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Death on a Vineyard Beach (Martha's Vineyard Mystery Series #7)

Death on a Vineyard Beach (Martha's Vineyard Mystery Series #7)

4.0 1
by Philip R. Craig

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When J.W. Jackson foils an attempt to terminate former mob boss Luciano Marcus on the steps of Boston’s Symphony Hall, it puts a definite damper on Jackson and Zee’s newlywedded bliss, especially when the mayhem follows them back home to Martha’s Vineyard. Keeping circling sharks from the kill might be more than J.W. can handle.


When J.W. Jackson foils an attempt to terminate former mob boss Luciano Marcus on the steps of Boston’s Symphony Hall, it puts a definite damper on Jackson and Zee’s newlywedded bliss, especially when the mayhem follows them back home to Martha’s Vineyard. Keeping circling sharks from the kill might be more than J.W. can handle.

Editorial Reviews

Boston Herald
Appealing ... The humanization of the gangsterfamily, the peeks behind the Vineyard facades, and thebeach environment will win those who like their read-ing to be as leisurely as a long summer's afternoon.
Dallas Morning News
Refreshing . . . An entertaining mystery with a dab of romance . . . Skillfully weaving indian lore with local interest and atmosphere . . . and Craig can mix a motivation and scramble a subplot with the best of them.
Murder & Mayhem
One of the most underrated writers inthe genre ... Craig is a consummate storyteller.
Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
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)
Library Journal
J.W. Jackson, the laid-back ex-cop who resides in Martha's Vineyard, sidetracks his own honeymoon when he saves an aging Boston gangster whose enemies include a number of Wampanoag Indians. Satisfying entertainment.
Kirkus Reviews
Yet another good-natured, lethargic chronicle of the days and nights of ex-Boston cop J.W. Jackson, this time honeymooning with gorgeous nurse Zee Madeiras (A Case of Vineyard Poison, 1995, etc.) in his Martha's Vineyard cottage. A trip to Boston to see a production of Carmen puts J.W. on the scene as, leaving the theater, someone takes a shot at rich, secretive fellow islander Luciano Marcus. J.W. saves the former gangster's life, but the shooter escapes, and once back on the island, Marcus hires J.W. to find the culprit. A rundown on Marcus produces several possibilities: someone from his distant, mob-related, lucrative past; one of the local Wampanoag Indian tribe claiming ownership of a cranberry bog that's part of Marcus's extensive island estate; a local fisherman with a grudge against Marcus's equipment-damaging trawler fleet; or a member of his family impatient for a huge legacy—such as grandson Vinnie, who's been hauled back from the mainland fleshpots to work on the Marcus land and to be spoiled by Marcus's sweet wife Angela. While exploring these ideas—leisurely—J.W. cooks up a storm; fishes, clams and sails with Zee; renews an old Vietnam comradeship; hears lots of boring philosophy from shaman Bill Vanderbeck, and encourages Zee to practice riflery and pack a gun. His slow, ruminative approach finally pays off, and life can resume its sleepy course.

A comfortable companion for a day at the beach or summer dreaming on a cold winter's night.

Product Details

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Martha's Vineyard Mystery Series , #7
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Read an Excerpt

Zee and I got married at noon on July 13, a date artfully chosen by me in the hope that since it was my birthday, one of the four dates I usually remembered—the Others being New Year's Day, Christmas, and the Fourth of July—I had a fighting chance of recollecting my anniversary in the future.

It was a beautiful Martha's Vineyard day, with a warm sun in a cloudless sky, and a gentle north wind to keep things comfortable for all of us who had abandoned our summer shorts and had dressed up for the occasion. There were people with regular cameras and video cameras moving around shooting pictures. Apparently we were going to get the whole thing on record.

We were in our friend John Skye's yard, between the farmhouse and the barn, and there were more people there than I had thought we knew. My sister and her husband were there, in from Santa Fe; the Muleto family—Zee's parents and brothers and the brothers' wives-had all come over from Fall River and New Bedford. And there were island people, friends of Zee's and friends of mine, including the chief of the Edgartown police and some other cops. It was quite a crowd.

