The Body in the Birches
by Katherine Hall Page

Cozy Mystery
22nd in Series
Publisher: William Morrow (May 12, 2015)
Hardcover: 256 pages
ISBN-13: 978-0062310828

At home on Sanpere Island, Maine, caterer and amateur sleuth Faith Fairchild discovers that real estate can be murder, especially when it’s all in the family, in this twenty-third book in the popular mystery series.
The Fourth of July is one of the hottest on record and even the breeze off Penobscot Bay can’t seem to cool things down for Faith Fairchild and the rest of the folks on Sanpere Island. But the fireworks are just beginning. After the celebrations are over, Faith discovers a body in the woods near The Birches, an early twentieth-century “cottage.”
The body is identified as The Birches’ housekeeper, who seems to have succumbed to a heart attack. The death is only one of the dramatic events upending the historic house. A family gathering has been called to decide who will inherit the much loved, and very valuable, estate that has been in the Proctor family for generations. With this much money involved, it’s just a matter of time before trouble arises.
Faith is juggling her own family problems. Her teenage son, Ben, has started a new job as a dishwasher at The Laughing Gull Lodge—learning things that could land him in very hot water. And her daughter Amy is worried about her new friend, Daisy Proctor. Daisy is terrified—convinced that someone is trying to eliminate her mother from getting a share of The Birches. To protect her children, Faith has to find a possible murderer—before he strikes too close to her own home.

This was my first read in the Faith Fairchild series. I will definitely be checking the others out. The author writes interesting and complicated characters and includes descriptive passages that create virtual visual settings. I felt like I was observing the goings on first hand.

This was an opportunity to spend vacation time with the "upper crust" and see how a different class lives. It is not all caviar, oysters and champagne. I also enjoyed expanding my vocabulary as I read.
There are a lot of names and relationships to figure out at the beginning.
At first I did think a scorecard or family tree graphic would be helpful. As I progressed in my reading it all fell into place.
Not being familiar with the series I was not sure if Faith was the super sleuth (or unfortunate body stumbler) or if it was Sophie. Both had their share of unfortunate encounters.

Adding to the mystery is a complex study of familial relationships and the complexities of parenting teens. I did get a copy in exchange for my review.

 Katherine Hall Page is the author of twenty-two 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.” In addition, 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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