some of her favorite fan mail on this page. We'd love to hear
from you too. Send a note to email@example.com.
Beth Belgard-Crader, Richmond, VA, January 2011
I recently was introduced to your work by someone and
have found your books delightful. For many years I lived
on Cape Cod (Hyannis and Barnstable) and made many trips
to the Vineyard. All your descriptions of the people
and places bring my memories right back up. Today I
finished reading The Cemetery Yew and it was
great. It went a bit faster than I thought it would
but every scene was perfect. Thanks so much for your
writings and I wish you many more years of doing so.
I do have one question A real U.S. Coast Guard
Masters License for 100 tons?? Isn't that a bit unusual??
Happy New Year to you and I wish only the best for you
in the new year.
Thanks so much for your e-mail. Richmond is far from
Cape Cod. Do you get back occasionally? My book number
9, Touch-Me-Not, was published this past August,
and number 10, The Bee Balm Murders, is scheduled
for publication this April. After number 20, I plan
to retire to yet another career.
There are quite a few female boat captains around now,
still not as many as there should be. A noteworthy one
is Capt. Linda Greenlaw, a swordfishing captain who's
written at least four books, a couple of them best sellers.
I hope you keep reading my books, and thanks again.
Bruce Steinbicker, Asheville, NC, November 2010
You've come up with another winner in
Touch-Me-Not although I missed the gang on the
porch at Alley's. It's not the same without Sarah. Please
check the bottom of page 237 where you have Fran picking
up the fry again. I really think Amelia picked up the
fry. Something to keep in mind for a second printing.
Oh my gosh, you're absolutely right! And about halfway
down the page I did it again (that is, earlier). That
slipped through a whole raft of copy editors, including
my sister, who is a fiend about stuff like that. Thank
you! I'll revive the Alley's porch sitters in honor
of you. The Bee Balm Murders is already in production,
but I'm working on Poison Ivy now.
Celia Brown, September 2010
I have been immensely enjoying your books.
That is until now. I have just finished reading Touch
Me Not and am astounded that you couldn't have found
any quilters on the Vineyard Massachusetts is
a hotbed of them. To the point; there is no way a quilt
is knitted. A wall hanging may be knitted, a bedspread
may be knitted, an afghan may be knitted, an artistic
installation may be knitted but not a quilt. The definition
of a quilt is "three layers; cloth backing, batting,
and cloth top". Period. And not necessarily having to
do with beds. I noticed that you had a number of acknowledgments
in the foreword to the book. Well they certainly did
you a disservice by not recommending further definition
if none of them knew themselves of the craft. I'll look
forward to the next book and hope for better.
My apologies to you and to all quilters for having
my mathematical knitters fabricating a quilt. You're
quite right. In writing Touch-Me-Not I'd been
thinking in terms of one of the lesser definitions of
"quilt," namely, "A thick protective cover similar to
or suggestive of a quilt," which I realize is a lame
excuse, but it's the only one I can conjure up. My knitters
are knitting mathematical forms, such as Mobius strip
kelp and Klein bottle corals and attaching them to a
fabric base to suggest a coral reef to draw attention
to global warming. I realize now, a bit late, that I
should have called their work something else, but I'm
not quite sure what diorama isn't right, fabric
sculpture doen't fit, blanket sounds wrong, fabrication
is close, it's not exactly an installation. Any thoughts
Again, I apologize. Martha's Vineyard is teeming with
quilters. One of our banks has quilts hung as art, our
galleries have had amazing quilt exhibits. In fact,
at one time I was director of a small wannabe college
here on the Island, and we sponsored a Quilters' Weekend,
so I should have known better.
Thanks for writing, and I hope my egregious use of
"quilt" hasn't discouraged you from reading more of
the Victoria Trumbull books.
Michelle Nielson, September 2010
I picked up your book, Indian Pipes,
as part of my book club's quarterly book challenge.
I have to admit that I started Indian Pipes not knowing
if I would like it. I was a little thrown off by Victoria,
a 92-year-old crime solver. I was afraid it would come
off as a little unbelievable. However, I absolutely
loved this book! The story was completely believable
and I had a difficult time putting this book down. I
love the main character, feisty Victoria. She reminds
me of my grandmother back in her spunkier days. I am
thoroughly enjoying this series and cannot wait to read
more. In fact, I have The Paperwhite Narcissus
sitting on my bed stand right now. Thank you for the
Cynthia, August 2010
Touch-Me-Not, the latest book in the Martha's
Vineyard mystery series, was released yesterday, August
17th, and has Hugo's name in it as a character. You
won the bid at the SailMV auction to get his name in
the book. You also get a personalized and signed copy.
