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.

Page-Turner, Eye-Opener in One: Stephen Carter Maps Black Elite

PALACE COUNCIL By Stephen L. Carter. Knopf, New York, N.Y. July 2008. 528 pages. $26.95 hardcover.

There are some thrillers — The Big Sleep and The Maltese Falcon come to mind — where the plot is never going to make much sense, but for the reader to bog down on this point is to miss a jolly good ride. Stephen L. Carter’s new novel, Palace Council, is just the sort of book that keeps you turning pages — all 500-plus of them — until the clock blinks 3:28 a.m. in digital pixels and you force yourself to turn out the light.

Vineyard Verse Master D.A.W. Turns Grout to Good; Hewett Draws Laughs

Seriously, what could be a funnier title than Robert Frost’s Answering Machine? by Daniel Waters (Indian Hill Press, $15). The West Tisbury wit-man, known far and wide as D.A.W., has been posting his quatrains in The Vineyard Gazette, Yankee Magazine, and on N.P.R. When we hear his doleful voice – Disney could cast him as Eeyore in the Winnnie the Pooh cartoons — reading his own hilarious, too-true verbal apecues on the air, we pat down our desks for a pen so we can share the ditty with friends.

Like this one entitled Cricket

How Daughters See Mothers, at Start and Finish

Is there any relationship more complicated and, when it works, more rewarding, than the mother-daughter bond? Two authors with strong Vineyard ties have approached this essential kinship from both sides, from the formative years, and during the final years.

Tangled Fish Tales Echo in History

THE UNNATURAL HISTORY OF THE SEA. By Callum Roberts. Island Press/Shearwater Books, Washington, D.C. 2007. 436 pages. Hardcover, $28.

Last spring when the herring started showing up in Island coastal ponds, I got a call from a fisherman asking, “Where are the mackerel?”

Book review: Remarkable Americans

Remarkable Americans: > The Washburn Family. By Kerck Kelsey. Illustrated. Tilbury House Publishers. 402 pages. $25.95.

Since the 1950s, the Washburn name has been a familiar one in Edgartown, with the late Stanley Washburn living on South Water street in summer and C. Langhorne Washburn summering on Pease’s Point Way. This fact-filled volume tells the story of their 19th-century forebears from northern Maine.

Recalling Chilmark Regular, Paul Moore

THE BISHOP’S DAUGHTER: A Memoir. By Honor Moore. Illustrated. W.W. Norton & Co. Inc. 354 pages. $25.95 hardcover.

In the 1970s, the late Episcopal Bishop Paul Moore Jr. was a Chilmark seasonal visitor. He came to the Island after the death of his first wife, Jenny McKean, and his marriage to Brenda Hughes Eagle who had a Chilmark home. Now his eldest daughter by his first marriage has written a memoir about her own life and the life of her illustrious father.

Perceptive Author Matches Odd Couple

David Lebedoff is a Minneapolis attorney, political figure and writer known for provocative thinking. In the interest of full disclosure, he is also an old friend.

About a Boy, a Boat, and a Love of All Things Old and Wooden

SLOOP: Restoring My Family’s Wooden Sailboat, An Adventure in Old-Fashioned Values. By Daniel Robb. Simon & Schuster, New York, N.Y. 2007. 318 pages with photographs. $25.

Naturalist Calls Island Life Book Eye-Opening Resource

ISLAND LIFE: A CATALOG OF THE BIODIVERSITY ON AND AROUND MARTHA’S VINEYARD. By Allan R. Keith and Stephen A. Spongberg. Published in cooperation with the Marine Biological Laboratories, Woods Hole, Mass. 2008.