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The Body in the Bouillon    by Katherine Hall Page order for
Body in the Bouillon
by Katherine Hall Page
Order:  USA  Can
Avon, 1997 (1991)
Hardcover, Paperback

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* *   Reviewed by Theresa Ichino

Page's entertaining series features Faith Fairchild, daughter of one minister and married to another. Wise in the demands made of a minister's wife, Faith was determined never to end up as one. Unfortunately, fate had other plans, and our heroine finds herself exiled from New York to her husband's ministry in the quaint little town of Aleford, Massachusetts.

In Body in the Bouillon, Faith has decided to revive her successful catering business 'Have Faith in Your Kitchen', now that son Benjamin is old enough for nursery school and no longer requires quite as much minute-to-minute attention. However, when her aunt calls to ask her to assist an old friend who has recently become a resident at Hubbard House, a retirement home for the wealthy, Faith readily agrees, and ends up as an assistant in the kitchen. Her aunt's old friend Howard had mentioned a problem that might require involving the authorities; but before Faith is able to discover what is troubling him, he is found dead, face-down in Faith's bouillon.

Although Howard's death is ruled natural (heart attack), Faith continues her investigation, partially because she is itching to make improvements to the unimaginative menu. Hubbard House Life-Care Retirement Home appears to be a gem and above suspicion. The residents seem content and comfortable, and the staff is devoted to Dr. Hubbard. His son Donald and daughter Muriel, who assist him in running Hubbard House, seem equally dedicated, although Donald's wife Charmaine and the smooth-talking Eddie Russell (grounds and buildings keeper) are less palatable.

What began as an investigation into a minor concern evolves into something deadlier when Eddie's corpse is found in the guest bedroom at Hubbard House, in the bed itself. Since Faith was occupying that room - although absent in order to snoop in the dead of night - she is determined to continue her investigations, despite the danger. She does solve the mystery of course, showing herself to be as smart and quick-witted as she is compassionate.

Page has created an engaging heroine, whom she places snugly in the context of family, friends, and community. Husband Tom, son Benjamin, parents, friends, neighbours, and various other residents of Aleford are well drawn. Body in the Bouillon is a pleasurable read. Like all cozy mysteries, it gives us a chance to revisit the main character and her world, but not all cozies are written so well.

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