Is it in Bunch of Grapes right now? He is here and
his 2nd birthday is today!!!!
Wow! Perfect timing! Yes, it is in Bunch of Grapes,
but you get your very own copy as part of the winning
bid. I'll deliver the book to you. Tell him happy birthday!
He's a teenager in the book.
Margie Vasicek in El Reno, Oklahoma, August 2010
You are my favorite author!!!! I have
read all your books & my son is going to Barnes
& Noble today to pick up your newest book. I just had
to tell you how much I enjoy all the characters in your
books. I feel as though I know Victoria, she reminds
me of my Aunt Janey in Texas. My son Aaron ordered your
book a couple of weeks ago. He got a message it came
today. CAN'T WAIT!!!!!!!!! KEEP THEM COMING!!!!!!!!
Mary Beth Mapes, August 2010
I just discovered your books about Victoria! I am in
love! I can hardly wait to continue with the series.
Shirley Thom in Queensland, Australia, June 2010
This is just to say thank you for the
pleasure I am getting from your Martha's Vineyard series.
I live in sub tropical Queensland in Australia, so I
love to read of the New England autumn and winter, and
to learn about the plant and animal life. Victoria is
a wonderful character, and has given me hope that even
in old age life can be full of surprises and fun - if
one just keeps looking!
It's good to hear from a fan Down Under. Thanks for
My great grandmother was from Sydney. She was coming
to San Francisco for a visit, and her ship stopped in
Hawaii, then called the Sandwich Islands. My great grandfather
was captain of a ship coming from China that stopped
in Hawaii. He saw my great grandmother (who was only
16 at the time) and married her a week later. When she
arrived on Martha's Vineyard, she had mother-in-law
problems, and went on a five-year whaling voyage with
her husband. My two great aunts were born during the
voyage. So I have a strong bond with you.
How did you happen to get hold of my books so far from
I was delighted to hear from you. I have never written
to an author before, and I imagined that the best reply
I could hope for would be a computer-generated formal
What a romantic story about your greatgrandmother.
How inspiring to have such an indomitable forebear.
Will you write her story one day? I am so happy about
the connection - it makes the Pacific Ocean seem a little
I have just started to read The Paperwhite Narcissus,
and have just finished Shooting Star. I found
my first Victoria Trumbull story in the electronic resources
of our local library, so I have "Jack in the Pulpit"
on my MP3. However, I love the large-print books, especially
the gorgeous covers.
Like you, I am lucky enough to live somewhere beautiful.
The Gold Coast of southern Queensland is somewhat similar
to the southern part of Florida. We live on a lake,
but are only a couple of kilometres from the beautiful
beaches of Surfer's Paradise. Whilst I love the frangipani,
hibiscus and other tropical plants here, I am fascinated
by the beautiful, delicate flowers featured in your
books, and have been doing some follow-up reading on
them. Thank you again for opening this up to me.
Brannyh, May 2010
Haha I'm like your youngest reader! I'm a thirteen
year old guy and I don't like the normal teen books
so I randomly picked out Deadly Nightshade and
i LOVED IT!!! I just finished the Cemetery Yew and I
can see how your writing skill has grown as the series
Dawn Graham Rivera in Orlando, Florida, February 2010
Just wanted to tell you how much I enjoy
reading your books (or listening to audio versions)!
Although I'm a mere youngster of 55, I find Victoria
and absolute treat. She reminds me a quite a bit of
my grandmother Florence, with her pragmatic outlook
and sharp mind (and her idiosyncrasies). What a delight!
I look forward to each book in the series!
Les Campbell in Yarmouth, Massachusetts, February 2010
Just a note to let you know how much I am enjoying
your books. I have read Double Murder on M/V and The
Cranefly Orchid. Now I am starting Death &
Honesty. I was a MA State Trooper on M/V for five
years in the early 60's. Gay Head did not have a Police
Department, but a Constable Jessie Smalley. I do not
believe W.Tisbury had a full time PD. I know we relied
a lot on the Fischer brothers. One was Arnie and Beanie
Alley. Bill King was the Chief in Tisbury, Joe Bernard,
O.B., Huddy Worder, Esq. and John Palmeira was the Sheriff.
