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THE BODY IN THE IVY:
A Faith Fairchild Mystery
By Katherine Hall Page
William Morrow, Nov. 2006 ($23.95)
Reviewed by Shirley H. Wetzel
In the latest Faith Fairchild mystery, caterer/amateur sleuth Faith is offered a dream job she can't refuse. Through contacts with her sister, an alum of an elite woman's college, she is hired to cater to a group of alumni at the island home of reclusive but wildly popular romance writer Barbara Bailey Bishop. When she arrives, she soon finds that she is the only one who knew the real reason she was summoned. Bishop's representative had told each woman a different story, sure to pull them in: a popular singer is asked to perform for the group, a financial wizard is told she'll give lectures on investments, and so on. When the hostess reveals her true identity, and the "guests" realize why she's called them there, they all want to leave immediately. Ms. Bishop's cunning and a violent storm make this impossible, and the drama she envisioned is carried out.
The story revolves around the death of one of the classmates over thirty years ago. Helene "Prin" Prince was a golden girl with a very dark side. She had harmed each of the women on the island in some way, crushing their dreams without a single qualm. Her death was ruled a suicide, but some believed she was murdered. Most of the people she'd tangled with felt she got what she deserved, but at least one person wants to make the murderer pay.
As the days go by, bodies begin to pile up and the tension escalates. Faith discovers that it wasn't just her cooking skills that got her the job when her talent as an amateur crime solver is enlisted to unmask the killer.
If the reader thinks there are similarities to Agatha Christie's AND THEN THERE WERE NONE, Ms. Page admits that was her intention. She does an excellent job of presenting an updated version of the story. As always, there are yummy references to the food Faith serves, and fabulous recipes at the end.
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