cover image A Shoot on Martha's Vineyard: A Martha's Vineyard Mystery

A Shoot on Martha's Vineyard: A Martha's Vineyard Mystery

Philip R. Craig. Scribner Book Company, $22 (288pp) ISBN 978-0-684-83454-2

Movie-making and murder interrupt the laid-back island life of J.W. Jackson, former cop, occasional detective and new father. In his ninth outing (following A Deadly Vineyard Holiday, 1997), J.W. signs on as driver-guide for a Hollywood location scout, the tanned and toothy Drew Mondry, who likes the look of the Vineyard. He also likes the look of J.W.'s wife, Zee, enough to ask her to be an extra in the film. They're all distracted when J.W. finds state environmental officer Lawrence Ingalls murdered just one day after he and J.W. came to blows over Ingalls's closing of a local beach. Although J.W. is the prime suspect, other Vineyard residents also had grudges against the dead man: Zack Delwood once said someone would soon shoot Ingalls; Moonbeam Berube, the caretaker at Ingalls's new house, has a history of violence. To find the killer, J.W. must dig up some dirt on the victim's seemingly spotless past. In J.W.'s guide work, Craig shows off his affectionate knowledge of Martha's Vineyard, from the touristy towns to the locals' favorite fishing spots. J.W. and Zee sometimes lapse into precious dialogue, and there's way too much reporting on baby Joshua's diaper usage, but in all, the Jacksons and their neighbors are an agreeable group of summertime sleuths. (June)