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-Islanderand 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
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.