Victoria Trumbull has lived most of her ninety-two years on Martha's Vineyard. The Island, its magic and its history, is part of the texture of her life. Like other Islanders, she knows the sounds of the sea in calm and stormy weather—and she knows the sounds that do not belong. One evening while Victoria waits on the dock for her granddaughter to return with the harbormaster, she hears a chilling scream followed by a splash and the sound of tires skidding on sand. She investigates and discovers a mutilated body floating on the outgoing tide.
With her granddaughter, Domingo the harbormaster, a swarm of Island characters, and a few mysterious visitors, Victoria gets in a good bit of detective work. However, she isn't able to prevent further homicide. As the tension mounts, Victoria concocts a scheme to reveal the killer, yet still has time to prepare her traditional Saturday night supper of Boston baked beans.
Meanwhile, summer visitors bask on the beach, sail Island waters, and shop in the Island stores, oblivious to the death and disorder murder has brought to the native Islanders' lives.
OTHER WRITERS SAY OF DEADLY NIGHTSHADE
“Combines the best ingredients of mystery and fine writing, great characters, and brilliant descriptions of the sounds, smells, and visuals of the magic of Martha’s Vineyard – I loved it.”
-- Nancy Slonin Aronie, NPR commentator and author of Writing from the Heart
“With Deadly Nightshade we have a wonderful and welcome debut, not only of one of the feistiest sleuths you’ll ever encounter in ninety-two-year-old Victoria Trumbull, but also of an accomplished novelist, one Cynthia Riggs, who does not fail to tell a compelling and funny and mysterious and downright joyful whodunit. May many more books follow this one!”
-- Bret Lott, author of Jewel, the Hunt Club, and others
“Like a delightful B&B, Deadly Nightshade gives the reader more than she’s bargained for. Plenty of mysterious dead bodies and suspense fill the pages but there’s also an intimate view of Martha’s Vineyard, and best of all, one meets the intrepid ninety-two-year-old poet-detective Victoria Trumbull. An unforgettable character, her intelligence, insight, courage and zest give us someone to keep in our hearts.”
-- Sena Jeter Naslund, author of Ahab’s Wife and Sherlock in Love
THE NEW YORK TIMES SAYS OF THE MARTHA’S VINEYARD MYSTERIES
"People are so nice in West Tisbury that even the villains seem less than evil - more like seriously naughty."
-- Marilyn Stasio, The Sunday New York Times Book Reviews
Feisty, fiercely independent nonagenarian poet Victoria Trumbull makes a welcome debut in Riggs's first novel. Martha's Vineyard has been home to Victoria's family for several generations, and in a near century she has learned much about life. The unique location, only a short hop by plane or ferry to the mainland, makes this island an especially attractive holiday destination. But bad things can happen even in such a paradise and are more shocking because the pleasant low-key life is no preparation for murder. Elizabeth, Victoria's recently divorced granddaughter, is currently staying with her and working for Domingo, an ex New York cop, now the Oak Bluffs harbormaster. When Victoria hears a scream across the water one balmy summer evening, she, Elizabeth and Domingo set off in the harbor launch to investigate. The floating eviscerated body they discover is only the first. From local Native Americans to the wealthiest visitors, no one is above suspicion as they dive into the complexity of the crime. Victoria's highly developed sense of right and wrong and her ethical compass steer them on a dangerous but inevitable course. Riggs enriches her characters by detailing their daily routines as they handle drugs, social justice, family problems, local politics and even computerization. The book's dedicatee, Dionis Coffin Riggs (1898 1997), native Vineyarder and poet, would seem to be the model for Victoria. Everyone should have such a terrific grandmother.
Love these mysteries
This is the fourth mystery I have read of Cynthia Riggs. She keeps me in suspense and I love her protagonist and so does my mother who is 95 years old