Jack in the Pulpit

Jack in the Pulpit

A Martha's Vineyard Mystery

Book - 2004
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Baker & Taylor
With Martha's Vineyard plagued by religious conflict between the outgoing minister of the local church and his successor, elderly Victoria Trumbull becomes concerned about a series of unexpected deaths, the result of anonymous packages of food being left at people's front doors, in the story of the ninety-two-year-old amateur sleuth's first case.

McMillan Palgrave
92 year old Victoria Trumbull is a realistic character whose detective skills are believable and admirable as she solves murder in Martha's Vineyard.

There's more than one reason the new West Tisbury police chief officially made 92-year old Victoria Trumbull her deputy. For one thing, Victoria knows just about everything about everyone in town, and a lot about the rest of the Martha's Vineyard year-round population as well. Not to mention their ancestors. Victoria may be afflicted with the usual aches and pains that descend on nonagenarians (she has a cutoff shoe to accommodate her bunion, and a stout stick to help her on her walks across the fields and in the woods). But she is as sharp and as sharpeyed as the proverbial tack. So it's not odd that when Victoria is the only one who notices something amiss among the gravestones of the West Tisbury cemetery, the chief listens.

Something is indeed amiss. Responding to a request by presumed relatives in the Midwest to disinter a coffin for reburying elsewhere, things go wrong from the start. The driver of the hearse coming to collect the coffin disappears during the Island ferry trip in a rainstorm. Other deaths - some of them irrefutably murder, the others suspicious - follow. And when as a last measure the coffin is found, dug up and opened, it does not contain the expected body. Insult upon injury, the coffin itself disappears.

Meanwhile, the available for rent bedroom in Victoria's house has been taken over by a woman relative of one of their neighbors and her raucous toucan, a bird as spoiled as the most bratty millionaire's heir. Victoria is graceful about her unwanted boarders; but they do interfere with the column she writes for the local newspaper and with her efforts to discover whether the strange antics of the coffin are related to the murders.

Victoria is the most realistic and the most delightful nonagenarian in mystery fiction. Her years have not blunted her intelligence and her sharp wit. We're lucky that she's still around and seems to be set for a long time.

Blackwell North Amer
Chief Casey O'Neill has been trying to win acceptance in her new job. She is an off-islander - and a woman! What's more, she no sooner starts work than a church sexton dies suddenly from what is believed natural causes. But soon other elderly citizens begin to die unexpectedly, and it becomes apparent that there is a serial killer abroad in West Tisbury.
Casey has had plenty of experience with homicide in the big city she came from. But only on an island like the Vineyard could she have found a serial killer who does his dirty work using a town custom of sharing an occasional special dish with one's neighbors. If no one is home to receive it, it's left on the kitchen table. Then along comes Victoria, with her total knowledge of the townspeople, their families, and their feuds, who realizes food gifts are the source of the murders.
At the same time, the usual tranquility of West Tisbury is roiled by a most unusual feud between the newly retired minister of the local Congregational church and his successor. (The older man's given name is John, and he is unsurprisingly called "Jack." His successor's last name is Jackson, and he is called... you guessed it!) And while men of God are supposed to bring harmony to their flock, these two pastors have managed to divide the town into factions. Which makes Victoria wonder if there's a connection between the feud and the murders.

& Taylor

With Martha's Vineyard plagued by religious conflict between the outgoing minister of the local church and his successor, elderly Victoria Trumbull becomes concerned about a series of unexpected deaths.

Publisher: New York : Thomas Dunne Books/St. Martin's Minotaur, 2004
Edition: 1st ed
ISBN: 9780312330118
Branch Call Number: M RIGGS
Characteristics: 211 p


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Jan 20, 2011

A Martha's Vineyard mystery. Plenty of action.


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