Instead of going gently into that good night, 92-year-old Victoria Trumbull, accompanied by her granddaughter Elizabeth, is finding another corpse.
Jube Burkhardt, a Martha’s Vineyard native, appears to have fallen from a cliff. But Victoria (The Paperwhite Narcissus, 2005, etc.) is suspicious enough to ask her friend, Native-American lobbyist Dojan, to look for a murder weapon. Meanwhile, the Aquinnah tribe is fiercely debating a casino on their Vineyard property, and off-island gaming interests are jockeying for position. Tribal leader Patience VanDyke is secretly buying up land; her assistant, Peter Little, is in the pay of a group looking to establish a floating casino; and each of Jube’s two nieces thinks she could inherit land worth $18 million. When Jube’s house goes up in smoke, even more interested parties are dying to get their hands on his singed computer, repository of many secrets. One of Jube’s nieces is on the island with a biker group led by a Smith College professor who’d been offered a bribe by Jube. The other niece is staying with Victoria, although she’s frequently off on her own. After another murder, Victoria develops a shortlist of suspects and offers herself as bait in a trap to catch the killer.
Victoria’s resourcefulness is the only thing to cheer in this mundane tale.