danger requiring rescue, usually by Jesse. Although she seems a bit silly, she also seems to be a realistic product of her time.
I enjoyed the book and recommend it if you like historical mysteries with a dollop of romance.
I reviewed this book for Net Galley.