America’s Middle Class, Listen Up

The litany of complaints of the squeezed middle class is familiar.

Three million jobs gone overseas this decade. People working all their lives on the promise of pensions they don’t get. Declining availability of health care. Parents believing, for the first time in U.S. history, that their children will not do as well as they did.

“Everyone knows that recitation,” said Philip Dine.

Through the Lens of Louisa Gould

WOODEN BOATS OF MARTHA’S VINEYARD: The Photography of Louisa Gould. Text and photographs by Louisa Gould. Flat Hammock Press, 2008. 64 pages. $19.95, softcover.

Detective Duo Strikes Vineyard In Last of Craig/Tapply Trilogy

THIRD STRIKE: A Brady Coyne/J.W. Jackson Mystery. By Philip R. Craig and William G. Tapply. Scribner, New York, N.Y. December 2007. 323 pages. $24 in hardcover.

True Crime Story Unearths Clues to Murder

MYSTERY ON THE VINEYARD: Politics, Passion and Scandal on East Chop. The History Press, Charleston S.C. 2008. 160 pages. $19.99 softcover.

Whodunnit? Philip Craig, in Last Book

VINEYARD CHILL. By Philip R. Craig. Scribner. New York, N.Y. 2008. 256 pages. $24, hardcover.

A popular young Island barmaid has gone missing. An old buddy turns up who invariably brings trouble like a perverse hostess gift. It’s winter on Martha’s Vineyard and all’s well with J.W. Jackson, wife Zee, and their two small children — if you overlook a murder or two, and a couple of thugs rolling off the ferry in a yellow Mercedes convertible in search of ill-gotten loot.

Book Notes for Smaller Readers to Plug Into, Cuddle Up With

WIRED. By Anastasia Suen, illustrated by Paul Carrick. Charlesbridge, $6.95. This book, now out in paperback, is an excellent insight into how electricity works, particularly as it pertains to the energy dancing beneath our fingertips as they tap along a computer keyboard, and as it flows or, just as importantly, pauses, at the outlet under our desk. Ostensibly Wired is a learning tool for the elementary school student, but anyone of any age could benefit from it, for who among us outside of M.I.T.

Find Simple Pleasures, Perfectly Formed

MARTHA’S VINEYARD QUIET PLEASURES. By Phyllis Meras with photographs by Betsy Corsiglia. Globe-Pequot Press, Guilford, Conn. 96 pages, $16.95 hardcover.

Read Easy: In the Sea, at the Beach House


Vineyard artist and writer Margot Datz posits a universe where men, taking a page from Darwin, descended as apes from the trees, whereas women “rose up from the frothy sea, as resplendent as Aphrodite on her scalloped chariot.” But the mating call is more persistent than the tug of a thick rope, so we mermaids have “abandoned our psychic habitat to seek mates on shore, and we have been like fish out of water ever since.” Ain’t that the truth?

Plot Twist: Australian Doctor Turns Out to Be Thrilling Writer

Many of today’s top writers of thrillers have spent untold hours in the actual forensics and crime fields, and Australian doctor and bestselling author Kathryn Fox is one of them. Dr. Fox will be signing her new book, Skin and Bone, in tandem with the Vineyard’s own celebrated maestro of the legal and police procedural, Linda Fairstein for her latest, Killer Heat (see right), at Edgartown Books today, July 4, at 3 p.m.

She Can Stand the Killer Heat

KILLER HEAT. By Linda Fairstein. Doubleday, 2008. 384 pages. $26 hardcover.

Killer Heat, like any good title, is a play on words. It refers to death by New York oven — the baking August temperatures that send the rich to the Hamptons or the Vineyard, and the poor to their fire escapes for a breath of nighttime air. Killer Heat is also a reference to an actual killer or killers and to the heat, slang for law, that hunts ’em down and brings ’em to justice.