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Murder at a Vineyard Mansion Audio CD's 6 Audio CD – 2004
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"Killers of the Flower Moon" is a twisting, haunting true-life murder mystery about one of the most monstrous crimes in American history. See more
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Editorial Reviews From Publishers Weekly Set in early June, before the hordes of vacationers descend, Craig's 15th Martha's Vineyard mystery (after 2003's A Vineyard Killing) arrives just in time for the beach. The Vineyard crime scene is a tad slow: a jail prisoner escapes after supper but usually returns before breakfast because the food is so good, thanks to a local chef doing time, while the cops aren't trying too hard to catch "the Silencer," who's been "destroying the sound systems of some of the loudest cars on the island." Then the murders of a security man at a Chappaquiddick "castle" (depicted on the jacket and nicely portending disaster) and the scion of an aristocratic landowner raise the ante. Retired Boston policeman J.W. Jackson sets aside such favorite pastimes as fishing and cooking to investigate several old island families, interbred and linked in the most unpleasant ways, all with ample motives and opportunities for the killings. As ever, Craig depicts the island's residents with humor and affection. J.W. takes his usual pot shots at the author's pet peeves (like drivers who "have their windows down and the volume turned as high as it will go"), but faces a loaded shotgun with aplomb in the near-fatal finale.
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Top Customer Reviews
J.W. is dumbfounded when Maud Mayhew comes calling asking him to prove her son innocent of killing Ollie Mattes, but then the son ends up murdered in the family driveway. J.W. can turn away from a good mystery, especially where everyone is kins (maybe too close) to everyone else.
Many secrets lie buried around the homes of the upper crust and they will go to any means to protect those secrets.
A fun read for the beach and any other time.
Nash Black, author of QUALIFYING LAPS.
The plot in this book is really a soap opera featuring the old families of the island and their interbreeding. J.W. asks a lot of personal questions and digs into stuff that isn't his business, which is surprising since he wouldn't allow anyone to do that to him, being the libertarian he is.
In this book Craig once again gets a lot wrong about how to portray child characters. The most flagrant mistake being the idea that a kindergartener and second grader "need" a computer to do their "homework." While kids that age love computers, they are not burdened by loads of homework and a computer is not needed for what they do have.
It is a relief to read less about the magnificent Zee's body this time around, and less detail on the fishing front was good for this reader. Still, it seems like Craig, in his later books, started to slide over significant detail he used in his first books--the careful making of martinis, the smoking of the bluefish J. W. caught, J.W.'s caretaking duties, etc. Frankly, that detail was often more interesting than the "cases" J.W. got himself involved in, and I miss it.
For more mystery series that may entertain you, check out my website describing and reviewing many series (see my Amazon profile for the URL).
Perhaps because I was listening and not reading, I had a hard time telling one character from another. There was a string of ex-girlfriends of one the murder victims, but other than the one who invited our hero, the amateur detective, to have sex with her, they all blended into one person in my mind. I think the trouble was that there was very little action involving the many characters--we mostly just hear about them, through others. There were a lot of complicated relationships--ex-husbands, half-brothers, bastards, etc. etc. I needed a score card to keep them straight, and as none of them was very interesting, I didn't bother. As another reader said, this would make a poor movie...it's all talk. Once I knew whodunnit, I turned off the cassette and didn't look back. I didn't care about any of them.
Mosly what one hears (or reads) is a whole lotta talk about this character, J. W. Something, the hero/narrator/sorta-detective. We know more about him than anyone would care to....his opinions of the rich folks on the island, (bad), environmentalists (bad), cops (not so great-- he used to be one and hated it), his wife (oo-la-la), answering machines (bad), blue fish (good), microbrewed ale (yes) horses (bad), his son (adorable), his daughter (adorable), church (bad), sex (good), fishing (very good). hip-hop (bad), Beverly Sills (good) etc. It's all pretty predictable and sorta boring. I tend to think this is a lot of wish fulfillment for the author. ("I'm a manly man." the hero says, as if we hadn't already got the message.) The attempt at "romantic" scenes are hilarious or really really awful, depending on your point of view.
But I suppose that if you love Martha's Vineyard, this would be interesting, and if you love dective stories that are not very complicated or intelligent, you might like this.