The justice of the peace performed the ceremony, and a young liberal Catholic priest, ignoring the fact that Zee wasn't Catholic anymore and I never had been, blessed the whole affair. I had met the justice of the peace, but I'd never seen the priest before. He was the work of Maria, Zee's very religious mother, who, when unable to convince her daughter to have a church wedding, arranged a compromise and brought in the priest to make things as legit as possible in her God's eyes. Zee and I had each already had one church wedding, and thatseemed enough to Zee, since neither marriage had worked out in spite of the blessings of religion. This time she thought we'd try it without benefit of clergy.

The food and drink were laid out in abundance, and as soon as they could manage it, people filed by with handshakes and kisses and headed for the bar. I could hardly wait to join them.

I was in a rented summer tux, and was beginning to feel sweat trickle down my neck. Zee, in something swirling and pale blue, looked as though she'd stepped out of a magazine about brides. On her left ring finger she now wore my grandmother's engagement ring and a narrow band of matching gold. Once again I wondered why the wedding ring was on the inside of the engagement ring instead Of the other way around, which made more sense to me since we'd gotten engaged before we'd gotten married. I decided I'd not ask that question today.

A young woman came by. "Hi," she said to me. "I'm Maggie Vanderbeck. Congratulations I" She kissed Zee and went on her way.

Zee said: "Maggie volunteers at the hospital when she's home from college and isn't working in her sister's shop."

"One of the Gay Head Vanderbecks?"

"One of the very same."

"Congratulations," said the chief, who was the last one through the reception line. He kissed Zee and shook my hand.

"An honest woman, at last," grinned Zee. "Is it true that you're going deer hunting in Maine this fall? Word has it that you just got yourself a brand-new 30.06."

"Yeah," said the chief. "I have it zeroed in at a hundred and fifty yards. I plan on venison for Christmas dinner." He looked down at my wedding ring and then back up into my face. "The smartest thing you've done since I've known you, J. W. It's good for a man to be married. It's the way things are supposed to be."

The chief had been married over thirty years, and like most such long-married men couldn't imagine a better life. Neither could I.

From the tables came the sound of corks popping. I glanced over and saw John Skye and Manny Fonseca pouring champagne.

"Come on, you two," I said, taking Zee's hand. "I'll buy you both a drink."

The chief glanced at his watch. "One glass, then I got to get to work back downtown." He allowed himself a smile. "Crime never sleeps, you know. Not even in Edgartown."

"Well, maybe it'll doze until you get back on the beat," I said.

We went up to the tables and got glasses. Somebody dragged Zee off to join other people. Around us, the sound of voices filled the air. People seemed happy. I was happy, too.

"Got the boat ready to go?" asked my sister's husband, Mike.

"Ready to roll. You and Margarite will have our house and the cats to yourselves while we're gone, and you'll have both trucks, so you can get down the beach and back."

"How romantic," said Margarite. "A sailing honeymoon to Nantucket in your own catboat."

"It'll be romantic as long as the weather holds. If it breezes up or starts to rain while we're out on the sound, an eighteen-foot catboat won't be an amorous conveyance."

"I'M sure everything will be wonderful," said my sister, whose own romance was with Mike and the mountains and deserts of northern New Mexico. She squeezed my arm. "Your Zeolinda is about the most beautiful woman I've ever seen. You're a lucky guy!"

"I consider it skill," I said, knowing she was right. "It took time and work, but now I've got her in my clutches."

"And I've got you," said Zee, coming out of the crowd. "It's a high price to pay to finally get to go to Nantucket, but I've always wanted to see the place and this is the only way I could swing it."

Meet the Author

The late Philip R. Craig was the author of nineteen novels in the Martha's Vineyard Mystery series. A professor emeritus of English at Wheelock College in Boston, he loved the Vineyard and lived there year-round with his wife, Shirley.

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Death on a Vineyard Beach (Martha's Vineyard Mystery Series #7) 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
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