THE RIDDLE OF THE GRAVEYARD. By Peter Hufstader, Hedge Fence Press, softcover, illustrated, 180 pages, $18.

This maritime adventure story, ostensibly for young people, was inspired by its author’s early sailing years in Vineyard waters some 60 years ago. His Great Whale Island, Little Whale Island and Greta Whale Sound, where the book’s harrowing events take place, are really the Vineyard, the Elizabeth islands and Vineyard Sound. There, the young twin son and daughter or the Old Town (the author’s name for Edgartown) police chief and the son and daughter of the local Coast Guard commander, eager to try out their sailing skills in dangerous waters, find themselves in greater danger from mercenary humans.

Author Peter Hufstader knows of what he writes.

Author Peter Hufstader, a longtime member of the Edgartown Yacht Club, raced Beach Boats and Rovers and Rhodes in his early sailing days. Later he became a sailing instructor, eventually was Edgartown Yacht Club commodore and raced a 30-foot Shields. Clearly, he knows his Island waters and its sailboats well, and Edgartown boat lovers of his generation should enjoy his book — perhaps even more than younger readers will.

Older readers will nostalgically remember the green grocer who had vegetable and fruit stands out in front of his store on Edgartown’s Main street, Hall’s Dry Goods Store and Manuel Swartz-Robert’s boat shop (now the Old Scuplin Gallery but 60 years ago, still filled with sawdust and summer sailboats being drydocked for the winter.) They will remember Vineyard Gazette editor and publisher Henry Beetle Hough (in the book he is called Ephraim Beetle and described as a “crusty old newspaperman”) and his wife, Betty (here she becomes “Miss Pease with a very sharp eye for diction.”). They will remember the days when Azorean names were nearly as common on the Vineyard as Anglo-Saxon names.

The Riddle of the Graveyard centers around the theft of centuries-old treasure, destined for a Boston museum, being stolen from elderly residents of Old Town and hidden in what remains of a long-ago leper colony on an island adjacent to Great Whale Island where Old Town is situated. (Penikese in the Elizabeth islands was in fact once a leper colony.) The four local children and their boats get in the way of the thieves.

The book is filled with nautical terms, and a valuable addition is a short glossary of them for the benefit of non-seagoers, or vintage seagoers no longer sailing who may have forgotten them.

The Riddle of the Graveyard is illustrated with charts of Great Whale Island waters and drawings of the youngster’s boats.

After his summer boyhood in Edgartown, the author continued his interest in the sea as a reserve officer in the U.S. Navy. He later became an English teacher in public and private New England high schools, and has homes both in Avon, Conn., and Edgartown.