You were probably a teenager along with Carly Simon
& James Taylor.
My friend Marie McHugh had you autograph a book for
me at her Book Store in Osterville, which I appreciated
very much. As I think back on my M/V days in the 60's
I can't help but remember my old friend Craig Kingsbury.
You could probably write five books just on Craig and
the disputes I would have to try and settle between
Walter Manning and the Vanderhoops. Usually I was successful.
They were good people and those fresh lobster sandwiches
Walter & Helen would serve ($1.25) were the best.
So. Yarmouth is my home town and I know you're scheduled
to come over to The Cultural Center on Fri. So providing
we do not get snowed in I look forward to meeting you
How great to hear Island names from the 60s. West Tisbury's
George Manter was chief for 30 (I think) years, and
died a couple of years ago. Arnie Fischer was fire chief
for quite a long time and I guess he and Beanie Alley
did what needed to be done as far as policing in the
60s was concerned. Young Arnie continues to farm Big
Arnie's Flat Point Farm, mostly sheep. WT now has a
full-time chief, Beth Toomey, who's about to retire
after ten years, and four or five full-time police officers.
Lobster rolls at Grace Church once a week are now $12.00,
and we all think that's a bargain. Craig Kingsbury's
daughter (not Trina, the axe thrower, but the other
one) wrote a book called, "Craig Kingsbury Talkin',"
full of his earthy and pithy quotes. Beanie Alley's
two younger brothers, Jim and John, are active in WT
affairs, especially John, who was selectman for 27 years.
When I was a teenager in the mid-1940s
we used to tear down the Edgartown-West Tisbury Road
in one of the older kids' car with the lights out, watching
out for State Trooper Lennie Martin.
Marion Maxwell in Acton, Massachusetts, January 2010
I love fiesty Victoria (toe poking through
a hole in her shoe) and your descriptions of Vineyard
flora, fauna, small town politics, the sea and the old
Yankee characters as much as the mysteries. Having spent
a many a summer week at the hostel and a honeymoon at
the Daggett House, everything rings true. I can smell
the sweet fern. Thank you. I look forward to as many
more books as you can write!
Lisa Belcastro, January 2010
My grandmother, Vera LaBelle, received
her first two Victoria Trumbull books (in the picture)
on her 92nd birthday. She turned 92 on October 4. Now
she's hooked and is reading three more books. Of course,
now I have to find the others in large print!!
Virginia Carroll in Columbus, Ohio, January 2010
I finished making new curtains for my room and they
turned out lovely. I also started reading Death and
Honesty, and honestly I found it to be a no-put
down book. I read 10 chapters and found myself laughing
out loud. In Ch. 7 Delilah says to Victoria that if
she can get a rooster she can grow her own baby chicks.
Victoria refrained from making any remarks as to according
to the law of averages, half of the chicks were likely
to become roosters. This struck me as so funny. Also,
in Ch. 9, Henry tells Delilah that his fling was nothing
more than him feeling his oats. Delilah's answer was
so right on that again I found myself laughing. My husband
was sitting at the computer and he turned to me and
said "I thought you were reading a mystery",
and that made me laugh even more. I just had to let
you know how much I'm enjoying your book and I'm already
wanting to know "who dun it".
Sandy Cooper, January 2010
Hi! Many years ago I stumbled upon a proof
reader's copy of one of Phil Craig's Vineyard mysteries.
As a result, I have located, bought and read all of
his books, and have "corrupted" 2 other reading
friends. Since Phil is no longer with us to continue
his wonderful series, I was feeling a need to "get
back" to the Vineyard.
My cousin called a couple of weeks ago and told me she
had "discovered" another Vineyard series she
thought I'd like. I'm recovering from major surgery
a week ago, and must admit I am hooked! Victoria is
wonderful and reminds me of my New England roots, especially
the summers I spent with my grandparents. I have finished
Deadly Nightshade, am half-way through The Cemetery
Yew, and The Cranefly Orchid Murders just
arrived in today's mail. I'll be hunting on-line for
the rest of the series tomorrow.
I have one question; something that I'm
confused about. In his books, Phil Craig referred to
Cape Pogue often, yet you call it Cape Poge in Deadly
Nightshade. Which is the correct name, or does it
go by both spellings?
