Ninety-two-year-old Veronica Trumbull (Jack in the Pulpit, 2004, etc.) ignites a publishing war on Martha’s Vineyard that almost breaks the library’s copy machine. Oh, yes. She also solves several murders.
When she’s finished attending to her duties as a sheriff’s deputy, Veronica writes the West Tisbury social column for the Island Enquirer.But when publisher Colley Jameson fires her after 50 years of service, Veronica takes her skills to William Botts’s rival publication, the West Tisbury Grackle, a broadsheet he reproduces on the library photocopier. Then the mail brings Jameson a clever obituary describing his own premature death, and the dead body of controversial developer J. Ambler Fieldstone, whom Jameson’s editorials supported, turns up on the beach in two pieces. Charging exorbitant rates, Veronica deigns to help Jameson investigate the threatening obituary while feeding Botts inside information about Fieldstone’s death—journalistic tidbits that drive the Grackle’s circulation beyond the copier’s capacity. The modest Botts cringes at his success and Jameson rages. The arrival of another obituary convinces Veronica that Fieldstone’s death was no boating accident: numerous people hated him, beginning with his wife and Jameson’s wife, with whom he was having an affair. The obituaries and dead bodies keep piling up, but Veronica is equal to it all.
Fans may enjoy the geriatric gyrations. Others will dream of vacations in places less insular.