MYSTERY

The Body in the Birches: A Faith Fairchild Mystery

Morrow. May 2015. 256p. ISBN 9780062310828. $24.99; ebk. ISBN 9780062310842. M
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It's the Fourth of July on Sanpere Island, off the coast of Maine. Proctor family members have gathered at The Birches to learn who will inherit the historic summer cottage. Faith Fairchild is also vacationing on the island, staying with her family at her friend Pix Miller's house while their own summer residence is being rebuilt. When Faith discovers the body of the Proctors' housekeeper in the woods, it is assumed that she died of a heart attack. But soon it becomes clear that someone is trying to sabotage the reading of the will. Faith also worries about her own family: her husband's mother is ill; son Ben has overheard things at his summer job that could have serious repercussions; and daughter Amy's new friend Daisy Proctor has her own troubles.
VERDICT Reading this enjoyable long-running series is like having a conversation with an old friend. Faith and her family continue to grow, and now having teenagers will test her and Tom's patience. Anyone who likes Joan Hess and Donna Andrews will appreciate this well-crafted mystery (the 22nd after The Body in the Piazza).

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