I look forward to reading all of your books. It may
take me awhile to locate all of them, but I'm persistent
and will own the whole series!
An old reader, but a new fan.
Thanks for writing. Phil Craig was a good friend of
mine, a generous, kind, gentleman (although he wouldn't
have admitted to that). I miss him greatly. Phil's wife,
Shirley, and I remain good friends. Zee, of course,
is patterned after Shirley Craig.
I'm so glad you've discovered Victoria Trumbull. Please
About Cape Poge (or Cape Pogue) -- with your New England
roots, you will understand the ways of the Island. The
cape is spelled both ways, depending on what reference
one uses. A street in Vineyard Haven is identified at
one end as "Center Street" and at the other
end as "Centre Street." Here in West Tisbury,
"Scotchman's Bridge Lane" morphs into "Scotsman's
Lane" which crosses State Road and becomes "The
Panhandle" which then becomes "Music Street."
All within a quarter mile or so, and all the same road.
I don't think we've done this deliberately to confuse
tourists. It's always been that way.
Caroline Daniels, January 2010
I picked up one of your books at the Mystery
Writers get together in Dedham, MA., a few months ago.
Just wanted to say that I am enjoying reading all of
your books, just one more to go -- just started Death
and Honesty and trying to read it slowly to make
it last! I am enjoying getting to know your characters
and watching how they develop. Thanks so much for the
Barbara Miller, January 2010
Just finished The Cemetery Yew,
unfortunately the last of the books in print that I
had not read. Absolutely awesome. Please accept my congratulations
for your talent and willingness to share great stories
with those of us less creative.
Do you have a model for Victoria? Does
New England produce many seniors with her stamina and
Now I am very eager for #'s 9 and 10.
Please keep on writing!
Victoria Trumbull is patterned after my
mother, Dionis Coffin Riggs, a poet, who died when she
was almost 99. Of course, I had to make Victoria much
younger at 92. I think my mother would have been pleased
with her role as sleuth. It seems to me, seniors have
always had spunk. Certainly they have experience, an
ability to focus on things of importance, and most are
no longer afraid of speaking out, saying what they think.
Our elders are a national treasure, and I love celebrating
the life one of them.
and Joe Vitale, December 2009
I should introduce myself and say we met
twice at your book signing events in Falmouth. My wife
Pat, and I (retired dentist) enjoyed meeting you and
have not stopped reading your books. They are such a
pleasure to read and looking forward to reading more
We were going to visit your B&B this
past summer but plans changed and we had to postpone
I went to your web site and the photo
of your B&B is very interesting. Since I retired
15 years ago I have been painting in watercolor and
this past Fall I submitted a painting in the Falmouth
Art Guild Art Show. I was pleasantly surprised to win
the first prize in the watercolor category.
I do most of my painting in Florida and
what I would like to do is a watercolor painting of
your B & B and send it to you. I'll let you know
when it's finished. This will be a form of thanks for
all your good works.
Keep your typewriter working and say hello
to Victoria, Elizabeth, Casey and McCavity.
Brandon in Maine, December 2009
I'm a 64 year old reader in Maine (on
the NH border near Portsmouth), and I've thoroughly
enjoyed reading the 6 of your 8 novels that our library
owns. (I'm requesting The Cranefly Orchid Murders
and Shooting Star via Ill.) I just finished Indian
Pipes, which was suspenseful! You have just the right
blend of issues and characters to keep me reading, and
I've printed a googlemap of Martha's Vineyard, to help
me visualize where events are taking place, as I read.
I've been to Nantucket, but never to MV, but I just
recommended your books to a close friend, and we've
agreed that we'll visit MV this spring or fall, and
enjoy seeing some of the places you've written about.
(Hopefully we'll visit with our husbands, but otherwise
just the two of us.)
Neither of us are writers, so we won't qualify for
staying at your B&B, but if you'd like to recommend
another spot, we'll welcome the advice. (Carol and I
have worked for non-profits all our lives, so we aren't
"monied" - something simple is great. We have
loved camping over the years, but her husband is recovering
from cancer surgery in November and mine from heart
surgery last January, so we aren't as hardy as we used
Carol and I both got M.Ed. degrees from Lyndon State
College in VT (1982), and went to Bennington for my
undergraduate degree (social sciences, 1963), so we
have some Vermont education in common with you.
