THE CRANEFLY ORCHID MURDERS
In her first book, Deadly Nightshade Cynthia Riggs introduced us to one of fiction’s most delightful and most realistic amateur detectives. Victoria Trumbull is a feisty ninety-two-year-old who refuses to let the aches and pains of age stop her from enjoying her multifarious activities.
A native of the Massachusetts island called Martha’s Vineyard, whose ancestors sailed from its shores generations back, Victoria knows more about the island, its people, and its history than anyone else living. This knowledge has helped her solve one murder and earn her own baseball cap emblazoned with “West Tisbury Police Deputy” and the job that goes with it.
Phoebe Eldridge, a short-tempered woman who lives alone, has sold the family land to a developer who made an offer that seemed too good to resist. She never planned to leave it to her only relatives—a granddaughter she dislikes intensely and a son who disappeared some years ago, and whose name she won’t even mention.
The Conservation Trust enlists Victoria to search that land for an endangered plant, any endangered plant, because the state prohibits bulldozing rare-plant habitats. Victoria is delighted to add another purpose to her daily walks. With an eleven-year-old after school assistant, and with the “endangered” list in had, she begins her search.
Her first find, though, is the body of one Montgomery Mausz, the developer’s rather dubious attorney.
Victoria is also rewarded, however, by the discovery of a little nest of cranefly orchids. In the course of the botanical detection, Victoria and her assistant are treated to adventures that delight the ninety-two-year-old as much as the preteen, even though they both get ore scares than they bargained for.
This charming story will have the readers hoping that the sea air, home-baked beans, and a vital interest in what goes on around her will keep Victoria Trumbull going for a long, long time.