The Body in the Casket
by Katherine Hall Page
on Tour December 4, 2017 - January 12, 2018
The inimitable Faith Fairchild returns in a chilling New England whodunit, inspired by the best Agatha Christie mysteries and with hints of the timeless board game Clue.For most of her adult life, resourceful caterer Faith Fairchild has called the sleepy Massachusetts village of Aleford home. While the native New Yorker has come to know the region well, she isn’t familiar with Havencrest, a privileged enclave, until the owner of Rowan House, a secluded sprawling Arts and Crafts mansion, calls her about catering a weekend house party.
Producer/director of a string of hit musicals, Max Dane—a Broadway legend—is throwing a lavish party to celebrate his seventieth birthday. At the house as they discuss the event, Faith’s client makes a startling confession. "I didn’t hire you for your cooking skills, fine as they may be, but for your sleuthing ability. You see, one of the guests wants to kill me."
Faith’s only clue is an ominous birthday gift the man received the week before—an empty casket sent anonymously containing a twenty-year-old Playbill from Max’s last, and only failed, production—Heaven or Hell. Consequently, Max has drawn his guest list for the party from the cast and crew. As the guests begin to arrive one by one, and an ice storm brews overhead, Faith must keep one eye on the menu and the other on her host to prevent his birthday bash from becoming his final curtain call.
Full of delectable recipes, brooding atmosphere, and Faith’s signature biting wit, The Body in the Casket is a delightful thriller that echoes the beloved mysteries of Agatha Christie and classic films such as Murder by Death and Deathtrap.
I enjoyed this mystery. It contains a good combination of plot progression and surrounding and supportive story lines. I felt like I was getting to know Faith and her friends well. Rather than competing with the main plot, the side stories helped flesh out Faith as our heroine.
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.
My rating: 4/5 stars.
Book Details:Genre: Mystery
Published by: William Morrow
Publication Date: December 5th 2017
Number of Pages: 238
ISBN: 0062439561 (ISBN13: 9780062439567)
Series: Faith Fairchild, 24
Purchase Links: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Goodreads
Read an excerpt:
Katherine Hall Page is the author of twenty-three previous Faith Fairchild mysteries, the first of which received the Agatha Award for best first mystery. The Body in the Snowdrift was honored with the Agatha Award for best novel of 2006. Page also won an Agatha for her short story "The Would-Be Widower." The recipient of the Lifetime Achievement Award at Malice Domestic, she has been nominated for the Edgar Award, the Mary Higgins Clark Award, and the Macavity Award. She lives in Massachusetts, and Maine, with her husband.
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I received a complimentary egalley of this book through Partners in Crime Virtual Book Tours. My comments are an independent and honest review. The rest of the copy for this post was provided by Partners in Crime Virtual Book Tours.