Deadly Nightshade
Cynthia Riggs

Book cover image

Narrated By: Davina Porter

Duration: 8 hours and 53 minutes

What to expect

Martha's Vineyard has been home to Victoria Trumbull for most of her ninety-two years. Its magic, history, and picture-perfect calm are part of her very being. Like other Islanders, she knows the sounds of the sea in calm and stormy weather—and she knows sounds that do not belong. One evening, Victoria is waiting on the dock for her granddaughter to return with the harbormaster when she hears a chilling scream followed by a splash and the sound of tires skidding on sand. She investigates and discovers a mutilated body floating on the outgoing tide.

Despite interruptions from her granddaughter Elizabeth, the harbormaster Domingo, a swarm of Island locals, and a few mysterious visitors, Victoria manages to get in a good bit of detective work and still find time to cook her traditional Saturday-night supper of Boston baked beans. She even concocts a scheme to trap the killer. But she'll need to act quickly because victim number two has already been found.


Crime and mystery fiction, Crime and mystery: women sleuths

Listen to a sample

“Feisty, fiercely independent nonagenarian poet Victoria Trumbull makes a welcome debut in Riggs’ first novel…Everyone should have such a terrific grandmother.”

Publishers Weekly

“Enjoyable…Victoria’s legendary pluckiness borders on the deranged [and] Porter gives it the skill she would bring to high art…It goes a long way.”


“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 brings her novel to life. In addition to the endearing yet never sentimentalized Victoria, the supporting figures are uniformly compelling and thoroughly believable.”


“Tight plotting and engaging characters make this mystery a winner. Porter gives a full-voiced performance, doing a convincing elderly female, an imperious Latino harbormaster, teens, and snooty townies.”


“The island itself becomes a major character, one that Riggs depicts with exquisite attention to details, sounds, and colors…The narrator, with her range of voices and grasp of natural speech patterns, is ideal for this leisurely paced tale…A rousing good yarn and ample evidence of Riggs’ extraordinary gift for intrigue and description.”


“Combine[s] the best ingredients of mystery and fine writing, great characters, and brilliant descriptions of the sounds, smells, and visuals of the magic of Martha’s Vineyard…I loved it.”

Nancy Slonim Aronie, former NPR commentator and writing instructor at Harvard University

“With Deadly Nightshade we have a wonderful and welcom debut, not only of one of the feistiest sleuths you’ll ever encounter in ninety-two-year-old Victoria Trumbull, but also of an accomplished novelist, one Cynthia Riggs, who does not fail to tell a compelling and funny and mysterious and downright joyful whodunit. May many more books follow this one!”