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on November 23, 2010
Book #15 . This is the first book in the series that I got my hands on, and was hooked.
J.W. Jackson, former cop and fisherman, and a part-time invesigator.
Recently the Vineyard has been plagued by a criminal that destroys the audio systems in houses that blast music during parties, as well as in vehicles. Dubbed The Silencer. Many are thrilled with the Silencer's work, but not all.
Then when a Chappaquiddick mansion is vandalized and the night watchman is thrown to his death off a nearby cliff. J.W. gets invesigating.
Some funny moments. It is a rather good mystery story. It got me to go and buy, or read the rest of the Marhs's Vineyard Series.
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If you live on Martha's Vineyard, you'll probably like this book at lot better than I did. I found the elaborate genealogy of the various characters to be a trifle (yawn) boring. J.W.'s endless trips to interview people didn't help matters much. I don't know the Vineyard's geography well enough to understand all of the points, Mr. Craig was making so that also confused matters for me.

The background is a conflict between new money and old, exemplified in this case by two sides of a family eager to put the other side down. The practical form of competition is building mansions where the natural beauty would be preferred by most people.

Anger over one new mansion leads to the windows being trashed so a security guard is hired, one who is soon found dead at the bottom of the cliff. Evidence shows that he was battered from behind first, and the search is on for a killer.

Into investigation, J.W. Jackson is drawn when an upset mother wants her son protected from suspicion of the murder. Before J.W. can get very far, the matter becomes much more complicated.

In the background, someone is doing the fans of soothing music a favor by destroying sound systems that are blasting away. J.W. thinks it's a grand idea until the police chief points out that he wouldn't feel that way if the vandal started going after those who play Beethoven.

Although he's not supposed to snoop, J.W. can't resist and he learns more than he ever wanted to about who used to sleep with whom.

As usual, J.R. Craig takes potshots at the stuck-up wealthy wannabes, the old-money patricians, visitors to the island, and environmentalists. Part of the book's charm comes in its description of life in the Jackson household after J.W. relents and agrees to buy a computer for the family.
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on June 11, 2004
It's always a pleasure to read Philip Craig's books and to take another trip to Martha's Vineyard with Craig's laid-back hero, J.W. Jackson. This time the part-time fisherman/part-time investigator is hired by one of the island's prominent citizens, Maud Mayhew, to prove that her son Harold did not kill Ollie Mattes, the security guard for a new mansion which is being built despite the protests of neighbors. Before J. W. can begin his investigation, Harold is also killed. Thus begins a trail of evidence that points to the members of some of the island's most prominent families. Old grudges are brought to light, and the in-fighting of these families is the focal point for J. W.'s investigation. On a lighter note, there is another crime occurring which is the destruction of sound equipment by a mysterious perpetrator who obviously doesn't like the musical taste of some of the Vineyard's occupants. A further story line involves J. W.'s family who lobby for a new computer which Jackson finds useful in solving the crimes. As usual, Philip Craig provides another good summer read.
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on May 26, 2004
Retired police officer J.W. Jackson lives in the Ocean Heights section of Martha Vineyard with his wife and two children. He takes on odd jobs to earn extra money including some detective work when he becomes interested in an unusual crime. The Silencer is a modern day Robin Hood, who "fixes" music systems that are playing too loud in moving vehicles or homes with the windows open. He somehow fries them.
Robin Pierson is building a castle on Chappaquiddick much to the consternation of the neighbors who feel he is destroying the picturesque area. A delinquent vandalizes the structure forcing Robin to hire security guard Ollie Mates to make sure it doesn't happen again. Someone murders Ollie and Robin's neighbor Maud Mayhew wants to hire J.W. to prove that her son Harold is not the killer. J.W. turns down the case and shortly thereafter, Harold is also murdered probably by the same person who killed Ollie. A guilty J.W. decides to investigate both deaths and crosses paths with the Silencer who he doesn't turn into the police because he sympathizes with his actions.
Good Morning America book club author writes another crime thriller that has very little blood and gore but plenty of action to keep the reader entertained. The protagonist has caught a lot of killers in his day but even he is surprised who the perpetrator is and very little shocks him. MURDER AT A VINEYARD MANSION gives the reader a glimpse of the very rich who believe their wealth could because a multitudes of crimes, both moral and criminal. Mr. Craig makes Martha's Vineyard so appealing readers will want to take a summer vacation there.
Harriet Klausner
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