cover image The Body in the Bog

The Body in the Bog

Katherine Hall Page. William Morrow & Company, $22 (0pp) ISBN 978-0-688-14573-6

The cozy village of Alesford, Mass., may seem an unlikely spot for murder, but such crimes gravitate toward Faith Fairchild, the local minister's wife and self-employed caterer. In her seventh case (after The Body in the Kelp), the sleuthing mother of two and her husband, Tom, find themselves in the middle of a town controversy over the proposed development of Beecher's Bog, a popular nature spot. The disagreement turns nasty when opponents of the planned luxury housing begin receiving poison pen letters. An arson fire and a corpse later, the town's residents are enraged and fearful as they plan the annual Patriots' Day celebrations. Faith keeps an eagle eye out for the murderer, whom she eventually encounters in her own company kitchen. While Page's pacing lacks crispness, some unusual characters-a preschool teacher who has an apparent double life and the feisty town historian who heads up POW! (Preserve Our Wetlands!)-and Faith's good nature generally compensate in this New England mystery, which is accompanied by five recipes, including one for Faith's Yankee Pot Roast. (Apr.)