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on December 29, 2012
West Tisbury's civil servants are dropping like flies -- whether to murder or attempted murder -- and it will take Victoria Trumbull -- poet, sage, police deputy (with a great baseball cap to prove it!) and perennially 92 years of age -- to discover why.

The eighth of Cynthia Riggs's excellent series opens with the discovery of a corpse in the home of one of West Tisbury's three tax assessors, all of whom are in their 70s. Victoria soon discovers that the assessors and the town's tax assessor have established what they quaintly term a "setting-aside account" -- that is, a bank account where they stow the money they've been skimming from inflating property assessments for decades. Add to that the intersecting tale of the unseemly television evangelist/minister and his pretty and much younger wife, and Death and Honesty delivers a suspenseful and often humorous story. I devoured the book in less than 24 hours!

"Death and Honesty" is better than its immediate predecessor, Shooting Star (A Victoria Trumbull Mystery), which was a bit too much over the top. Sure, the authorities in "Death and Honesty" seem much more trusting of these little old ladies in Town Hall than I suspect their real-life, cynical counterparts would be. And the Reverend Henry True's wife, who goes by the name of Delilah Sampson, with her suggestive Biblical name, gold high-heel sandals, wandering eye, and ditzy nature is painted with a bit of a broad brush. But she's still a fun addition to the characters. Riggs, herself a 14th generation resident of Martha's Vineyard, provides a lovely look at the stark beauty of the island. All in all, a satisfying read.

While "Death and Honesty" doesn't rise to the level of high literature -- or even to the level of Riggs' best novels, The Cemetery Yew or Jack in the Pulpit, you won't regret the hours you spend with Victoria Trumbull and the other denizens of Martha's Vineyard.
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on April 2, 2010
If the first seven novels in this series were your cup of tea, you'll like what Victoria Trumbull brewed in her cook room with this one, too. People who live in small towns are fond of saying "but things like this never happen around here" when they hear of murder and other kinds of wrong doing. They usually react that way when the awful thing that triggered the comment just happened there in plain view. West Tisbury is just like small town USA everywhere in that regard. Thank goodness we have Victoria and Casey to keep the roads hot with the police Bronco and the bad guys and girls on the run. As usual, the catchy title is the name of a Vineyard plant or flower I never heard of.

I read every wonderful Philip Craig Vineyard mystery at least three times and now I find myself repeating that with Cynthia Riggs' excellent books. I never had the pleasure of coming into Vineyard Haven on the ferry but Riggs makes me believe I did.
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Nonagenarian Martha Vineyard deputy police officer Victoria Trumbull finds the corpse of widow Lucy Pease in the home of assessor Ellen Meadows, who is away. Victoria also finds property cards containing tax information that should never have been removed from city hall.

She makes a few inquiries and soon begins to find circumstantial evidence that the three town assessors and their clerk are pulling a scam to skim money from property tax payments by placing a "personal surcharge" on many owners. She also learns that the clerk Oliver Ashpine is planning to extort money through a usury property tax from TV star Delilah Sampson, who owns island property and has a scandalous past long buried. Two more corpses are found as Victoria with the help of Emery Meyer continues her investigation.

The latest Martha's Vineyard police procedural mystery (see SHOOTING STAR) is a strong entry that combines the solid investigative wok of ninety-two year old Victoria with a wonderful look at the islanders. Victoria is at her best as she begins to unravel a tax fraud that has led to murder. Series fans will enjoy DEATH AND HONESTY as the feisty heroine follows the clues while escorting the awed audience around Martha's Vineyard.

Harriet Klausner
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on May 17, 2009
this one, I'm sad to say, disappointed me. It felt to me as though Ms. Riggs was instructed by her editors to "tighten up" her narrative--leaving out background, back story, and "illumination" of characters and place that I enjoyed in her previous books (not that there was a lot of this in her previous books...but there was at least some detail and description of the island and its weather and flora). This book is all tight dialogue and bare plot line. It is definitely interesting and I do look forward to her next one...hoping she will give us a little more of the island, the people, and the flora next time.
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on July 27, 2013
Cynthia has done it again. You will enjoy this book if you've loved all her others. Read them all and become a permanent fan.
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Despite a warning that the plant honesty is invasive, protagonist Victoria Trumbull decides to plant some anyway. The truth eventually comes out in Cynthia Riggs' latest Martha's Vineyard mystery, Death and Honesty. At age 92, Victoria settles for nothing less than the truth. In this mystery, she finds a dead body in the home of one of the town's assessors. The assessors concocted a scheme to skim funds from taxpayers, and Victoria uncovers their fraud with dispatch. Murders and poisoning follow, and Victoria remains on top of everything, tying up all the threads by the book's end. While I guessed the murderer's identity early in the book, Riggs kept my interest throughout this entertaining novel. Victoria Trumbull is the senior citizen we all want to become: vibrant in our nineties; mental faculties intact and then some; munching on bacon for breakfast; and sloshing down a stiff drink with friends. Sit in your beach chair or porch rocker with a cold drink and enjoy reading Death and Honesty.

Rating: Three-star (Recommended)
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TOP 1000 REVIEWERon February 9, 2015
This has been a favorite of mine from Cynthia Riggs. I think that Victoria Trumbull is one of the most fascinating characters in a series that I have read in a very long time. She is in so many ways timeless. How many 90 plus year old ladies could do what she does? Cynthia Riggs makes her most believable with always a good story and mystery behind her. I love it.
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on January 21, 2015
Looking forward to reading this book. Have enjoyed the first 3 books of this series.
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on November 27, 2009
I purchased this for a friend at her request. She was disappointed with the book.
If it makes any difference, she had no problem with the time it took to purchase the book or the cost.
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on September 21, 2014
She is one of my favorite authors. This book is in great shape
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