Vanderbilt relative and working newspaper reporter Emma Cross is pleased to receive a request from Edith Wharton to attend, in her reporter capacity, a house party at Rough Point, Frederick Vanderbilt’s cliffside dwelling that has been rented out for the occasion.
It is a choice gathering of prominent artists, including a Russian ballet dancer turned choreographer, an Italian cellist, a sculptor, and an opera diva. Emma becomes less pleased with the illustrious guest list when she finds her parents also in attendance, as their relationship has become strained.
But it’s a job, so Emma sets out on her challenging dual role as guest and writer. What starts out as an elite meeting of bohemians becomes much more sinister as guest start dying. The first loss appears to be a tragic accident, but as the death toll mounts, there is a rising sense of a malevolent intent at work in the group. The storm grows treacherous; the dwindling gathering finds itself nearly cut off from the outside world. It seems dangerous to stay, and yet nearly impossible to leave. Nerves become frayed, suspicions mount.
This is an engrossing story, skillfully told. Historical footnotes at the end offer additional depth. My thanks to the publisher and NetGalley for making an advance copy available for me to read and review.