Mystery veterans Craig (A Fatal Vineyard Season, 1999, etc.) and Tapply (Muscle Memory, 1999, etc.) present their inaugural collaboration in alternating first-person narratives. The setting is Martha’s Vineyard, home of Craig’s fisherman/sleuth J.W. Jackson—and of distraught husband James Bannerman, who seeks help locating his missing wife, Katherine. Luckily, Tapply’s lawyer/sleuth Brady Coyne is driving down from Boston to hang out with J.W. and his family and to wrap up the will of wealthy, dying matriarch Sarah Fairchild. Sarah’s children Nate and Eliza (Eliza’s a former flame of Brady’s) are both self-destructive and unlucky in love; only Eliza’s handsome son Patrick seems to have his head on his shoulders. J.W. is less interested in investigating than in fishing with his wife Zee, his kids, and his old pal Brady. The less retiring Brady finds himself in the middle of a battle between developers and environmentalists, both with designs on Sarah’s estate. Assuming that Brady needs still more stimulation, Zee fixes him up with Sarah’s nurse, pretty Molly Wood. When the reliable Molly doesn’t show up for her date, Zee senses foul play. Comparing notes, Brady and J.W. find several similarities between Katherine and Molly, who are both blond, attractive, and 40-ish. Retracing the final days of the two women reveals common ground that leads to the surprising killer.
Lively banter and a narrative brimming with mischief make this maiden voyage entertaining from start to stop. But the mystery barely raises interest, even among the detectives.