Sometimes when you haven’t heard from an old friend in a while, you miss them and really want to hear about what is going on in their life. I feel like that about Faith Fairchild, the leading character in Katherine Hall Page’s popular Faith Fairchild mystery series. “The Body in the Gazebo” is the nineteenth book in this series and yes, I have devoured them all. While Page is a fairly prolific author, she had taken a semi break from this series to write “Have Faith in Your Kitchen” a cookbook based on this series where the lead character is not only a minister’s wife, but a caterer as well. In the back of each of the books, she publishes recipes that are discussed in the book. The cookbook was a great addition to the series, but I had missed the mysteries and I was delighted to see her new mystery book arrive in April.
In “The Body in the Gazebo” there are two mysteries to be solved, a decades old mystery and a current one. Page had wanted to write a decades old mystery and had been considering the best approach. She states, “I realized that the best way to tell the story was to have an eyewitness describe what she had seen during one fateful summer on Martha’s Vineyard in 1929 when she was young, a wise and observant child now seeking the whole truth as she nears the end of her life.” For this eyewitness, Page selects Ursula Lyman Rowe who has appeared in many books in this series along with Faith’s best friend Ursula’s daughter, Pix Miller. Pix is in South Carolina meeting her son’s in-law before the wedding and attending to the pre-wedding festivities. Ursula doesn’t accompany Pix to South Carolina as she is ill. Faith is checking in on Ursula for Pix and these visits offer the perfect time for Ursula to unfold the story.
One of the things I enjoy most about this series is how much I learn just reading for pleasure. This book explores Martha’s Vineyard in 1929 and talks about this the party atmosphere before the depression and the problems thereafter. We also learn about the sign language that developed here as a result of the large extremely high percentage of hereditary deafness.
The second mystery revolves around $10,000 missing from the minister’s discretionary fund which only Faith’s husband, Tom, has access. Faith has to help her husband figure out who is taking the money and here again we learn about popular phishing scams and ways hackers use to get your banking information.
Along the way, we hear about several catering jobs and our mouths water with the delicacies that are being served. Reading these books late at night always makes me hungry.
Katherine Hall Page won the 1991 Agatha Award for Best First Novel for “The Body in the Belfry.” The fifteenth book in the series, “The Body in the Snowdrift”, won the 2006 Agatha Award for Best Mystery Novel. Along the way she has won awards for her short stories and has been nominated for a variety of other awards.
Katherine Hall Page received her BA from Wellesley College, majoring in English and went on to a Masters in Secondary Education from Tufts and a Doctorate in Administration, Public Planning, and Social Policy from Harvard. She was born in New Jersey, vacationed along the Maine Coast, which is frequently mentioned in her books and now lives with her husband, Professor Alan Hein, an experimental psychologist at MIT in Massachusetts.
I strongly recommend book and this series in general.
Five stars out of five.
In accordance with FTC guidelines for reviewers, I would like to clarify that this book was provided to me by the publisher free of charge. I am not compensated by the author or publisher for my review. All they expect is an honest review of the work.