By Ed McBain

Ed McBain (a pen-name of Evan Hunter 1926 -2005) an American author

( In this 1958 novel, Zach Blake returns with his 9-year-old daughter to Marthas Vineyard, in answer to a cryptic note telling him that his wifes drowning death there the year before was not an accident. He soon finds himself confronted by gun-wielding thugs, and then his daughter is kidnapped)

They boarded the ferry together at Woods Hole, the tall man with the brown hair and eyes, and the nine-year-old blonde who was his daughter. They sat together on the front seat of thePlymouth, and the dock boards squeaked a little as the car crossed them, and then the high vault of the ferry swallowed the car and the man followed the frenzied hand directions of the attendant, keeping to the right, pulling the Plymouth up behind a Cadillac.

The island of Marthas Vineyard looked forbidding.

It had not looked that way a year ago. Even looking back at the island (10) when he was leaving, even after what had happened, even knowing what dread cargo the ferry had carried below, it had not seemed as forbidding then as it looked now. Perhaps it was the day. Perhaps the gray mists which shrouded the island were not what hed expected.

There had been sunshine last summer, a month of incredibly bright sunshine which hed shared with his wife on what theyd called their second honeymoon, even though theyd never really had a true first honeymoon. But for this trip alone, they had left Penny with her grandmother, and theyd gone to Marthas Vineyard because theyd (20) heard it was a place untouched by time, a place of crashing surf and silent inland ponds, a place of lonely beach roads, of winging slender ternsand crying flocks of gulls a place away from the rat race.

The boat edged into the slip at Vineyard Haven.

Zach and Penny went back to the car and waited their turn to disembark. The dock was loaded with cars and people. Women waved at arriving guests. Men in Bermuda shorts extended welcoming hands. Alongside the wood-panelled ferry waiting-room, a man had set up an easel, and he painted a view of the sound, oblivious to the crowd, his head bobbing from painting to water and back again. The Plymouth (30) came off the boat and onto the dock. The Cadillac pulled to one side, waiting for the island infidels to clear the dock and the town before heading for the pined- and moneyed exclusivity of West Chop. The Edgartown cocktail-and-regatta set were making their turns, cars brimming with guests. Zach turned the Plymouth in the opposite direction heading up-island.

Its nice, Daddy, Penny said. Are we staying here?

Were going up-island, he told her. To Menemsha.

Like Meneltlsha Skulnik? she asked.

This Menemsha is Indian, he said.

(40) Really? Are there Indians here, Daddy?

Out at Gay Head there are.

Penny considered this solemnly for a moment. Then she said, Was it Indians who killed Mommy? The question startled him. In his own grief, he had not imagined the child thought much about it. No, he said, Mommy drowned.

Almost as if she were thinking aloud, Penny said, Mommy was a good swimmer.

Yes, he answered, Mommy was a good swimmer.

Yes,--and then his daughter


even the wicked the words are taken from the Bible. The Lord has made everything for His purpose: even the wicked (i.e. a sinner) for the day of evil. Proverbs 16.4 ( , .)

Plymouth an American automobile brand of Chrysler

frenzied here: continuing without stopping

terns - aquatic birds similar to gulls

rat race an exhausting, competitive struggle

West Chop a residential area located on the north end of the island of Marthas Vineyard

Edgartown the largest town on Marthas Vineyard with its own Yacht Club

up-island - is the nickname for the Vineyard's three most rural towns

Menemsha a small fishing village on the island of Marthas Vineyard

Gay Head the former name of the town of Aquinnah on Marthas Vineyard



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