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Philip R. Craig books in order

Philip R. Craig was an American author of mystery and non-fiction, best remembered for writing the Martha's Vineyard Mysteries.

Born in Santa Monica and raised on a cattle ranch not far from Durango, Colorado, he attended Boston University with the hopes of becoming a minister.

However, Craig went on to teach English and Journalism at Endicott College in Beverly, Massachusetts, and later at Wheelock College in Boston, before eventually retiring in order to focus on fiction writing on a full-time basis.

His first ever book was Gate of Ivory, Gate of Horn, published in 1969.

Craig died on May 8, 2007 after a brief bout with cancer. He was 73.

More about Philip R. Craig

Genres: Mystery, Non-fiction

Born: 1933 / Died: 2007

United States

Non Series

  • Gate of Ivory, Gate of Horn (1969)

Brady Coyne / J.W. Jackson (Co-authored with William G Tapply)

  1. First Light (2001)
  2. Second Sight (2004)
  3. Third Strike (2007)

Martha's Vineyard Mysteries

  1. A Beautiful Place to Die (1989)
  2. Death in Vineyard Waters (1991)
  3. Vineyard Deceit (1992)
  4. Vineyard Fear (1993)
  5. Off Season (1994)
  6. A Case of Vineyard Poison (1995)
  7. Death on a Vineyard Beach (1996)
  8. A Deadly Vineyard Holiday (1997)
  9. A Shoot on Martha's Vineyard (1998)
  10. A Fatal Vineyard Season (1999)
  11. Vineyard Blues (2000)
  12. Vineyard Shadows (2001)
  13. Vineyard Enigma (2002)
  14. A Vineyard Killing (2003)
  15. Murder at a Vineyard Mansion (2004)
  16. Vineyard Prey (2005)
  17. Dead in Vineyard Sand (2006)
  18. Vineyard Stalker (2007)
  19. Vineyard Chill (2008)


  1. Delish! The J.W. Jackson Recipes; A Martha's Vineyard Cookbook (2006)
Brady Coyne / J.W. Jackson (Co-authored with William G Tapply)

Detailed book overview

Non Series

Gate of Ivory, Gate of Horn

A quartet of unlikely exploring adventurers set out for a little known island off the coast of Sweden. There they hope to find proof that the events described in the epic poem Beowulf were based on historical fact. Professor Cyril Ashman is sure that they will find Beowulf's tomb and a hoard of ancient treasure on the island.

Author: Philip R. Craig
First Release: 1969
ISBN: 978-0333113264
Publisher: Macmillan

Brady Coyne / J.W. Jackson (Co-authored with William G Tapply)

First Light

As summer winds down on Martha’s Vineyard, J.W. Jackson is looking forward to getting in some fishing in the annual striped bass and bluefish derby with his good friend Brady Coyne. A Boston lawyer, Brady is on the island to help the elderly Sarah Fairchild write her will. J.W. has a little business, too, having agreed to assist in the search for a missing woman who was last seen on the island a year ago.

For Brady and J.W., it’s law and detecting during the day and fishing to their hearts content by night. But things take a drastic turn when another woman goes missing and Brady discovers that there are more than a few people on the island who desperately crave Sarah’s vast estate. The two friends begin to suspect that there’s a killer behind the missing women but they have no idea that their own lives are in danger.

Author: Philip R. Craig
First Release: 2001
ISBN: 978-1932112399
Publisher: Justin, Charles & Co.
Second Sight

International superstar entertainers, top politicians, a former president, and the social elite come together at the Celebration for Humanity, a musical extravaganza to be telecast live around the world. Headlining the show is legendary singer Evangeline, who's flying in from her Scotland castle, accompanied by her young daughter, Janie.

Vineyard fisherman and sometime private investigator J. W. Jackson isn't much interested in pop music, but he agrees to take a job as the gorgeous Evangeline's driver and guide. The money is good and the company is intriguing.

J.W.'s Boston lawyer pal, Brady Coyne, also has business on the Vineyard. His old friend Mike Doyle is dying, and Mike wants to reconcile with his daughter Christa, who is rumored to be on the Vineyard, before it's too late. Can Brady find her in time?

J.W. 's assignment gets deadly serious when the Celebration's director, Odgen Warner, is found murdered just days before the show is to open. Warner was known to be gruff and demanding, but his death is a shock to the cast and crew. Was it a random killing, or is there a murderer among them who might strike again? Could Evangeline be the next victim? Or is she a suspect?

