Thursday, April 9, 2009

Death and Honesty-Cynthia Riggs

Death and Honesty
Cynthia Riggs
St. Martin’s, Apr 28 2009, $23.95
ISBN: 9780312567057

Nonagenarian Martha Vineyard deputy police officer Victoria Trumbull finds the corpse of widow Lucy Pease in the home of assessor Ellen Meadows, who is away. Victoria also finds property cards containing tax information that should never have been removed from city hall.

She makes a few inquiries and soon begins to find circumstantial evidence that the three town assessors and their clerk are pulling a scam to skim money from property tax payments by placing a “personal surcharge” on many owners. She also learns that the clerk Oliver Ashpine is planning to extort money through a usury property tax from TV star Delilah Sampson, who owns island property and has a scandalous past long buried. Two more corpses are found as Victoria with the help of Emery Meyer continues her investigation.

The latest Martha’s Vineyard police procedural mystery (see SHOOTING STAR) is a strong entry that combines the solid investigative wok of ninety-two year old Victoria with a wonderful look at the islanders. Victoria is at her best as she begins to unravel a tax fraud that has led to murder. Series fans will enjoy DEATH AND HONESTY as the feisty heroine follows the clues while escorting the awed audience around Martha’s Vineyard.

Harriet Klausner