Featured favorites: Thriller and mystery
Martha's Vineyard Times File Photo
Recommended by Book Den East, with a Vineyard twist
"Jack in the Pulpit" by Cynthia Riggs (2004) – The book is set in West Tisbury and features two feuding persons, a series of murders, and a brilliant 92-year-old detective named Victoria. ($20)
"Champagne Kisses Cyanide Dreams" by Ralph Graves (2001) – This looks with a jaundiced eye at certain elements of Vineyard society who start dropping in their tracks with the odor of bitter almonds about their lips. ($20)
"The Gay Head Conspiracy" by Carlos Baker (1973) – Baker's book begins with the twilight thump of a body fallen from the clifftop, sadly missing its head, which involves Tom, the artist, in a series of unexpected adventures at the west end of the Island. ($25)
"Murder at a Vineyard Mansion" by Philip R. Craig (2004) – This book also features a murder victim thrown over a cliff, this time on Chappaquiddick, and provides detective work for Craig's favorite character, fisherman and cook J.W. Jackson. $40
"Second Sight" by William G. Tapply and Philip R. Craig (2005) – Features two familiar characters, J.W. Jackson and Brady Coyne, who join forces to solve and prevent crimes on the Vineyard. $20
Recommended by Bunch of Grapes
"The Good Nurse: A True Story of Medicine, Madness, and Murder" by Charles Graeber – Charles Cullen had a hand in the murder of as many as 300 hospital patients. A nurse in several hospitals, he killed some of the most vulnerable of patients on what appears to be a whim. Under heavy suspicion, he manages to move from hospital to hospital. As Janet Maslin of The New York Times said, "The eagerness of hospital administrators to cover up his misdeeds is revelatory. And the police investigation that brought him down is a thriller in every sense of that word."
"Rifleman" by Howie Carr – Stevie "The Rifleman" Flemmi was the partner of the notorious gangster Whitey Bulger. Upon capture Flemmi was convicted of 10 murders and pleaded the Fifth to 10 more. This is the story of his 40 years of extortion, murder, and assaults.
"Midnight in Peking" by Paul French – Pamela Werner, a beautiful young British woman, fails to return to her home in Peking after an evening with her friends in 1937. They later find her badly mutilated body. Two investigators, one Chinese and one British, are brought in to solve the crime. Caught up the graft-ridden times, they find leads but few solutions and the case went cold. French has solved this case with the exact information that Pamela's father kept in his search for her.
"Whitey: The Life of America's Most Notorious Mob Boss" by Dick Lehr & Gerard O'Neill – For 16 years, the notorious Boston gangster James "Whitey" Bulger was on the run, often depicted as the mythic Robin Hood of South Boston. Boston Globe writer Lehr reveals him as a person with little or no regard for anyone but himself. Using previously sealed files and classified material, he "deconstructs Bulger's insatiable hunger for power and control," revealing a life of true evil. Bulger was caught in 2011.
"Anne Perry: The Murder of the Century" by Peter Graham – Prolific mystery writer Anne Perry was born Juliet Hulme. In June of 1954, teenager Juliet and her friend Pauline, went for a walk with Pauline's mother in a New Zealand park. When the girls returned after a short time without the mother, they claimed that she had had an accident. Upon investigation, she was discovered bludgeoned to death in a pool of blood with a bloody brick nearby. The girls were immediately arrested and confessed. An extremely fascinating case.