A Fatal Vineyard Season

Philip R. Craig, Author Scribner Book Company $22 (224p) ISBN 978-0-684-85544-8
Instead of taking it easy now that the tourist season is over, year-round Martha's Vineyard resident and handyman J.W. Jackson, who's a retired cop, comes to the aid of a starlet in distress in this tenth in a series (A Shoot on Martha's Vineyard, etc.). After his wife and two toddlers go to the mainland, J.W. gets a call from Betsy Crandel, whose house he watches during the off-season months. Her niece and a friend, both African-American actresses, will be vacationing on the island for a few weeks. The friend, Ivy Holiday--notorious for baring her breasts at the Academy Awards in protest of ""the exploitation of women as sex objects in films""--has been receiving threatening notes from an inmate jailed for killing Ivy's roommate. Neither Ivy's attorney nor J.W. can figure out how the notes are getting past prison officials. Meanwhile, J.W. sees a more serious threat in racist, sexist Alexandro Vegas, who breaks into the Crandel house and tries to attack Ivy with a kitchen knife. Alexandro and his cunning brother Alberto, an ex-con, are running a protection racket on the island. As Hurricane Elmer takes its time deciding whether it'll turn toward the island, J.W. works on ending the Vegas brothers' hold on the area and on discovering the import of the dire notes Ivy keeps getting. Carefully plotted, the novel has a companionable, relaxed atmosphere that's laced with J.W.'s insights on everything from coastal living and fishing to fatherhood and human relationships. This is a good bet for any beach, on the Vineyard or off. (June)
Reviewed on: 05/31/1999
Release date: 06/01/1999
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