The search for young Christa Doyle also turns complicated when Brady discovers that a charismatic religious leader may be holding her on an Island compound against her will. Christa and Evangeline live in very different worlds, yet Brady and J.W. find that they must weave together every thread of evidence if they are to save both women's lives.

Author: Philip R. Craig
First Release: 2004
ISBN: 978-1932112412
Publisher: Justin, Charles & Co.
Third Strike

It's late August, just when thousands of vacationers on beautiful Martha's Vineyard are preparing to go home so the kids can return to school. There's a problem, though. A union has gone on strike, paralyzing the Steamship Authority, which runs the ferries to "America," and creating panic and anger among many tourists and islanders alike.

When an explosion destroys a boat's engine room and kills the striker who apparently planted the bomb, J. W. Jackson, once a Boston cop but now an island man-of-all-work, reluctantly agrees to the widow's pleas that he attempt to prove her husband innocent of the crime. As J.W. begins inquiries, he discovers a complex series of relationships among strikers, scabs, and boat owners, and encounters violence of his own.

Meanwhile, Boston attorney Brady Coyne gets a call from a former client now living full-time on the Vineyard, who tells him about a group of armed men loading and unloading mysterious crates at a dock at midnight. 

Jackson and Coyne get together and discover that not only are their cases connected but that time is running out for them to prevent a crime that could have international ramifications -- and their only hope will be to confront dedicated killers face-to-face....

Author: Philip R. Craig
First Release: 2007
ISBN: 978-1451624939
Publisher: Scribner

Martha's Vineyard Mysteries

A Beautiful Place to Die

Ex-cop J.W. Jackson searches for answers after a mysterious and deadly boat explosion on Martha’s Vineyard.

During his career as a Boston cop, Jeff “J.W.” Jackson saw enough of the evil that men do to last a lifetime. So he retired to the serenity of Martha’s Vineyard to spend his days fishing for blues. But when a local’s boat mysteriously explodes off the coast, killing an amiable young drifter, Jackson finds himself reluctantly drawn back into the investigative trade.

Author: Philip R. Craig
First Release: 1989
Ebook: B01H0IOZMS
Publisher: Scribner
Death in Vineyard Waters

J.W. Jackson returns as he searches for answers on a beloved local’s strange death on Martha’s Vineyard.

Professor Marjorie Summerharp was reborn on Martha’s Vineyard—her mind sharpened by the island’s gentle waves and whispering breezes. So why would she walk into the ocean on a warm June morning, to be swallowed up forever by the sea? 

Ex-Boston-cop “J.W.” Jackson knows that evil can flourish even in the most serene of settings. And the more he investigates, the more it appears that the mysterious “accidental” death of the renowned local scholar was no accident.

NB: This book is also known as The Woman Who Walked Into the Sea.

Author: Philip R. Craig
First Release: 1991
Ebook: B01H0IOZYQ
Publisher: Scribner
Vineyard Deceit

An ill tide carries desperate men with murder on their minds to the idyllic island, suddenly threatening everything J.W. loves dearly.

A Middle Eastern potentate and his entourage are descending on Martha’s Vineyard—and chaos is in the salt air.

Ex-Boston-cop Jeff “J.W.” Jackson would rather be fishing with his lady Zee, but the island’s overtaxed police force needs his help to control the madness their visitor’s arrival has stirred up—especially since the great man will not leave before ceremoniously reclaiming an emerald necklace stolen from his nation a century ago.

But when both the jewels and Zee vanish, J.W. is quickly transformed from rent-a-cop to frantic investigator as he races to rescue the one person he truly cares for.

NB: This book is also known as The Double Minded Men.

Author: Philip R. Craig
First Release: 1992
Ebook: B01GONYV2E
Publisher: Scribner
Vineyard Fear

J.W. is on a race to escape the person behind a trio of attempts to end his life.

Escaping the city and its violence, ex-cop Jeff "J. W." Jackson found solace in fishing, cooking, and simply enjoying life on Martha's Vineyard—and nothing, he figures, will ever entice him to leave.

However, suddenly there's a very real possibility that his lady love Zee will be departing the idyllic island forever. And when a young student commits suicide, and a girlfriend-abusing thug starts spewing vicious threats, J. W. seriously considers a temporary escape from paradise.

But it's a failed trio of attempts on his own life that ultimately propels him off-island and onto the trail of a stalker that's leading J.W. to the perilous peaks of the Colorado Rockies, where he quickly learns that, thorns and all, there's no place quite like his Vineyard home.

NB: This book is also known as Cliff Hanger.

