cover image The Body in the Cast

The Body in the Cast

Katherine Hall Page. St. Martin's Press, $19.95 (276pp) ISBN 978-0-312-09755-4

Faith Fairchild, caterer and minister's wife in Aleford, Mass., rebounds from her last case, The Body in the Vestibule , as a crew filming a remake of The Scarlet Letter arrives in town while a fierce local election is at stake. Happily, Faith lands the job as caterer for the production company of A , which includes Maxwell Reed, the director known as the ``New Jersey Fellini,'' some stars of considerable magnitude, and even, as a lowly production assistant, Faith's old schoolmate, Cornelia Stuyvesant. But problems seem to plague the production. First, a fire breaks out in a nearby barn; then the company's soup is laced with a laxative. Everyone, including the police, considers these events just pranks, but after a stand-in is poisoned on the set, Faith suspects sabotage and initiates some subtle snooping. When a candidate for Aleford's Board of Selectmen is bludgeoned to death and his opposition (and half-sister) disappears, Faith decides more than movie madness is occuring and begins to investigate in earnest. Pen and ink illustrations and five recipes add little to this lively tale that stands perfectly well on the merits of Page's spirited characterization and energetic plotting. (Nov.)