Vineyard Blues By Philip R. Craig
A Scribner Crime Novel It's been many years since J. W. Jackson has seen Corrie Appleyard, so J.W.'s delighted when the elderly African-American bluesman strolls unexpectedly up his driveway, guitar in hand. Corrie has come to Martha's Vineyard to play a few shows and to catch up on old times. But there's more to the Vineyard mix this summer than music, bluefish, and friendship. Someone is torching the run-down summerhouses that a reviled local slumlord rents out to college kids who flock to the island for sun, sex, and summer jobs. J.W. and Zee, busy adding a wing to their house for precocious offspring Joshua and Diana, might almost cheer for the arsonist if they didn't fear someone w
Ould get hurt. They are especially concerned for Corrie Appleyard, who opts to bunk in one of the dilapidated structures. Corrie doesn't need much in the way of amenities, and a friend's grandson has offered him hospitality. It's a bad choice. When a fire breaks out and an unidentified body is pulled from the scorched ruins, J.W. fears the worst. Corrie's precious guitar lies abandoned nearby, an ominous sign that the old man who seemed to live for his music has become the arsonist's victim. With Corrie probably dead, this is no longer a mildly amusing case of a slumlord getting his due. For J.W., the search for the arsonist has become deadly serious and personal. And there are other casualties this beautiful summer. Zee's friend, Susanna Quick, has received threatening letters from someone who knows far too much about Susanna's mysterious past, and who may use that knowledge in frightening ways. As J.W. pursues the arsonist and closes in on Susanna's feared correspondent, this masterly mystery moves toward a surprising, immensely satisfying conclusion. As always, though, it's the ensemble cast, the vibrant Martha's Vineyard ambiance, and the enticing fishing and food that will win our hearts and bring us back for more. Perfect summer reading, Vineyard Blues is proof once again that Philip R. Craig is at the top of his form. Includes three delicious Vineyard recipes!