Author: Philip R. Craig
First Release: 1993
Ebook: B01GONYV3I
Publisher: Scribner
Off Season

Tourist season may be over...but the killing season has just begun.

There's nothing like Martha's Vineyard on these crisp autumn days, after the season has ended. Now that the "off-islanders" are finally off the island, ex-Boston cop J.W. Jackson is free to relax, fish, and make future plans with his lady love Zee. But the natives are getting seriously restless this fall, with animal rights activists squaring off against deer slayers and environmentalists butting heads with land developers. 

Things have reached the boiling-over point -- and it's not long before verbal arrows become real ones. And when a most unlikely victim is caught in the lethal crossfire, Jackson can't just sit by idly with a fishing pole in his hand. Someone has to lead the hunt for a killer, and J.W.'s the man -- even if there's a chance that he won't live to see next summer.

Author: Philip R. Craig
First Release: 1994
Ebook: B01D8VHPCS
Publisher: Scribner
A Case of Vineyard Poison

A toast to the happy couple...with hemlock

Vineyard wedding bells are about to chime for ex-Boston cop-turned-island-fisherman J.W. Jackson and his lady Zee Madieras. And Zee's Automatic Teller tells them rather substantial "present" has been deposited in the bride-to-be's account: one hundred thousand unexplained dollars.

The bank screams, "computer glitch"! And sure enough, two days later, the windfall has flown. But, coincidentally, the college student lying dead in J.W.'s driveway 'a young woman done in by a dose of locally grown poison' recently withdrew a hundred grand from her own account. And now, before exchanging vows with his love, J.W. must first match wits with a murderer who may be gearing up to kill again.

Author: Philip R. Craig
First Release: 1995
Ebook: B01GONYV24
Publisher: Scribner
Death on a Vineyard Beach

When J.W. Jackson foils an attempt to terminate former mob boss Luciano Marcus on the steps of Boston’s Symphony Hall, it puts a definite damper on Jackson and Zee’s newlywedded bliss, especially when the mayhem follows them back home to Martha’s Vineyard. Keeping circling sharks from the kill might be more than J.W. can handle.

Author: Philip R. Craig
First Release: 1996
Ebook: B001D2022A
Publisher: Scribner
A Deadly Vineyard Holiday

At first, the girl J. W. Jackson encounters strolling alone along South Beach seems like your typical teenager. But there’s nothing typical about young Cricket Callahan, the spirited only daughter of the vacationing President of the United States. 

Why is the feisty First Kid so intent upon eluding her Secret Service guardians, and why does the President want J.W. and Zee to watch over her? 

The answer comes in the form of a dead body. Not even executive privilege can shield the President’s daughter from harm unless Jackson roots out a vengeful killer who may be hiding among the President’s most trusted.

Author: Philip R. Craig
First Release: 1997
Ebook: B01GONYV0Q
Publisher: Scribner
A Shoot on Martha's Vineyard

Life on the Vineyard is good. Maybe too good. The bluefish are running early, and there’s plenty of quality fishing time to be spent with ex-cop J.W. Jackson’s new baby son Joshua. But an idyllic summer hits a snag when a movie scout from Hollywood invades the beaches. 

Worse, a longtime nemesis turns up murdered just one day after he and J.W. come to blows, and Jackson is considered by nearly everyone to be the most likely suspect. If he hopes to spend the remainder of the season—as well as many others to come—enjoying simple family pleasures and fine, fresh seafood, J.W. will have to cast his line out and hook the real killer.

Author: Philip R. Craig
First Release: 1998
Ebook: B01H0IOZLY
Publisher: Scribner
A Fatal Vineyard Season

Martha’s Vineyard is home to ex-Boston cop J.W. Jackson, his adored wife Zee, their toddler Joshua, and newborn daughter Diana. 

For others, the picturesque vacation spot is a relaxing escape. But there is no escape for Julia Crandel and Ivy Holiday, two Hollywood actresses staying in the Vineyard town of Oak Bluffs. Their arrival has incurred the wrath of a pair of local gangsters, and a deadly stalker from out of the young ladies’ past has found out where they are hiding. 

Twin hurricanes are about to slam the idyllic island—one a natural climatic disaster, the other an all-too-human catastrophe—and it looks as if J.W. is going to get caught in the middle.

Author: Philip R. Craig
First Release: 1999
Ebook: B01GONYV2Y
Publisher: Scribner
Vineyard Blues

A surprise visit from a dear old friend only adds to the joys of good weather, great fishing, warm breezes, and loving family for J.W. Jackson this idyllic island summer. 

