Saturday, February 12, 2011


I wanted to like The Cemetery Yew: A Martha's Vineyard Mystery more than I did.

The characters were fetching, a dated word which I think describes them perfectly. 

Victoria Trumbull, the 92-year-old constable's deputy (only in a small town!), spends her time having tea and solving murders.  She is rambunctious, an enjoyable character.  And she is smart.  She pulls one special deception which, until she did it, I would never have suspected of her.

The setting of this book, Martha's Vineyard, was both humorous and seemingly true to life.  At one point, the author Cynthia Riggs describes a meeting of the Board of Selectmen. The selectmen were like so many who serve on small town boards I've watched over the years.  I thought the meeting was a hoot.

But I found the plot of this book a stretch, to put it mildly.  It all started when the cemetery sexton tried to dig up a coffin in the local graveyard and couldn't find it.  Supposedly the person buried there is to be moved and reburied in another state. That leads to a story of what might have been hidden in the coffin, and that leads to several murders.

People are not what they appear to be.  Several of them have connections to the U.S. State Department/CIA. The crime they are trying to carry off comes out of their service there.

All of it is quite fantastic. 

The story has the requisite murders.  It is smoothly and calmly written.  In fact, the writing style was one of joys of the book for me.

The book ends with a neat literary twist.

As I understand it, this is something like the third book in this series.  I liked the book (and especially the character of Victoria Trumbull) enough that, somewhere along the way, I will probably try another one.

I listened to this as an audiobook checked out from the local library over the Internet.

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