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The Body in the Bonfire    by Katherine Hall Page order for
Body in the Bonfire
by Katherine Hall Page
Order:  USA  Can
Avon, 2003 (2002)
Hardcover, Paperback

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* *   Reviewed by G. Hall

Body in the Bonfire is the twelfth in the entertaining Faith Fairchild mystery series. There are an unusually high number of murders in the apparently idyllic small New England town of Aleford, and Faith is frequently right in the midst of things. Page has created an appealing sleuth in this minister's wife, who is also a caterer and mother of two small children. Although that might sound like the recipe for a too good to be true saccharine character, Faith comes from Manhattan and has had to work to fit into her current role. Fortunately she has also retained her wit and slightly world-weary cynicism.

As always with a Page book, readers will enjoy Faith's observations on life in a small town and its eccentric denizens. It is also nice to check back once a year and see how Faith's life and family are doing. At the story's outset, Faith is asked by an old friend to look into the racial harassment of Daryl Martin, one of the few African American students at Aleford's prestigious prep school, Mansfield Academy. Her undercover disguise is as a volunteer teaching a course at the school's winter term session on 'Cooking for Idiots'. Daryl signs up for the course and Faith is able to observe his treatment first hand and also to sneak around the dorms looking for incriminating evidence in the rooms of potential perpetrators.

Of course, the plot thickens and there is soon more than just harassment for Faith to investigate when a body is found right below the book title's bonfire. Eventually the mystery comes to a satisfying conclusion. Page's books are always reliably readable and readers know what to expect, just as they would with a Dick Francis novel. When one is looking for comfort reading, they are just the thing.

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