The ex-Boston cop is thrilled to see accomplished bluesman Corrie Appleyard strolling up his driveway, guitar case in hand. But days later, J.W.’s elation turns to dread when a rundown summer shack burns to the ground—the latest in a string of suspicious fires. And when an unidentified corpse is discovered in the ashes, J.W. fears that the charred remains are Corrie’s. 

Now twin obligations to friendship and the truth are leading him into an ugly tangle of arson, extortion, secrets, and murder. And he’ll go to the dangerous ends of paradise to bring a killer to justice.

Author: Philip R. Craig
First Release: 2000
Ebook: B000FC0WC4
Publisher: Scribner
Vineyard Shadows

It’s just another gorgeous June day on Martha’s Vineyard until J.W. Jackson and his young son, Joshua, arrive home from clamming to find an ambulance in the driveway and blood on the grass. Two intruders have invaded their house. 

Little Diana is safe, but wife Zee has a split lip and a bruised cheek, and the difficult memory of killing one man and fending off another. The dead man and his accomplice wanted to know the whereabouts of Tom Rimini. They should have asked J.W. Tom is the husband of J.W.’s ex-wife, Carla. J.W. hasn’t seen Carla in fifteen years, but that’s about to change: Rimini’s on the run and needs J.W.’s help.

Author: Philip R. Craig
First Release: 2001
Ebook: B000FC0WCO
Publisher: Scribner
Vineyard Enigma

With the arrival of warm weather and good fishing, life should be great for J.W. Jackson and his wife, Zee. Something’s wrong, though. 

The morning newspaper brings an update on the case of the Headless Horseman, a corpse found six months ago. Such murders are rare on the Vineyard, and J.W. wonders if a killer is wandering free on the island. Something’s wrong at home, too. Zee seems curiously distant. J.W. gets a distraction in the form of Abraham Mahsimba, a mysterious man searching for two ancient soapstone eagles. 

Mahsimba follows their trail to the Vineyard and enlists J.W.’s help. The search for the eagles pits them against some of the most powerful figures in the Vineyard’s art world, including some who would stop at nothing to add forbidden objects to their collections.

Author: Philip R. Craig
First Release: 2002
Ebook: B000FC0WCE
Publisher: Scribner
A Vineyard Killing

It's March on Martha’s Vineyard. Too early for bluefish, but not too early for trouble. The winds are brisk and there’s still a chill coming in off the ocean. The mood is gloomy, and for good reason. 

Former Olympic fencing champion turned millionaire real estate developer Donald Fox has targeted the island for his newest moneymaking scheme. 

With land values huge and many longtime residents in possession of fuzzy deeds of sometimes dubious legal value, Fox and his team plan to force people to sell cheap. Give up now or we’ll fight you in court...or worse.

Author: Philip R. Craig
First Release: 2003
Ebook: B003EGVD8U
Publisher: Scribner
Murder at a Vineyard Mansion

Just look at the Vineyard's criminal du jour, "the Silencer." Loved by many and hated by some, the perp's on a campaign to destroy the audio systems in music-blasting party houses and open-windowed vehicles. Owners of said houses and vehicles feel both fear and hate, while some residents who seek silence silently cheer.

J. W. Jackson, former cop and now a part-time investigator, finds it difficult to get too excited about the Silencer's crimes. J.W.'s a classical music man himself, which may explain his reluctance to take the so-called crimes very seriously.

The fun stops, however, when someone is killed -- a night watchman is thrown over a cliff near an outrageously large new Chappaquiddick mansion.

Who killed Ollie Mattes? Was it the womanizer Harold Hobbes? Harold's mother, Vineyard aristocrat Maud Mayhew, begs J.W. to prove her son's innocence. Harold may have been guilty of vandalism at the mansion, but according to Maud, he's not a killer.

But if Harold didn't kill Ollie, who did? J.W. will soon find himself mired in an intrigue that links some of the Vineyard's most prominent families, families that have known, and sometimes hated, one another for generations. Who is telling the truth? Who will die next?

Meanwhile, at home, J.W.'s under pressure from Zee and the kids to acquire their first computer. Will J.W. ever enter the modern era? It's three against one, so how long can he hold out?

With his usual glorious mix of Vineyard ambience, romance, food, fishing, and first-rate suspense, Craig once again proves that his Martha's Vineyard mysteries are the perfect summer read.

Author: Philip R. Craig
First Release: 2004
ISBN: 978-1416569510
Publisher: Scribner
Vineyard Prey

Summer is a distant memory. Thanksgiving has come and gone. Hunting season is in full swing on the Vineyard...And some of the prey is human.

