Perceptive Author Matches Odd Couple
Jim Kaplan

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.

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

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.

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Book: As Vineyard as Eileen’s Apple Pies
Matthew Kramer

Connie Toteanu has a special talent. From the age of seven, Miss Toteanu has been entering pies into the Martha’s Vineyard Agricultural Fair. According to the new children’s book Connie, Vineyard Pie Girl, by Chilmarker Don Davis, “Over the years she won many ribbons — some blue.”

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Recalling Chilmark Regular, Paul Moore
Phyllis Meras

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.

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Naturalist Calls Island Life Book Eye-Opening Resource
By MATT PELIKAN

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.

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Plot Twist: Australian Doctor Turns Out to Be Thrilling Writer
Holly Nadler

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.

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She Can Stand the Killer Heat
Holly Nadler

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.

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Through the Lens of Louisa Gould
Tom Dunlop

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.

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Read Easy: In the Sea, at the Beach House
Holly Nadler

A SURVIVAL GUIDE FOR LANDLOCKED MERMAIDS by Margot Datz, Beyond Words, $16.

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?

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America’s Middle Class, Listen Up
Mike Seccombe

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.

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