Bodies everywhere except where they belong—in a tidy plot.
Let’s see. One man turns up in the West Tisbury dump, another in a mortuary fridge, another heaved over the railing of the Martha’s Vineyard ferry. The only proper burial, of the young Norton girl who committed suicide ten years ago, turns out to be just as improper. When her coffin is exhumed for reburial in Wisconsin, she’s not in it, just hefty bags of sand. In fact, island gossip insists she never existed in the first place. Quicker than you can say “empty plot,” her coffin disappears, except for a back panel that nonagenarian sleuth Victoria Trumbull hides for safekeeping. And more skullduggery is afoot. Cancer-stricken Dahlia Atherton, a former foreign-service employee, is offered a cup of poisoned tea. Victoria averts the brewhaha, then listens while Dahlia explains her complicity in a gem-smuggling scheme and shifts blame to a double-crossing accomplice and the fence they both trusted. Two improbable plot twists later, the murders are solved, the gems have appeared and then vanished, and the Vineyard has all winter to prepare for another onslaught of tourists.
Even lovers of pesky amateur sleuths and Martha’s Vineyard lore will agree it’s past time for Victoria (The Cranefly Orchid Murders, 2002, etc.) to retire for good.