Ex-cop, chef, and dedicated angler J.W. Jackson would do anything for his old 'Nam buddy and fishing companion Joe Begay. But when Joe asks to be smuggled back onto the Vineyard in secret, J.W. knows there's big trouble brewing. 

After his tour of duty officially ended, Joe was involved in highly sensitive covert government work. Now only Begay and one other former operative on his team -- the seductive and extremely dangerous Kate MacLeod -- are still alive. The three remaining shadow warriors died unexpectedly, quite possibly at the hands of a ruthlessly efficient killer known only as the Easter Bunny. 

J.W.'s beloved wife, Zee, and their two young children could easily get caught in the deadly crossfire if the assassin makes his way to their now desolate island. Or perhaps he -- or she -- is already there...

Author: Philip R. Craig
First Release: 2005
Ebook: B001D1UOMO
Publisher: Scribner
Dead in Vineyard Sand

It's a picture-perfect Vineyard summer, and ex-Boston cop J.W. Jackson finds time for lazy afternoons at the beach with his wife, Zee, and the kids. Nothing could be better, but of course not everything is peaceful, even on this idyllic island. 

When J.W.’s rich businessman friend Glen Norton invites him to join a golfing foursome at Waterwoods, the island’s prettiest club, he’s happy to accept. But trouble is waiting for J.W. in the sand trap at the fourth hole—the sand trap with the human hand protruding from below. 

With circumstantial evidence pointing to J.W., he must act fast, peeling back layers of deceit surrounding old Vineyard families in his search for a killer.

Author: Philip R. Craig
First Release: 2006
Ebook: B000JMKOM8
Publisher: Scribner
Vineyard Stalker

J. W. Jackson, the ex-Boston cop turned fisherman, cook, and jack-of-all-trades, delves deep into the mysterious depths of his beloved Vineyard.

With his wife, Zee, and two kids visiting relatives in "America," J.W. is alone and quickly tiring of his temporary bachelor status when a request from Carole Cohen comes as a blessed diversion.

Carole wants J.W. to find the person who's stalking her brother, Roland. Known locally as "The Monk" for his reclusive ways, Roland lives on a beautiful piece of Vineyard real estate that he co-owns with his cousin, Sally Oliver.

A number of people, including Sally, would do almost anything to convince Roland to sell his valuable property. But does that include violence?

J.W. is happy to take on what looks like a short and easy assignment, though he soon realizes that Roland may lead a more complicated life than his austere living arrangements suggest. And when a body turns up near Roland's land, what seemed like a property dispute takes a detour into murder -- with J.W. in the midst of the action once again.

Author: Philip R. Craig
First Release: 2007
ISBN: 978-1451624762
Publisher: Scribner
Vineyard Chill

Hero J.W. navigates threats to his family in an effort to protect friends from his past.

For year-round Vineyard residents J.W. Jackson and his wife, ​Zee, winter brings its own beauty, with uncrowded streets and cozy nights by the fire, but it can also bring danger.

There’s a chill in the air one January day when J.W. receives a surprising visit from long-ago pal Clay Stockton. Clay has come to J.W. not to relive the reckless days of their youth but to ask J.W. for help.

He’s in big trouble and needs to lie low on the Vineyard. And it isn’t just Clay who needs J.W.’s assistance; J.W.’s pal Bonzo has made a frightening discovery and becomes a “person of interest” to the police.

With two friends in trouble and his own family receiving threats, J.W. must summon all of his investigative skills to try to restore order to his beloved island home, where fishing and good food should always take precedence over murder.

Author: Philip R. Craig
First Release: 2008
ISBN: 978-1451624755
Publisher: Scribner


Delish! The J.W. Jackson Recipes; A Martha's Vineyard Cookbook

Philip R. Craig has entertained thousands of readers for almost 20 years with his mystery novels about J.W. Jackson, a resident of the Island of Martha's Vineyard who solves murders in his spare time, when he isn't fishing or raising a family. 

Good food and fun meals have been important to the characters in Phil's seventeen Vineyard mysteries, and recent books in the series have each included three recipes the Jackson family enjoys. 

Now, in partnership with his wife, Shirley Prada Craig, Phil Craig presents what foodies and Jackson fans have been craving: a whole book devoted to 250 of these Island recipes collected over the Craigs' almost 50 years of marriage.

NB: Co-authored with Shirley Prada Craig.

Author: Philip R. Craig
First Release: 2006
ISBN: 978-0977138425
Publisher: Vineyard Stories