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Vineyard Shadows : A Martha's Vineyard Mystery Hardcover – June 12, 2001

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Product Details

  • Series: Martha's Vineyard Mysteries
  • Hardcover: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Scribner (June 12, 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0684855453
  • ISBN-13: 978-0684855455
  • Product Dimensions: 8.2 x 5.6 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.6 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,251,516 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

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.

Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.

From Library Journal

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.
Copyright 2001 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Dean Redfern VINE VOICE on July 2, 2001
Format: Hardcover
Ah summer. Sunshine, lazy days and another Philip Craig novel about the charm and easy pace of Martha's Vineyard.
Retired Boston cop J. W. Jackson moved to the island of Martha's Vineyard for a lifestyle change, only to find that trouble always has a way of finding him there. A couple of Beantown mobsters show up at his home and try muscling his wife, Zee, for some information about one Tom Rimini, an apparent missing gambler who is in deep hawk with the loan sharks. The thugs get physical with Zee, so she manages to modify their behavior by grabbing her pistol and shooting. With one dead and one wounded, the mystery begins to unfold about who Tom Rimini is and why the Soprano types are looking for him on the island.
Once a cop, always a cop. J.W. Jackson's instincts lead him to a series of clues that allow him to piece together the puzzling story of Tom Rimini and his myriad of problems, including those involving the Boston crime family. All this while taking his kids out for an occasional ice-cream, and playing with his two cats, Velcro and Oliver Underfoot.
Philip Craig's books, about the adventures of J. W. Jackson and his family on Martha's Vineyard, are fun and laid back. Yeah, there is usually a mystery to solve, in between getting stuck in the traffic jams at the A&P supermarket, or the long queues at the standby auto lines at the ferry dock in Vineyard Haven. Craig has captured the nuance and magic of sleepy Martha's Vineyard while delivering a light-hearted mystery laced with humorous dialog and usually dumb bad guys. For less than the cost of a ferry ticket, and with no waiting lines, you can enjoy the essence of the island and understand why so many people, famous and otherwise, enjoy trekking to this island every year for some summer fun.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Ricky N. on February 24, 2005
Format: Mass Market Paperback
I read "Vineyard Shadows" by Philip R. Craig because one of my favorite mystery writers, William G. Tapply, had written a Brady Coyne/J. W. Jackson novel with Craig, and I wanted to get to know J. W. before I read their joint effort, "First Light". J. W., his wife Zee and their 2 children, Joshua and Diana live on Martha's Vineyard. The book opens as 2 thugs come to J. W. and Zee's house looking for Tom Rimini. When Zee tellsl them she knows of no Tom Rimini, the thugs attack her, and she shoots them, killing one and wounding the other. When J. W. returns from a clamming trip, he learns that the thugs were looking for Tom Rimini. J. W. knows that Rimini is the husband of J. W.'s ex-wife, Carla. It seems that Rimini owes gambling debts to Sonny Whelan, a Boston mob boss. When Rimini does come to J. W.'s house, J. W. agrees to hide him out at a neighbor's house more to help Carla than Rimini, whom he dislikes. There was little mystery and the plot was a bit thin for my taste. I liked the characters, but certain things about this novel annoyed me. The children who are small act like they are 10 years older than they really are, and are more polite than most children. This novel was average, and certainly not up to par with the Brady Coyne novels by William G. Tapply. At least when I read "First Light", I will know about J. W. and his family.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Fred Camfield on March 10, 2002
Format: Hardcover
While not great literature, this novel is a very readable mystery. It is recommended for a long airline flight, relaxing at the beach, or a rainy evening at home. It is mystery No. 12 in the Vineyard series. While some people prefer to read the series in order, this one can be read as a stand along book. J.W. Jackson has his past catch up with him when he becomes involved with his ex-wife (after 15 years), her second husband, and the criminals he left behind in Boston.
J.W. is retired on disability from the Boston P.D. after being shot while on duty. He lives on Martha's Vineyard with his wife, Zee, their two young children, and two cats (but no dog in spite of his children's pleas). His preference for retirement is fishing, claming, occasional boating, and socializing with family and friends. His quiet life is disrupted by intruders from the mainland, in this case his ex-wife's husband and the hard cases looking for him for reasons not entirely clear (the man is not overly truthful about circumstances).
Yuppies spending themselves into debt, gambling, drugs, two timing men and women, criminal elements, and J.W.'s old Boston friends all figure into the plot. Two thugs make a bad mistake (fatal for one) when they try to rough up Zee. Zee then gets irked when J.W. tries to help his ex-wife by pulling her husband out of the hole he dug himself into. The plot, as they say, thickens. It takes a major effort by J.W. to restore things to a peaceful retirement. His children acquire some goldfish, but no dog, at least not yet.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Kevin Tipple VINE VOICE on January 10, 2005
Format: Mass Market Paperback
This installment of the J. W. Jackson and family adventure continues the slow degradation of this series and provides another disappointing read. The plot is weak, the action limited, and the toddler age children talk like adults. The whole combination makes for a disjointed novel that is not at all close to an average read.

Years ago (and many novels ago) J. W. was a cop on the mean streets of Boston. He was shot in the stomach and the bullet nestled itself against his spine a hairs breath away from permanent paralysis. During the gun battle, he managed to shoot and kill the female thief that had shot him. The resulting trauma of the shooting, caused him to take his pension and disability benefits and move to the tranquility of Martha's Vineyard. There he was able to find peace and solitude as a year around resident. He eventually met and married Zee, a nurse at the local hospital. By the time this novel opens, they have two toddler age children, Joshua and Diana who do not act or talk like real children in any sense of reality.

As this novel opens, J. W. and Joshua went off clamming while Zee got ready to take the younger child, Diana, to the local gun club so that Zee could practice her shooting. As a healer, she is conflicted about the competitive target shooting, but has slowly discovered that she likes it and is quite good at it. Those skills come in quite handy when strangers appear at the house. After asking repeatedly for someone Zee does not know, violence erupts. To save her child's life as well as her own, Zee kills one assailant and seriously wounds the other.

J. W. comes home to find his injured wife and daughter being loaded into an ambulance in a front yard full of police and chaos.
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