Ships in the Night, the third installment of the Hallmark channel’s Martha’s Vineyard mystery movie series, is set to debut Sunday on the Hallmark Movies & Mysteries channel.

Jamie Craig, son of late Edgartown author Philip R. Craig whose book the movie is based on, said the plot centers around a murder in an art gallery while detective J.W. (Jeff) Jackson wrestles with his mysterious past.

Philip Craig published 19 books featuring the character of J.W. Jackson, an ex-Boston cop living on the Vineyard. Last January, Hallmark debuted A Beautiful Place to Die starring Jesse Metcalfe and Sarah Lind as his partner Zee Madeiras. In February, Hallmark released a second murder mystery called Riddled with Deceit. Mr. Craig said both movies received high ratings.

Trouble again on Martha's Vineyard with Jesse Metcalfe, Sarah Lind and Eric Keenleyside. — Courtesy Hallmark Channel

“Because they did so well they had the green light to keep marching on and make more,” Mr. Craig said.

This August, thousands of miles away from the Vineyard on Vancouver island in Canada, filming commenced for Ships in the Night.

Mr. Craig, who is a Navy veteran, Edgartown police officer and has a bachelor’s degree in film and television production, said the producer of A Beautiful Place to Die came to the Vineyard with a camera crew to find their footing. Now, the Hallmark crew relies on Mr. Craig for cut-scene footage and to ensure the accuracy of Island geography, terms and pronunciation.

“It’s obviously not a perfect clone but they try as hard as possible to get the set and all the locations to be as Martha’s Vineyard-y as possible,” Mr. Craig said.

For cut-scene footage, Mr. Craig works with a drone to get sweeping shots of Vineyard landscapes such as the Edgartown Lighthouse.

“That was something I insisted on. I said your Martha’s Vineyard fans are going to want to see that.”

“My contribution has been to keep the Island stuff as authentic as possible and the characters as authentic as possible,” he added. “And because I’m a police officer, the police work as authentic as possible.”

Mr. Craig said he has consulted with the producers on how a police chief would handle certain situations on the Island, sent audio recordings of how to pronounce certain towns and locations, and even helped with the character development of J.W. Jackson. In the first film JW doesn’t fish or cook but in the novels he is an avid fisherman and cook. The character has also changed from an overly-modern detective to a savvy ex-Boston cop trying to figure out his new life on the Island, he said.

“The whole team is finding their footing pretty well,” he said.

Because of the movies, Mr. Craig said sales of his father’s books are also starting to rise.

“It was a pretty good uptick. That’s where my dad would be really pleased, a new generation of people are finding the books and enjoying the movies independently.”

Ships in the Night: A Martha’s Vineyard Mystery debuts Sunday, Jan. 17 at 8 p.m. on the Hallmark Movies & Mysteries channel.