Mystery Authors You May Have Missed
Cynthia Riggs


A 13th generation Martha’s Vineyard Islander, Cynthia Riggs, 74, carries the legacy of independent Island women whose seafaring husbands left them to run the towns and farms. Her varied and unusual resume includes working as a geologist on Antarctica, writing articles for The Washington Post, Smithsonian, National Geographic, and other science journals. She managed a ferry boat company, worked as a shipyard rigger and U.S. Coast Guard, served as selectman of her town, West Tisbury, and has been active on the Arts Council and for human rights and political causes. She is the mother of five and grandmother of eleven. Currently, Riggs runs a bed and breakfast out of her 18th century home, catering to poets and writers. Her own writing career began at the age of 68, when she enrolled in the Masters of Fine Arts program at Vermont College. She now has eight mystery novels in print.

What she writes: Riggs’s Martha’s Vineyard series features 92-year old Victoria Trumbull, who, with cane and crossword puzzle in hand and cap set rakishly on head, is the police chief’s deputy. On Martha’s Vineyard no one locks their doors, meals are left for neighbors, there are football games, local theater, conflicts between developers and environmentalists, ugly divorces, feuds, and, yes, murder. Bodies wash up on shore or are found poisoned or set afire in the town dump, and a full cast of sometimes eccentric characters, young and old, adds to the complexities of the mysteries. Yet, the bold and discerning Victoria, who knows everyone across the generations, never fails to get to the bottom of things. Riggs plans to write twenty Victoria Trumbull mysteries in all, and has begun a new series set on Washington, D.C.’s waterfront, with an entirely different sort of protagonist — an ex-call girl.


List of works
Martha's Vineyard Series
  Deadly Nightshade (2001) -- CD
  The Cranefly Orchid Murders (2002) -- CD
  The Cemetery Yew (2003) -- CD
  Jack in the Pulpit (2004) -- CD
  The Paperwhite Narcissus (2005) -- CD
  Indian Pipes (2006)
  Shooting Star (2007)
  Death and Honesty (2009)
What the critics say
"Victoria's mordant wit and easy cleverness add to this vastly entertaining debut series." - Library Journal
"First-rate plotting notwithstanding, it is Riggs' wonderful cast of characters that bring her novels to life." - Booklist, Jenny McLarin
"A sensitive observer of the scene, Riggs writes with warmth and humor about all-too-human characters with whom readers can readily identify." - Publishers Weekly


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