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The Body in the Casket: A Faith Fairchild Mystery (Faith Fairchild Mysteries) Hardcover – December 5, 2017
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“A cracking good traditional manor house mystery.” (Publishers Weekly)
“Those who enjoy a traditional mystery with appealing characters and a New England feel will enjoy this.” (Mystery Scene)
“The always-engaging Fairchild and the supporting cast of spirited recurring characters will appeal to fans of Diane Mott Davidson’s Goldy Schulz series and Carolyn Hart’s Annie Darling novels.” (Booklist)
From the Back Cover
“But, Mrs. Fairchild, while I am sure you are superb as a caterer, I am hiring you for what I understand is your other expertise. Your, shall we say, sleuthing ability?”
“My sleuthing? But why?”
“One of my guests wants to kill me.”
For most of her adult life, caterer and amateur sleuth Faith Fairchild has called the sleepy Massachusetts town of Aleford home. While the native New Yorker has come to know the region well, she isn’t familiar with Havencrest, a secluded enclave for the wealthy. When she gets a call from Havencrest resident Max Dane, a legendary Broadway producer planning his seventieth birthday party, Faith is intrigued. Neither the community nor Rowan House, Max’s sprawling mansion, exists in her GPS, but that’s not the most puzzling thing about this job.
As they discuss the party’s menu, Max reveals that one of his guests is planning to serve up a vastly different dish: murder. Faith’s only clue is a sinister birthday gift Max received the week before—an empty casket sent anonymously, containing a twenty-year-old Playbill from his final, and only failed, production, Heaven or Hell. In response, Max has drawn his guest list from the show’s cast and crew, in what may become a deadly reunion. As an ice storm brews overhead and the guests begin to arrive, Faith must keep one eye on the menu and the other on her host to prevent his birthday bash from becoming his final curtain.
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Page's writing style reminds me of Agatha Christie although the mystery takes place in Massachusetts. The novel is built more around characters than suspense. There is no suspense, in fact, until a short spurt at the very end. The side stories contain a little romance and a couple of broken hearts. So this novel is about relationships too.
Faith caters a meal at the potential murder site and there is much in the novel about food. Several recipes are included at the end of the book. There are several allusions to musicals which I totally missed but I loved the allusions to the game Clue, a childhood favorite.
I recommend this cozy mystery to readers who love one built around character and relationships. You'll be entertained and learn a bit about how off Broadway musicals are crafted. While this novel is part of a series, it reads perfectly well on its own.
I received a complimentary digital copy of this book through Partners in Crime Virtual Book Tours. My comments are an independent and honest review.