‘The Body in the Casket” is 24th entry in Katherine Hall Page’s Faith Fairchild series, but the first I have read. Happily, Page does a fine job of inviting new readers into the world of her protagonist, a caterer who does some sleuthing on the side.
In this cozy adventure, Faith Fairchild is hired to cater a birthday weekend for a former Broadway director who is getting the cast and crew of his final production — an unmitigated flop — together after many years. He informs Fairchild that one of his guests might want to kill him and offers some shocking supporting evidence. His hope is that Fairchild can cook and catch a killer at the same time.
While the set up — a fancy house full of suspects who don’t trust or like one another — is familiar enough, Page introduces the idea and then puts it on the back burner for much of the book. The story simmers over what seem to be secondary plots, giving us small tastes of the ostensible main course for well over half of the 232 page mystery. These other plotlines may well feel like comfort food for longtime readers of the series who know these characters and their backgrounds well, but they leave the new reader hungry to get the meat of the book.
Page’s prose is a pleasure to read, though her willingness to intrude on the story to point the reader to recipes in the back of the book is unpalatable. Nevertheless, longtime readers will no doubt find this addition to the Faith Fairchild menu tasty, indeed.