cover image The Body in the Bouillon

The Body in the Bouillon

Katherine Hall Page. St. Martin's Press, $17.95 (210pp) ISBN 978-0-312-06309-2

In Page's third Aleford, Mass., mystery (after The Body in the Kelp ), young minister's wife Faith Fairchild, formerly a trendy New York gourmet caterer, scatters upscale brand names like confetti while acting as an amateur investigator. Asked to look into strange doings at a luxurious retirement retreat operated by saintly old Dr. Hubbard, his doctor son and nurse daughter, Faith soon turns up blackmail, illicit sex, cocaine and murder. The Fairchilds, who apparently haven't heard of Christian charity, cold-shoulder a graceless divinity student intern and poke lighthearted fun at folks who neither serve nutty basmati rice for lunch nor wear Faith's designer originals. (Readers may find themselves longing for V.I. Warshawski, rooting around in her dirty laundry in search of a decent outfit she can don one more time.) There are some hair-raising scenes, however, as well as a leisurely, happy final chapter featuring a yuletide party at the parsonage and the Christmas Eve children's pageant at the church. (Dec.)