Cover image for Vineyard shadows : a Martha's Vineyard mystery
Title:
Vineyard shadows : a Martha's Vineyard mystery
Author:
Craig, Philip R., 1933-2007.
Publication Information:
New York : Scribner, 2001.
Physical Description:
253 pages : map ; 23 cm
Language:
English
ISBN:
9780684855455
Format :
Book

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X Adult Fiction Central Closed Stacks
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X Adult Fiction Mystery/Suspense
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Summary

Summary

It's just another gorgeous June day on Martha's Vineyard until J. W. Jackson and his young son, Joshua, arrive home from clamming to find an ambulance in the driveway and blood on the grass. Two intruders have invaded their house. Little Diana is safe, but wife Zee has a split lip and a bruised cheek, not to mention the psychological trauma that goes with killing one man and wounding another. It was self-defense, but it's also a haunting memory that will stay with her forever. The dead man and his accomplice weren't common burglars, that's for sure. They wanted one thing: to know the whereabouts of a man named Tom Rimini. Zee told the truth when she said she'd never heard of him. Too bad they didn't believe her. They should have asked J.W., who knows exactly who Tom Rimini is. He's the Boston schoolteacher-husband of J.W.'s ex-wife, Carla. J.W. hasn't seen Carla in fifteen years, but that's about to change: Rimini's on the run and J.W. offers his help. As one who moved to Martha's Vineyard seeking tranquillity, J.W. despises the dark shadows that threaten his beloved island. He must broker a truce among some evil foes, or his life, and the lives of those he loves, may never be the same. Rich with all the trademark charms of a Philip R. Craig Martha's Vineyard novel, including witty repartee and good food, Vineyard Shadows also gives us new insight into J.W. and Zee as they take an illuminating look at life's joys and sorrows. Both poignant and page-turning, this is summer entertainment at its best.


Reviews 3

Booklist Review

Craig's Martha's Vineyard mysteries are full of local color, and J. W., his wife, Zee, and their two small children are deeply engaging, quirky characters. The relatively quiet pattern of these cozies is utterly shattered in the first chapter of this one, as Zee and her daughter are roughed up by a couple of thugs in a terrifying scene that ends in Zee killing one of the attackers and incapacitating the other. The thugs, it turns out, were looking for the second husband of J. W.'s first wife, Carla. J. W. becomes involved in the case while struggling with a host of unruly feelings about Carla. Zee is wrestling with her own demons, trying to reconcile her view of herself as mother, nurse, and crack shot with her nightmare vision of herself as a killer. Far more emotional texture here than in past series entries, but there is still the endearing patter of small children and the offhand succor that residents of small communities offer each other. --GraceAnne A. DeCandido


Publisher's Weekly Review

Mundane domestic activities play as big a part as duplicitous drug dealers or menacing mobsters in Craig's latest leisurely Vineyard mystery (after 2000's Vineyard Blues) featuring ex-Boston cop J.W. Jackson. When two brutes from South Boston appear at J.W.'s island home and terrorize his wife and stepdaughter, J.W. takes matters into his own hands anything to safeguard his family and keep his beloved Vineyard from infestation by Boston's criminal element. While local authorities would rather J.W. leave the investigation to them, he uses long-time contacts to try to discover who ordered the inexplicable attack. Readers might wish they could see more of this well-etched coterie, which includes a crime reporter and a former federal agent. Mostly, though, J.W. plays stay-at-home dad. He gardens and digs clams with his children, riffs repeatedly on beer, offers cooking tips (three recipes are appended), drops learned allusions (to Homer, the Bible, Shakespeare, Blake, Dickinson and Frost) and drifts into banalities about the weather, marriage and life's ups and downs, some of which would make worthy entries in the annual Bulwer-Lytton contest ("she finally let herself cry and cry, cleaning the windows of her soul"). One clue stands out like a McDonald's golden arch in the middle of colonial Edgartown, but J.W. fails to notice. He shows a similar lack of imagination and street smarts in not getting the big picture until long after it should be obvious to most readers. Now that Cynthia Riggs has entered the Vineyard mystery arena with Deadly Nightshade (Forecasts, Apr. 23), Craig may no longer be able to afford coasting on tried-and-true formula. (June 12) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved


Library Journal Review

Sleuthing ex-cop J.W. Jackson finds that wife Zee has been forced to kill an intruder at their home. The dead perpetrator and cohort were actually looking for the husband of Jackson's first wife, so Jackson suffers from divided loyalties: should he help Zee through her trauma or save his first wife from impending pain? Another winner in Craig's "Martha's Vineyard" series. (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.


