Monday, October 27, 2014

Mysterious Mondays: Martha's Vineyard Mysteries by Cynthia Riggs


Martha's Vineyard is the setting for the mystery series by author Cynthia Riggs, a resident of the island herself.  The first novel, Deadly Nightshade, introduces us to Victoria Trumbull, the 92-year-old resident poet of West Tisbury with a newly discovered talent for solving murders.  This skill is put to good use in the next novel, The Cranefly Orchid Murders, as well, and on through the rest of the series to the most recent tenth novel, The Bee Balm Murders.  Each mystery is linked in some way to the titular plant species, with the added bonus of a look at life on Martha's Vineyard from the perspective of an author who is a 13th generation Islander.

Cynthia Riggs is herself quite a remarkable character, and could certainly hold her own as a book heroine.  The daughter of an author/poet mother (upon whom the character of Victoria Trumbull is based) and school principal/printmaker father, Riggs has a degree in geology, has written for the National Geographic and the Smithsonian, worked for the American Petroleum Industry, operated charter boats, taught at the Annapolis Sailing School, ran the Chesapeake Bay Ferry Boat Company, and was a rigger at the Martha's Vineyard Shipyard.  In her late 60s Cynthia Riggs earned a MFA in creative writing from Vermont College, and promptly began her current career as a mystery writer.  Riggs has declared that she will write 20 Martha's Vineyard mysteries and then retire, but I have a feeling that this declaration is not set in stone!  Look for the 11th in the series in early 2015, entitled Poison Ivy: A Martha's Vineyard Mystery.


Perhaps the most fascinating story about this unique woman is her fairytale wedding in 2013 at the age of 81, to a man ten years her senior whom she met over 60 years earlier when the two of them worked at a marine laboratory in San Diego.  Read the article here for the amazing details, including the special mystery code which led to their reunion.

Wedding bells for the happy couple!
             

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