Authors: Philip R. Craig
ALSO BY PHILIP R. CRAIG
(with William G. Tapply)
Murder at a Vineyard Mansion
A Vineyard Killing
(with William G. Tapply)
A Fatal Vineyard Season
A Shoot on Martha's Vineyard
A Deadly Vineyard Holiday
Death on a Vineyard Beach
A Case of Vineyard Poison
The Double Minded Men
The Woman Who Walked into the Sea
A Beautiful Place to Die
Gate of Ivory, Gate of Horn
A Martha's Vineyard Mystery
PHILIP R. CRAIG
New YorkÂ Â LondonÂ Â TorontoÂ Â Sydney
1230 Avenue of the Americas
New York, NY 10020
This book is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents
either are products of the author's imagination or are used fictitiously.
Any resemblance to actual events or locales or persons,
living or dead, is entirely coincidental.
Copyright Â© 2005 by Philip R. Craig
All rights reserved, including the right of reproduction
in whole or in part in any form.
and design are trademarks of
Macmillan Library Reference USA, Inc.,
used under license by Simon & Schuster, the publisher of this work.
For information regarding special discounts for bulk purchases,
please contact Simon & Schuster Special Sales at 1-800-456-6798
or [email protected]
Text set in Baskerville
Manufactured in the United States of America
1Â Â Â 3Â Â Â 5Â Â Â 7Â Â Â 9Â Â Â 10Â Â Â 8Â Â Â 6Â Â Â 4Â Â Â 2
Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data
Craig, Philip R. 1933â
Vineyard prey: a Martha's Vineyard mystery/by Philip R. Craig.
1. Jackson, Jeff (Fictitious character)âFiction.
2. Private investigatorsâMassachusettsâMartha's VineyardâFiction.
3. Martha's Vineyard (Mass.)âFiction.
For the founders and friends of
the Seventh Street Yacht Club:
Neil and Elaine Patt, Charlie and Eva Carlson,
Mike and Cathy Smith, Bill and Linda Searle,
Olga Church, Bill and Kathy Morgan, Bob Erlandson,
Jim and Elsie Connell, Arvin and Jean Wells,
and Tim and Ruth Cogen
O rose, thou art sick:
The invisible worm
That flies in the night,
In the howling storm,
Has found out thy bed
Of crimson joy,
And his dark secret love
Does thy life destroy.
There was a time when the tourist season on Martha's Vineyard pretty much began on the Fourth of July and ended on Labor Day. Increasingly, however, the shoulder seasons have expanded. People start coming down for weekends in April or even earlier, and the island doesn't really belong to islanders again until after New Year's, when, for two months, it's ours alone, and is very quiet.
Of the Vineyard's two shoulder seasons, the fall and winter shoulder is the busiest, what with childless couples staying to enjoy the autumn weather and off-island people returning for the annual Bass and Bluefish Derby, deer-hunting season, weddings, Columbus Day, Thanksgiving, and Christmas.
January and February, the quiet months, are perplexities to off-islanders, who often ask, “What do you
down there during the winter?” and proclaim that being penned up on an island would drive them crazy from boredom. For Vineyarders, on the other hand, being penned up on the mainland would be much worse.
The difference between the two groups is that the off-islanders need to be able to travel about on the spur of the moment, whereas Vineyarders accept the fact that they must live by ferry schedules and reservation policies. If your psychic welfare depends upon instant mobilityâgoing to the mall, the opera, the Kittery Trading Post, or whereverâyou shouldn't live on an island.
Off-islanders also err in thinking that there's nothing to do on the Vineyard during the winter. In fact, there's so much to do that you can't begin to do it all. There are community chorus rehearsals and performances and other musical activities and presentations; there are reading groups, amateur theatrics, movies, learned lectures, and high school sporting events; you can ice fish or go frostbite sailing, hunting, ice boating, dancing, or partying. If you want to, you can be out every night, sopping up culture or just having a good time. If you're bored, it's probably because you are a bore.
Zee and I and the two kids attend some of these many events but in general prefer to stay at home with each other in our old but cozy onetime hunting-camp home. Nothing pleases me more than being inside with my family, warm in front of the glass-doored living room stove while the winter wind howls outside and snow splats against the windows.
We have all the entertainment we need right here: shelves of books, a good radio, the last black-and-white TV in the world, a stereo system for our tapes and CDs, and our recently purchased computer, which is mostly used by Joshua and Diana for their schoolwork and which has temporarily put a stop to their previously consistent pleas for a dog.
I know that when the new wears off the computer, the dog request will return with more of “But all our friends have dogs, Pa,” and “We'd take care of it ourselves, Pa,” and all the other pleas and promises. But I am not about to have a dog. No dogs! We have cats: Oliver Underfoot and Velcro.
Cats are quiet and independent, but dogs are yappy and born slaves who want nothing more than to serve their masters. In fact, of course, their owners are the real slaves, constantly walking, feeding, and cleaning up after their noisy, slobbering pets. I don't approve of slaves or slavery, so we're not going to have a dog if I have anything to say about it! Whenever I preach this sermon, Zee rolls her great dark eyes and shakes her beautiful head.