Excerpts

Excerpts

Chapter One I got the details by talking with the survivors, since I wasn't at the house when it happened. Instead, I was on the clam-flats in Katama with my son Joshua. When we came home, there was a cop at the head of our driveway and an ambulance was pulling out and heading toward the hospital in Oak Bluffs. I turned into something made of ice. The cop recognized my old Land Cruiser and waved us in. I drove fast down our long, sandy driveway. The yard was full of police cars and uniforms. Sergeant Tony D'Agostine met me as I stepped out of the truck. I was full of fear. "Stay here," I said to Joshua, and shut the truck's door behind me. "There's been some trouble," said Tony. "Where's Zee? Where's Diana?!" "Take it easy," said Tony, "it's all over." "Where are they?!" I pushed him aside, and went toward the house. He followed me, saying something I wasn't hearing. I saw what looked like blood on the grass. Jesus! Cops stood aside as I came through them. That was the beginning of it for me. The day had started earlier, of course, and had seemed like any other day. School was out, so the pale June people were already on the island, trying to brown up on the beaches before going back to their mainland jobs. Parking places were getting hard to find on the main streets of the Vineyard's towns, and the harbors were beginning to fill with boats. Another summer season was under way. That morning, after breakfast, Zee had had a date with Manny Fonseca down at the Rod and Gun Club, where she would practice her pistol shooting under his sharp eye in preparation for an upcoming competition. "I'm taking Diana," Zee had said. "She's been on my case for weeks. She wants to watch, and I guess this is as good a time as any." Competitive pistol shooting was an odd recreation for Nurse Zee, because she was a healer who basically disapproved of firearms; but, as she had discovered to her surprise and sometimes consternation, she was what Manny called a "natural" with a pistol. Worse yet, she had found that she enjoyed competitive shooting. These facts notwithstanding, she scorned Manny's NRA clichés about the benefits of gun possession and was ever ill at ease about having a couple firearms of her own, including the custom .45 that she used in competition. "Just remember what Shane told Marian," I told her when she got into one of her antifirearms moods. "'A gun is just a tool. It's as good or bad as the person using it.'" "It may be a tool for Shane," said Zee, "but for me it's a toy. That makes it even more stupid and immoral." "Target shooting isn't stupid or immoral," I said. "It gives you pleasure. Pleasure is good. Ask any hedonist." "Guns are dangerous. We'd be better off if no one had any!" There were times when I thought that myself, of course. But although I almost never used them, I still kept my father's 30.06 and shotguns in the gun cabinet, along with the old .38 I'd carried when I was a Boston cop. "Maybe," I said, "but people do have them. I have them. You have them. They're not going to go away. It's better to know how to use them safely and to enjoy them than to wish there weren't any." "I know. But I don't always like it." That morning I'd just said, "Well, make sure the girl child has her earplugs and glasses. I don't need a deaf daughter." "What's deaf mean, Pa?" Diana the Huntress, who spent a great deal of time looking for food, had asked. "It means you can't hear. Like when you put your fingers in your ears. Shooting is very noisy, and the noise can hurt your ears, so you always wear earplugs when you shoot. And you wear shooting glasses in case something hits you in the eye." "Oh." Diana had put her fingers in her ears, and smiled up at me. Then she had pointed and said, "Can I have that piece of toast you didn't eat?" "Sure." I had gone to the tide chart that was taped to the refrigerator. "Well, since you ladies are going shooting, I guess I will go clamming. If I leave right now, the tide will be just right down-harbor." I had looked at my growing son. "You want to come, Josh?" "Yes, Pa." Joshua liked to do what his folks did. Such a manly little chap. Just like his dad. So he and I had collected our gloves and clam baskets and driven to Katama, full of innocence, not knowing how our lives were about to be changed. Back at home, Zee packed her shooting gear into the flight bag she used to tote her stuff, washed and stacked the breakfast dishes, and, just before ten, headed out the door with Diana. As she reached her little