Kerry Hammond is reviewing the new novel from one of her favorite authors - Katherine Hall Page. The book is called Body in the Birches and it debuts today.
There are books you read that feel like a visit with old friends. Katherine Hall Page’s books are like that for me. Reading one of her books isn’t just reading a mystery, it’s finding out what’s new with the characters that I have grown close to over the years. Anyone who has read her books has watched Faith’s family grow and followed them through the different stages of their lives. Of course, their lives are a bit more exciting than ours, because in addition to the regular happenings, they have to deal with solving murders.
In this book, the 22nd in the Faith Fairchild Mystery Series, Faith and her family are at their vacation home on Sanpere Island for the 4th of July. They are staying with friends because their house is undergoing a remodel and expansion. At one of the neighboring houses, The Birches, the Proctor family is having a somewhat strained get-together. The family has gathered to find out who will inherit the property that they have all grown to consider their second home. To say the competition is cutthroat is an understatement. Each family member is putting their best foot forward to Uncle Paul, the decision-maker.
Meanwhile, Faith is worried about her teenage son, Ben. He has just gotten his first job as a dishwasher at a local restaurant, and she’s having a hard time stepping back and letting him deal with the things that are going on around him. He has befriended a girl with a troubled family life and his boss doesn’t seem to understand the responsibility required to run a business. Amy, faith’s youngest, has befriended Daisy Proctor, which brings Faith and her kids into the drama unfolding at The Birches.
When Bev, the housekeeper and cook at The Birches is found dead in the woods, from what seems to be a heart attack, Faith finds herself knee deep in another death. Faith’s husband, Tom, is out of town dealing with a family emergency, so Faith has to lean on her friends more than ever. She is torn between getting involved and stepping back, but events soon force her hand and she ends up getting involved in order to keep her family safe.
The book opens with a quote from Oscar Wilde that really sets the stage for the entire story, After a good dinner one can forgive anybody, even one’s own relations. Family ties can mean very different things, and the Proctors are just one example of how something like an inheritance can tear a family apart. Wilde’s quote also speaks to another theme that runs throughout the Faith Fairchild series, good food. This book contains five wonderful recipes, all referenced in the story, for the reader to try. Another perk to go along with a great reading experience.