Faith Fairchild is momentarily shocked to find her husband, the Reverend Thomas Fairchild, embracing Lora Deane and relieved to discover the distraught nursery school teacher is merely seeking solace and advice. Lora has been receiving threatening phone calls. And she's not the only resident of tiny Aleford, Massachusetts, who is being terrorized. Ever since local environmentalists have begun protesting the proposed housing development that will destroy Beecher's Bog, the more vocal opponents have become targets of a vicious campaign of intimidation-which is more than enough reason for Faith to launch into some clandestine sleuthing. But when a body turns up in the charred ruins of a very suspicious house fire, Faith is suddenly investigating a murder and in serious danger of getting bogged down in a very lethal mess indeed!
About the Author
Katherine Hall Page is the author of twenty-three previous Faith Fairchild mysteries, the first of which received the Agatha Award for best first mystery. The Body in the Snowdrift was honored with the Agatha Award for best novel of 2006. Page also won an Agatha for her short story “The Would-Be Widower.” The recipient of the Malice Domestic Award for Lifetime Achievement, she has been nominated for the Edgar, the Mary Higgins Clark, the Maine Literary, and the Macavity Awards. She lives in Massachusetts and Maine with her husband.
Read an Excerpt
Seeing another woman in the Reverend Thomas Fairchild's arms was not a sight his wife, Faith, had expected. She'd flung open the door to her husband's study prepared to deliver an impassioned account of the infuriating select men's meeting she'd just attended this April evening. In stead, she stood frozen on the threshold, perversely embarrassed at having walked in on something. Then the anger so conveniently close to the surface veered toward another target and she made her presence known by slamming the door-hard.
As a matter of course, Tom had to comfort the afflicted in mind, particularly the bereaved, and Faith could only hope that the woman, whoever she was, had lost her entire family to the bubonic plague, or else there would be some serious explaining due.
While she was considering whether to grab said woman by the hair, wrenching her from the good reverend's grasp, Tom spoke.
"Faith, you're home!"
"Yes, dear," she replied, quelling the impulse to add, "obviously."
She'd no sooner spoken when the woman turned around and abruptly threw herself into Faith's arms. "I'm so glad you're here!" she cried. So was Faith.
It was Miss Lora, almost-five-year-old Benjamin Fair child's beloved nursery school teacher and sometime week end sitter for Ben and his younger sister, Amy. Miss Lora was crying. Miss Lora was upset. Faith patted Miss Lora's back, the fleeting earlier notion of clocking her one totally obscured. This was the woman who provided her son with quality care and-possibly more important-actually enabled the elder Fairchilds to get away for a few weekends alone together.
Faith looked at Tom over Miss Lora's heaving shoulders. It was a bitdifficult to read his expression since, Janus like, one side of his face was registering deep concern while the other displayed acute embarrassment. He repeated his earlier cogent remark. "Ah, honey, you're home," adding, "and early. Good, good, good."
Faith again opted for brevity. "Yes," she replied, trusting that after six years of marriage, Tom could read the volumes between the lines, volumes entitled, "What the Hell Is Going on Here?"
"Lora came to discuss a problem, and I've been trying to convince her that it really is a police matter."
Things were looking up. Faith loved nothing better than poking her nose into police matters. But Miss Lora? What on earth could be going on?
"Absolutely not! No police," Lora said, fishing around ~n her pocket for a tissue, with which she proceeded to blow her already-red nose noisily.
Faith regarded the teacher and thought, not for the first time, that Miss Lora needed to look to a fashion beacon other than Raggedy Ann. Lora wasn't wearing red-and white-striped tights and a ruffled apron at the moment, but these were staples of her wardrobe, which also included a number of shapeless denim and corduroy jumpers, gingham blouses, and the like. She had an abundance of mousy brown hair, worn pulled back with a scrunch. Unlike the doll, however, she did not have even a hint of red on her lips or cheeks. What paint there was lay under her fingernails, the result of active participation with her young charges.
"Why don't we go into the kitchen and have something to eat while you tell me all about it?" Faith suggested. The makeover could wait. "I assume," she said to Tom, "that the children are asleep."
"Naturally," he replied, adopting an attitude of injured dignity as he led the way into the parsonage kitchen.
Copyright ) 1997 by Katherine Hall Page
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Totally enjoyable. Am reading my way thro the whole series and hate to see it end. I highly recommend these mysteries .