Jeep, she heard a car coming down the driveway. She put the flight bag on the hood of the Jeep and turned, thinking it was me, coming back early for some reason. But it wasn't me. It was a black car with tinted windows. Zee didn't recognize it. The car stopped and for a while nothing else happened. Then doors opened and two men got out. They wore slacks and loose summer shirts that hung down over their belts. Dark glasses covered their eyes. One was a normal-sized man. The other one was the size of a large refrigerator. Zee stepped forward to meet them. Diana came, too, and took Zee's hand. "Can I help you, gentlemen?" "I'll bet you can," said the refrigerator. A little wind caught his shirttail and lifted it slightly, giving Zee a brief glimpse of a pistol holstered on his belt. His black glasses seemed to eat her up. "We want to see Tom Rimini," said the other man. "I'm afraid you've come to the wrong house," said Zee. "I don't know any Tom Rimini." "You Mrs. Jackson?" She nodded, feeling uneasy. "Then we're at the right house. We don't want no trouble, so you better just have him step out." Somehow both of them had gotten very close to her. She pulled Diana nearer to her. "I just told you. I don't know anyone named Tom Rimini." "That's not what we hear," said the refrigerator. He put out a huge hand and took hold of the collar of her shirt. "Don't get yourself hurt for him. It won't do no good." She jerked herself away from him and felt the shirt tear. She was both angry and frightened. "I don't know who you are, but you'd better get back in that car and get out of here right now!" "Oh, a feisty one," said the refrigerator. "I like feisty ones, Howie. Nice tits, too." He laughed. "This your little girl?" asked Howie. "Come here, dearie." He swept Diana up into his arms before Zee knew what he was doing. "Ma! Ma!" cried Diana. Zee reached for her, but the refrigerator stepped between her and Howie. "Ma! Ma!" he said, grinning and spreading his arms. Zee ducked, but he was expecting her move and caught her. "Hold it, Ma." But Zee didn't hold it. She stamped her foot on his shin and brought her knee up hard. It was as though he could read her mind. He turned slightly and the knee glanced off his thigh. Then he slapped her across the face and her ears rang. He slapped her again and she felt sickness rise up in her. She twisted in his arms and this time he let her go. She almost fell. "Give me my daughter!" "Take it easy," said Howie. "And you take it easy, too, Pat. We don't want any trouble, Mrs. Jackson. We just want Tom Rimini. We get him, we go away. Just like that." She felt so light-headed that she could hardly stand. "I tell you he isn't here. I've never heard of him." "Go look in the house, Pat," said Howie. "Keep an eye on Ma," said Pat. "She may jump you when I'm gone." "I don't think so," said Howie. He held Diana against his chest with his left hand and dipped his right hand under his shirt. The hand came out, and there was a click, and the hand was holding a knife with a long, thin blade. He laid it on Diana's cheek. "You won't jump me, will you, Mrs. Jackson?" She stepped back. "No. Please take the knife away. I'll do whatever you want, but don't hurt her." "That's good," said Howie. "Pat, go search the house." "She don't act so tough now," said Pat. He went into the house. "I hope Rimini ain't in there," said Howie. "If he is, Pat is going to be pretty pissed off at you." "He's not! You've come to the wrong house, I tell you. Please, let Diana go. Let her come to me. We won't run or fight. We'll do what you want." "You'll do what we want, anyway," said Howie. Pat came out of the house. "Nobody home." He looked at Zee. "When'll the rat be back?" "How many times do I have to tell you that he's not here? I never heard of him. You must have gotten bad information." Pat came toward her with long strides. She backed away, but he caught her arm with a huge hand. "They had a talk with his wife like I'm talking with you," said Pat. "Like this." He hit her in the belly and she fell, doubled over, unable to breathe, feeling her mouth sucking air like a fish out of water. She didn't hurt; she just couldn't move. "You don't think she'd lie, do you?" asked Pat. "You're a pretty woman," said Howie conversationally. "Pat's got an eye for a pretty woman. Now you stop lying and maybe I can talk him into looking for Rimini someplace else." She tried to speak, but could not. They watched her with detachment. Finally she could breathe. There was grass and