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Jack in the Pulpit
by Cynthia Riggs
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Jack in the Pulpit by Cynthia Riggs
Jack in the Pulpit
by Cynthia Riggs

Cynthia Riggs has no problem making readers believe that her feisty protagonist can be almost indispensable to the new police chief. The years just seem to have sharpened ninety-two-year-old Victoria Trumbull's mind, and she's got an encyclopedic knowledge of her fellow West Tisbury residents and their forebears. But most readers do wonder how the old lady came to be made the chief's official deputy. So author Cynthia Riggs obliges with this book.

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 is left on the kitchen table. Then along comes Victoria, with her total knowledge of the townspeople, their families, and their feuds, who realizes the food gifts are the source of the murders.

At the same time, the usual tranquillity 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.

Victoria is able to come up with the perfect "ambush" to trap the killer. And she is rewarded with a dream come true: She is handed a badge, a baseball cap marked "Deputy," and sworn in as official deputy to the chief of police, who knows a good thing when she sees it. A delighted Victoria henceforth plays her new position to the hilt, even wearing her baseball cap to church, secure in the belief that whenever Casey is called out on a crime, Deputy Trumbull will be at her side.


©2018 by Cynthia Riggs