The Body in the Wardrobe
Review: New England minister's wife, mother, caterer, and part-time amateur sleuth Faith Fairchild is drawn into the mystery surrounding a missing body in The Body in the Wardrobe, the twenty-third mystery in this series by Katherine Hall Page.
Faith's friend Sophie Maxwell has recently married Will Maxwell, their identical last names just a quirky coincidence. Will is a private investigator based in Savannah, Georgia, with a specialty in white collar crimes. His current case has him spending a significant amount of time in Atlanta, however, leaving Sophie on her own to set up a new house for them in Savannah and becoming integrated into Will's large family network. Meanwhile, Faith is dealing with her own family issues. Her middle school-aged daughter is being bullied at school, and her husband has told her he's considering a change, leaving their long-time church to minister to another in a different city.
One night, after Will had left on one of his increasingly frequent — and increasingly lengthy — trips to Atlanta, Sophie goes upstairs to retire for the night. She's living in Will's family home, which is currently being renovated. Opening a wardrobe door to hang up her clothes, she discovers a dead man, a knife in his back. She ran downstairs to call for help, and while the police arrived quickly, when they went to the wardrobe, there was no body to be found. Though Sophie insists that she saw a body, with the lack of any physical evidence and Sophie's inability to prove otherwise, the police quite reasonably assume she imagined it. But when other mysterious events start to occur, and Will stops checking in, Sophie calls on Faith to fly down and stay with her. Faith is thrilled for what she thinks will be a mini-vacation from her own problems, but doesn't realize the magnitude of what she's getting in to until after she arrives.
There are several unusual aspects to The Body in the Wardrobe. First, Faith, for maybe the first time in the series, doesn't actually find the titular body. Second, the storyline is centered not so much on Faith but her friend Sophie Maxwell, who was introduced (or at least featured as a supporting character) in the previous book of the series. And third, the cast of Southern actors and actresses and the atmospheric setting of Savannah specifically and the Low Country in general seems to be more important than the mystery surrounding the missing body. It's all very interesting and well told, to be sure, but the lack of focus on the body and the apparent crime seems rather striking. An entertaining entry in this series, but one that seems more appropriate for long-time fans of the series, who may be more forgiving in how this book is structured overall, than new readers, who may wonder why it is subtitled "A Faith Fairchild Mystery".
Special thanks to guest reviewer Betty of The Betz Review for contributing her review of The Body in the Wardrobe.
Acknowledgment: HarperCollins provided a copy of The Body in the Wardrobe for this review.
Review Copyright © 2015 — Hidden Staircase Mystery Books — All Rights Reserved
Selected reviews of other mysteries by this author …
The Body in the Birches
William Morrow (Hardcover), May 2015
ISBN-13: 9780062310828; ISBN-10: 0062310828
Location(s) referenced in The Body in the Wardrobe: Savannah, Georgia
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The Body in the Wardrobe by Katherine Hall Page — A Faith Fairchild Mystery
Publisher: William Morrow
Publication Date: April 2016
List Price: $25.99
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Page Author: Lance Wright
Site Publisher: Mysterious Reviews
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