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Deadly Nightshade by Cynthia Riggs
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1397135,896 (3.35)19
Martha's Vineyard has been home to Victoria Trumbull for most of her ninety-two years. Its magic, history, and picture-perfect calm are part of her very being. But one evening, Victoria hears something that doesn't quite belong: a scream followed by a splash and a sound of a car speeding away. She investigates and discovers a body on the outgoing tide.… (more)



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Victoria Trumbull and her niece Elizabeth live on peaceful Martha's Vineyard--peaceful, that is, until Victoria hears a scream, investigates, and finds a body on the outgoing tide.

Victoria starts, not investigating, of course, just wandering around her island home noticing things and asking questions. Which, unfortunately, the wrong people notice. Elizabeth, who drives her aunt around, and works for the harbor master (a retired NYC cop whom some people find to be very out of place on the island), starts to have some scary experiences--being followed, nearly driven off the road, unexpected and unfamiliar visitors when she's on the late shift at the harbormaster's shack.

We get a lively picture of island life, the mix of the old residents and the new, the social changes disrupting old ways, the tourists, and a presidential vacation. The characters are interesting, individual, and compelling. I'm looking forward to reading more of this series.


I borrowed this book from the library. ( )
  LisCarey | Sep 19, 2018 |
This is the first entry in a mystery series begun by the author in her 60's. It has some storyline weaknesses and big flaws in the telling, mostly that we seldom see anything significant happening, but only hear about it second or third hand afterward. But having said that, I found it enjoyable to read, and when I woke up the morning after I finished it, I was sorry not to have the world created in the novel waiting for me to step into. The characters are well presented, and I think they will wear well. The protagonist here is a 92 year old woman whose thinking is crisp, whose New England attitude is crusty, and whose baked beans are legendary. She knows her physical limitations, but doesn't give in to all of them all the time. The series is set on Martha's Vineyard, with the main character's granddaughter working as assistant harbormaster. Riggs knows whereof she speaks, as she is descended from many generations of islanders; she has been a sailing instructor, run a ferry boat company and a B&B, and holds a U.S. Coast Guard Master's license (100 ton) as well as an MFA in creative writing. Her biography is pretty remarkable reading, itself. She was also kind enough to respond promptly to my e-mail request for a photo for her author page on LT. I like this woman, and will definitely give the next book in the series a chance. There are 11 of them so far, all with local plants featured in the titles. She has said she plans to write 20, and then retire. Slacker.

Review written June 2013 ( )
1 vote laytonwoman3rd | Jun 8, 2014 |
Really, it's more like 3.5 stars, but I couldn't bring myself to bump it up to 4.

Deadly Nightshade is a mystery set on Martha's Vineyard. The "detective"? A 92-year-old poet named Victoria Trumbull. One evening while waiting on her granddaughter, an assistant harbormaster, Victoria hears a scream followed by a splash. When her granddaughter and the harbormaster show up, Victoria has them go out on the boat to investigate and they find the body of a shady local character floating in the water. Victoria is the only witness, so she is in some danger. But she's determined to sort out this mystery.

This book was entertaining; it had some interesting, quirky characters, and I really didn't figure out the mystery on my own. What more can you really ask for? I enjoy these kinds of books, but they aren't my very-favorites, so my rating is a little biased that way. If you like Miss Marple, Aunt Dimity, or even Agatha Raisin, you'll probably like Victoria Trumbull also.

( )
  JG_IntrovertedReader | Apr 3, 2013 |
A great little mystery with wonderfully motivated and developed characters. Set on Martha's vineyard, the harbor master's assistant's grandma hears someone being murdered. Thus begins a good who-dunnit set against a faint backdrop of visiting POTUS and a island swarming with FEDS; there's an assortment of surly teenagers, a platoon of caricatures of New England fishermen, a retired NYPD cop, a mysterious computer expert, some hard-working stereotyped assertive females, a second murder and whoa - a third???

NO SPOILERS....the plot and characters were well enoughed developed that the audio got me through several hours of rigorous gardening. HOWEVER, as an audio, it has a serious flaw. The book is set in New England - not OLD ENGLAND. With Davina Porter as the narrator, you must disassociate from Martha's Vineyard because her very high class English accent really gets in the way. I really like her narrations...and listen to them whenever I see them, but her voice doesn't work for this work. It's even worse, when she uses various english accents for the dock workers. I doubt seriously if they came from Scotland, or Cornwall, etc. Truly disappointing in an otherwise acceptable book. Also posted to http://www.tutus2cents.blogspot.com ( )
  tututhefirst | Jul 15, 2009 |
I love Cynthia Riggs' Martha's Vineyard Mystery series. If you are looking for the perfect cozy to curl up with, this is it. Just a good, clean cut mystery. ( )
  sweetdissident | Mar 3, 2009 |
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When she heard the scream, Victoria Trumbull had been waiting for her granddaughter Elizabeth to return from the outer harbor, where she and the harbormaster had gone to check boats.
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