Mystery on Martha's Vineyard

Several summers ago, our friends invited us to spend a week with them on Martha's Vineyard. They rent the Joshua Slocum house for the month of August. I have since discovered the mysteries of two of the island's writers, the late Philip R. Craig and Cynthia Riggs.

Solving the mystery is not the point of these stories. Learning the lore of the Vineyard is. I find it fun to read references to the beetlebung tree, West Tisbury, East Chop, the ferry to Chappaquiddick and all the little ponds and side roads that are so much a part of the island.

Craig writes with a touch of humor and real love of the island, the fishing, and the swarms of summer visitors that clog the roads. His main character J. W. Jackson, a retired Boston cop, now lives year around on the island and does odd jobs to support his wife and two children. He loves to fish and to cook and to sit on the balcony with drink in hand watching the ocean. Jackson's signature saying is delish (either preceded or followed by a recipe).

In one of the books, Jackson drops by Victoria Trumbull's house to check on her reaction to a case that he is investigating. Victoria Trumbull is the 92-year-old detective in the mysteries by Cynthia Riggs. Victoria is a feisty character who uses her knowledge of  the feuds and families and forebears of the residents of West Tisbury to help out the local police.

In his latest book, Third Strike, Philip Craig has teamed up with William G. Tapply, author of the Brady Coyne mysteries. Brady, a Boston lawyer, gets a call from a former client who tells him about mysterious crates loaded and unloaded at midnight on the island. Coyne and Jackson team up to crack the case of a crime with international ramifications.