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The Body in the Fjord
By Katherine Hall Page

Avon Book, 1997, $5.99 (pb)
Reviewed by Shirley H. Wetzel

Pix Miller and her mother Ursula go to Norway in answer to an urgent cry for help from Ursula’s childhood friend Marit Hansen. The woman’s granddaughter has disappeared, supposedly eloping with her fiancé from a tour group they were leading. When his battered body washes up at the base of waterfall in full view of the horrified tourists and the girl is nowhere to be found, the authorities set out to find a murderer, with her as their first choice.

Her grandmother is sure Kari is innocent, and possibly in danger herself. She asks Pix and Ursula to join the group for the last part of the tour, believing that the answers could be found among the people who had last had contact with the young couple. The tourists, many of whom are Americans of Norwegian descent seeking their roots, turn out to have plenty of secrets and hidden agenda of their own.

The hotel where much of the action takes place is a beautiful, peaceful setting, but Pix learns that it had a dark and deadly past. During the Nazi occupation it served as a hospital where shameful crimes were committed against the Norwegian people. Although those crimes took place half a century ago, the memories of both victims and victimizers are still vivid. Pix learns to her sorrow that more than one person in the group is willing to commit murder, either to protect a guilty secret or to avenge an old wrong.

Ms. Page gives wonderfully vivid descriptions of the Norwegian countryside and provides interesting bits of Scandinavian history and culture. Her characters are well rounded and real. Pix Miller is one of the characters in a series of books centered around the populace of Aleford, Massachusetts, the next-door neighbor and business partner of Faith Fairchild. It is delightful to see how Page intertwines the lives of the different citizens of the town in each book.

edcom: This is the eighth mystery from this author.

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