Do you ever have "meet the author" gatherings,
where we could pay for tea or take you out for lunch
or somehow enjoy meeting you? Perhaps the island bookstore
has this sort of thing?
Thank you for your intelligent and enjoyable books.
Buroke, December 2009
I've just met Victoria Trumbull and am
working my way through all of your books. I love them
and read them with a smile on my face. My favorite,
so far, is The Cranefly Orchid. Thank you for
the delightful entertainment.
I'm still puzzling over your panel comment
about Donald Westlake.
Last week, our mystery book club in Manchester-by-the-sea
discussed Richard Stark's Dirty Money.
Stark's central characters are losers
Your book's central character is a good "guy"
(apologies to Victoria)
Stark's central character (Parker) has no appeal and
seems flat, devoid of depth and feeling
Victoria is appealing and there is plenty of depth -
information about the character that creates the interest
Stark's story has no ending; it's like the end of a
chapter. It's like a puzzle piece.
Your stories have resolution.
While the Dortmunder series has a kind of humor, Stark's
series are grim to the core with no real humor (at least
While Victoria encounters many murders, she is a good
sport and there are lighter moments in the stories.
At the risk of sounding really really dumb, and knowing
that a fellow panel member happened to agree with the
Westlake choice quite independently, still -
What exactly was it or is it about Westlake's writing
that you admire?
If you are so inclined to favor me with your time to
reply, you might optionally reply as a comment on my
Nice to see you at Crimebake which I enjoyed very much!
I'm honored that the mystery book club compares my
writing with Donald Westlake's. He's one of my favorite
not-exactly-mystery writers. And, of course, I like
hearing that you think Victoria Trumbull is appealing,
has depth, and is a good sport and a good guy.
Westlake's caper books are quite different from his
Stark books, which I like, but they're not among my
Dortmunder appeals to me because I love the concept
of a failed burglar concocting yet another elaborate
scheme that, yet again, fails. For some reason, I find
that comical. I guess reading about losers makes me
feel better about my own failed ventures, and thinking
that an occasional venture of mine may succeed, unlike
Westlake has remarkable control over his writing. I'm
sure he intended his losers to seem flat, which they
are. Much like the characters in the works of Raymond
Chandler and Dashiell Hammett. His writing boils the
story down to its essence. I'd say like poetry, but
that's not exactly right. Doggerel, maybe, in its kindest
definition. Westlake's settings are sketchy, his dialogue
is a mere suggestion of the way people talk. The plot's
the thing, leaving all else to the imagination, a carefully
crafted, intricately engineered structure with cartoon
people moving through. His spare dialogue and the absurd
situations he sets up make me laugh. I'm not amused
by much of today's over-written, in-your-face humor
Seinfeld and Janet Evanovich, for instance, treat
me as if my reading comprehension is at the third grade
level. Reading Westlake I sometimes feel as though I'm
the only reader who's ever seen through and around and
beyond what he's put on paper, and believe I've discovered
new territory. I suspect that's the way his other fans
I consciously imitate some of Westlake's style, and
find myself laughing aloud as I write.
Dolan, October 2009
Thank you for the many hours of pleasure and escape
i found in your books. You are a gem.
Hoppe, October 2009
Just wanted you to know how much I have
enjoyed "Victoria's" mysteries. It is great
to reading about someone a little more mature than I
and has so much get up and go and take care of business.
She is delightful and so are all of those in her world.
I am so pleased to here that we have two more books
coming. Thank you so much for such an enjoyable read.
Hall, September 2009
Thank you, Cynthia Riggs.
I discovered your series of Vineyard murder mysteries
featurng the wonderful Victoria only recently - actually,
just a few months ago. Today, I was beginning to feel
a bit of anticipatory heartbreak due to the fact that
I was approaching the end of what I thought was the
last of the Victoria books - Indian Pipes. Checking
your website, just to learn more about you, I was flabbergasted
to learn of two or three that I haven't yet read.
So again, thank you. And please keep writing!
Akers-Jordan, July 2009
Your post on how authors deal with the passage of time
in a series reminded me that I wanted to e-mail you
to tell you how much I am enjoying your books! I love
Victoria and want to be like her when I get old. I'm
glad she's always 92 even though time is passing in
the background. That seems like a good way to deal with
a series while keeping the character around for a long
Best wishes from a fan in Michigan.
If you'd like to write to Cynthia, send
email to firstname.lastname@example.org. We post her favorites
on this page.