Beautiful Place to Die

Craig, Philip A. A Beautiful Place to Die. New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1989.

Reason read: February is the month in which Massachusetts became a state and Martha’s Vineyard is the “beautiful place to die”.

You can always tell when an author has either spent time or lived in the area where his or her book takes place. The details are sharper, the descriptions more lovingly told…if that makes sense. There is a care to the words. Philip R. Craig is no different. Because of the way he describes the island of Martha’s Vineyard early on in A Beautiful Place To Die, you can tell he calls it home.

Jefferson Washington Jackson is a retired Boston cop/Vietnam veteran living on the island of Martha’s Vineyard trying to forget about the bullet still lodged in his back. To keep himself occupied he is an avid fisherman, a successful gardener (does better with vegetables than flowers) and a decent cook. After a friend’s boat explodes and someone he knew was killed Jeff finds a new hobby as private investigator. Along with a suspicious boat explosion there are rumors of drug busts and murder. There are plenty of little twists and turns to A Beautiful Place to Die so even though it is a short (211 pages) read, it is entertaining.

Quotes I love (see confessional), “Librarians are wonderfully valuable people” (p 122), “Women are the gender of reality” (p 174), and “When I’m king of the world I’m going to ban pay toilets as an affront to civilization” (p 175).

Side note: When J.W. tells Zee how he came to live on M.V. it reminded me of Monhegan. Many islanders can’t afford to buy a place where they grew up. They rely on inheriting family property to stay on the island…

Confessional: I have a crush on Jefferson Washington Jackson. Consider the facts: he gardens, cooks, appreciates librarians, understands a Barbar kind of day, likes Sam Adams beer and a clean house, has a sense of humor, has the same opinion of pay toilets, and is able to survive getting shot twice in 48 hours! What’s not to love?

Author fact: According the to back flap, Philip Craig grew up on a small cattle ranch in Durango, Colorado. The Massachusetts island of Martha’s Vineyard is quite a departure from the wild west.

Book trivia: This is book one is the Martha’s Vineyard series.

BookLust Twist: from <em>Book Lust To Go</em> in the chapter simply called “Martha’s Vineyard” (p 142). No twist there…



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