cover image Death on a Vineyard Beach: A Martha's Vineyard Mystery

Death on a Vineyard Beach: A Martha's Vineyard Mystery

Philip R. Craig. Scribner Book Company, $20.5 (0pp) ISBN 978-0-684-19717-3

Craig's Martha's Vineyard mysteries chart the fishing, sleuthing, culinary and amorous adventures of retired (on disability) Boston cop, J.W. Jackson. Here, following A Case of Vineyard Poison, Jackson and Zee Madieras, whom he has long pursued, have finally married and plan to settle in peacefully in Jackson's house. But on a trip to Boston for the opera, Jackson foils an attempt to murder a retired Mafia don, Luciano Marcus, who then hires Jackson to investigate possible Vineyard suspects. Atop the list are local Wampanoag Indians, angrily battling Marcus for title to a cranberry bog that they claim was stolen from their ancestors. But Marcus family members and top aide Thomas Decker would profit from the wealthy Marcus's death. Jackson's enigmatic buddy from Vietnam, Joe Begay, has suddenly appeared on the island, married to a Wampanoag woman. When their lives seem threatened, Jackson persuades the anti-gun Madieras to learn to shoot, finding she's more of a markswoman than either would have bet. All is not work for the honeymooners, though, who make the most of the locale's opportunities to fish, clam, sail romantically and engage in affectionate repartee. There's real crime here, greed, betrayal and murder tied in a plausible puzzle, but Craig's series owes most of its charm to the Vineyard and his intelligent, likable characters. (June)