How the ‘Martha’s Vineyard Mystery’ Honors Author Philip R. Craig After His Death

Crown Media A scene from Martha's Vineyard Mystery.

Hallmark’s popular Martha’s Vineyard Mystery series starring Jesse Metcalfe has a sad real-life twist. Philip R. Craig, the author of the books upon which the Hallmark series is based, died more than 10 years ago. However, the series continues because he wrote 19 books before his death, and his son is working with Hallmark to make sure his dad’s books live on through the movie series.


Philip R. Craig Died of Cancer After Writing 19 Martha’s Vineyard Mystery Books

Philip R. Craig died of cancer in 2007, his website noted. He had a “brief battle” with cancer before dying, and left three completed books waiting to be published, including the finale J.W. Jackson novel. The final novel in his Martha’s Vineyard series, Vineyard Chill, was published after his death in 2008.

He wrote a total of 19 books in his Martha Vineyard series. His obituary in the Vineyard Gazette only shared that he had a brief illness and died at the age of 74 at the Martha’s Vineyard Hospital. He had lived in an Ocean Heights camp with his wife, Shirley. They were married for 49 years. He was survived by his wife, children Kim and Jamie, his grandchildren, and two brothers, and a sister.

Craig was born in 1933, his website’s bio shared, and raised on a cattle ranch in Colorado. His family ranch didn’t even have running water or electricity until he was about 10 years old. He taught English and journalism at a junior college from 1962 to 1965. In the 1970s, he took a year’s sabbatical to Spain and England.

He published his very first novel at the age of 35 in 1969, but his second novel wasn’t published until 20 years later when he was 55. In the 20 years between, he wrote and pitched novels to publishers without any success. Since 1989, all of his published novels were in his Martha’s Vineyard series.


His Son Helps Hallmark Bring His Books to Life

Philip R. Craig’s son, James “Jamie” Craig, has helped Hallmark bring his dad’s books to life, even though they didn’t even start filming until years after his father died. He’s a sergeant with the Edgartown Police Department and serves as a consulting producer on the Martha’s Vineyard Mystery series, Cape Cod Times reported.

Jamie Craig consults on the authenticity of the island and police scenes, such as helping extras know how to walk or talk like a police officer. He may change the script to match local lore better or just based on the knowledge he has of his dad’s preferences. He also made sure that the producers include Martha’s Vineyard footage in the movies, even if the main filming is actually done in Canada.

He told Cape Cod Times: “I kind of have a double job of getting the Martha’s Vineyard part into the stories and keeping as much of my father’s view of the Vineyard in there as possible, and also being kind of one-stop shopping for crime-solving.”

Jamie Craig also said that he loves how Jesse Metcalfe portrays the main character. He said Metcalfe loves the books and the dialogue his dad wrote.

Metcalfe has said that he reads every book that each installment of the movie series is based on, MSN reported.

“The books are really fun,” he said. “I really love the character and think the stories that we’re telling are fun.”

Jamie Craig also told Cape Cod Times that he’s reviewing script ideas for more movies, so there will likely be new ones in the future.

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