cover image The Body in the Basement

The Body in the Basement

Katherine Hall Page. St. Martin's Press, $20.95 (289pp) ISBN 978-0-312-11470-1

Featuring recipes, quilting lore and murder, Page's sixth entry in the Faith Fairchild series (after The Body in the Cast) centers around the Massachusetts housewife and caterer's next-door neighbor, occasional employee and friend, Pix Miller. Early in the summer on Sanpere Island, Maine, Pix and her daughter check the construction work on the Fairchilds' summer cottage and discover a quilt-wrapped body buried where the foundation will soon be poured. Dead is Mitchell Pierce, an antiques seller and house restorer with a host of enemies on the island. While her daughter begins work at the island summer camp, Pix wonders about the blue X stitched on the edge of the quilt in which the body was wrapped. As a series of pranks at the summer camp turns nasty (decapitated mice are left on a kitchen counter and red paint is splattered on boat sails), Pix begins asking questions and, although she often calls Faith with progress reports, ends up solving that murder and one that follows. This leisurely tale, with recipes for fish chowder, corn bread and blueberry tart, nicely frames the down-to-earth, eminently likable Pix, who proves an enjoyable stand-in for Faith. (Oct.)