dirt in her mouth. She was filled with fear for Diana. "I'm not lying, I swear. If I knew him, I'd tell you." Pat picked her up and tore her shirt half off her body. "Oh, I don't know," he said. "You're a tough chicken. You probably need more persuading than most." He hit her and knocked her backward against the Jeep. She struck the flight bag with one flailing arm and knocked it to the ground. She tried to stand, but the world turned gray, then black, and she fell. Far away she hear Diana cry, "Ma! Ma! Don't hit my ma! Don't hit my ma!" "Don't hit her too hard, Pat," said Howie's voice. "She can't talk if she's dead, and sometimes you don't know your own strength." The world swam back out of blackness. The flight bag was underneath her. "You and me are going to have some fun first," Pat said to her. "Then if you be polite and tell us what we want to know, you can stay pretty for your husband. Get up now." She nodded and, using her body to shield her hands, slid them into the bag. "All right," she said. "Please don't hit me again. I'll get up." She touched the familiar grip of the .45. "I'm dizzy. I just need a minute." She got the pistol in one hand and a full clip in the other. She knew she had to be very fast and very sure, because she'd only get one chance. "All right," she said. "I'm getting up now." She straightened up on her knees and turned the gun toward Pat, slapping the clip into the magazine as she did. Pat, caught off guard, was still almost too quick. As she jacked a round into the firing chamber, he leaped back and with remarkable speed whipped a hand to his belt and came up with his own pistol. She shot him three times, one, two, three. The first round took him in the belly and knocked him back as his own weapon went off. She was aware of a blow to her left ribs but paid it no heed as her second round hit him in the chest and sent his pistol flying. Her third round split his dark glasses in two and left him spread-eagled on the lawn like some profane crucified Christ. She was on her feet before he hit the ground and was walking toward huge-eyed Howie, her pistol now held in both hands. "Let go of my daughter!" But Howie had seen what had happened to Pat. He clutched Diana to his chest and put the knife to her throat as he backed toward the black car. "You try to shoot me, and the kid gets it! I ain't kidding! You put down that gun, or else!" He touched the knife tip to Diana's throat and a trickle of blood ran down from the wound. Zee shot him in the right elbow and his knife arced away. He screamed and she shot him in the knee, below Diana's thrashing legs. He screamed again and went down. Diana, agile as a monkey, rolled away and ran to her mother. "Ma! Ma!" Zee knelt and tipped up her daughter's chin. The knife wound was shallow, superficial. "Go inside and get the telephone and the first aid kit and bring them out to me." "Yes, Ma. Ma, I'm scared." Her mother put a smile on her face, and gave her a hug. "Everything is all right, now. No need to be scared anymore. Now, go bring me those things." "Yes, Ma." Diana went into the house and Zee walked over to sobbing Howie and put the muzzle of the .45 under his chin. "Don't kill me!" cried Howie. "Please don't kill me! Get me a doctor!" She took a pistol from his belt and another from an ankle, then stood up and went to Pat's body. He lay on his back with his arms outstretched and his fly unzipped. He had no backup pistol, probably because he was so big he hadn't thought he needed more than one. She collected his pistol from where it had fallen on the lawn and went to meet Diana. She dialed 911, reported shots fired and at least one man dead, then sat down on the porch steps and cleaned and dressed the cut in Diana's throat. "You're hurt, too, Ma," said Diana, pointing. There was blood on the left side of what remained of Zee's shirt and, seeing it, Zee was aware of a pain in her side. Lifting the shirt away from her body, she saw the furrow of Pat's bullet over her ribs. She pushed and probed her ribs enough to be fairly certain that none were broken, then cleaned and dressed that wound, too. Across the yard, Howie was moaning and crying. She watched him, feeling nothing for a while, but then crossed over to him as the first of the sirens came down her driveway, and began to care for him. "This was all for nothing," she told him. "I never heard of Tom Rimini." "Jesus," groaned Howie, and fainted. A half an hour later I came home. Copyright © 2001 Phillip R. Craig. All rights reserved.