This time out, smalltown caterer and minister's wife Faith Fairchild's neighbor, Pix Miller, takes center stage, heading off to Norway to investigate the sudden disappearance of a family friend. Determined to discover the truth, Pix is drawn into a suspenseful world of intrigue, stolen antiques, secret histories, and deadly echoes from Norway's past and the Nazi occupation. Surrounded by the country's breathtaking beauty, the ever-resourceful New Englander perseveres -- until at last she finds herself face-to-face with a remorseless killer...with no way out.
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
"Pix, dear, I have to leave for Norway tomorrow, and I think you'd better come, too. Something rather dreadful has happened and Marit needs us."
"Norway?" Pix Miller was still breathless from catching the phone, and the name of the country was all she could get out at the moment. Norway -- this was considerably farther afield than her mother's usual proposals: lunch at Boston's venerable Chilton Club, bird-watching at the Audubon Sanctuary in Lincoln. Then the rest of what her mother had said hit home and she caught her breath quickly.
"Marit! What's wrong! Is she ill?"
Marit Hansen was one of Ursula Rowe's oldest and dearest friends. They had been girls together, growing up in Aleford, Massachusetts, some eighty years ago. Marit's family had moved back to Norway when Marit was a teenager, but the two friends had always stayed in touch.
"No, Marit's fine, but it appears that Kari's boyfriend, Erik, has been killed in some sort of tragic accident."
"Oh my God! Poor Kari! How is she taking it? What a thing to have to cope with at her age. You met him last summer, didn't you?"
"Yes. He was a student at the university with Kari. They talked about getting married in a few years, when they had enough money to buy an apartment." Ursula Rowe paused as the picture of the happy, carefree couple came to mind. They had taken a picnic to one of the islands near the Hansen's house in Tonsberg, on Norway's east coast. The fjord was filled with boats and the beaches filled with people eagerly storing up the summersunshine against the long, dark winter. Kari, Marit Hansen's granddaughter, and Erik were a beautiful couple -- tall, blue-eyed, blond, so alike as to be brother and sister, except Erik was trying to grow a beard. Kari had teased him about the patchy stubble. Ursula felt very tired. It seemed every time the phone rang, it brought bad news -- sickness or another acquaintance gone. She knew she would never get used to it, no matter how often friends reached for the supposedly comforting platitudes, saying that it went with her age or that, in some cases, it had been a "good" death, mercifully painless, quick.
But this death was different. There was nothing good about it. Erik Sorgard was young, barely out of his teens at twenty-one. He had hardly begun his life. All those hopes and dreams. She realized Pix was speaking.
"Mother, are you still there?" It was unusual for Ursula to tune out.
"Sorry, its all been quite upsetting and I have so much to do to get ready. And you -- you'd better call Sam right away. Samantha can keep an eye on Danny, and we shouldn't be gone too long, I hope."
Ursula had returned to matters at hand, but Pix was confused. Of course Marit would be upset about her granddaughter's fiancé's death, and Ursula's particular brand of care -- a combination of stiff upper lip and subtle coddling -- was always effective, but to drop everything and rush off to Norway now?
"Can't you give yourself a few days to get ready? Why do you have to go tomorrow? I'm sure Marit would understand, and of course I feel terrible and would like to see Kari especially, but I can't just leave." Car pools, her part-time job at her friend and neighbor Faith Fairchild's catering company, plus all the meetings scheduled for this week -- the vestry, the food bank's steering committee, the PTA, the...
She heard a heavy sigh come over the wires. Ursula was not given to sighs, or vapors, or any other Victorian modes of self-expression.
"You wouldn't be able to see Kari. That's the whole point. She's missing. Now, wash, your hands and come over. We'll talk about it while I pack."
Pix peeled off one of her gardening gloves and regarded the dirt that always managed to seep through.
"How did you know I was in the garden?" She had to know. Her mother's clairvoyance could be startling.
"'You were out of breath and you shopped on Saturday. Tuesday morning's your Friends of the Library day and Friday's the hospital. The children are in school and you work for Faith in the afternoons, so where else would you be running in from?"
Hearing her life reduced to such a prosaic open book was depressing. Pix hung up the phone, promising to be there as soon as possible, and went to wash. She'd been thinning a patch of ribbon grass, planted as a small island for contrast in her border, and now the size of Manhattan and the boroughs, threatening to choke out the delphinium and Shasta daisies completely.
Hands clean, she reached for her car keys, then turned back to the phone and called Faith. Briefly, she related Ursula's totally absurd request and promised to stop by to fill Faith in after she'd left her mother's.
"Good," Faith replied. "This sounds interesting. What could possibly happen in quiet little Norway that would send Ursula rushing off like this, especially with you in tow? Maybe you'd better call before you come -- if I'm not here, I'll be at the kitchen. And Pix, your passport hasn't expired again, has it?"
Pix had once made the mistake of revealing this lapse to Faith, who insisted she immediately rectify the situation. "I'd as soon let my driver's license expire! What if someone offered you a free trip to Paris? You wouldn't be able to go," Pix had pointed out the extreme unlikelihood of such an event, and when Faith countered with the suggestion that Sam, Pix's husband, might suddenly propose a romantic getaway to, say, Bali, Pix was forced to admit...The Body in the Fjord. Copyright © by Katherine Page. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.
Table of Contents
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
I picked this up when I needed an easy read, and that's pretty much all I got. Amusing but thin plot line and stock characters....I won't be seeking out any more Faith Fairchild mysteries or recommending them to my mystery loving friends.
The cover says this is a Faith Fairchild Mystery, but the real star is Myrtle ¿Pix¿ Miller, Faith Fairchild¿s neighbor, sleuthing partner and protégé. The usual setting of their adventures is Aleford, Massachusetts, but Pix finds herself in Norway with her mother, Ursula Rowe. Mrs. Rowe and her Norwegian friend Marit Hansen, both octogenarians, want Pix to help find Mrs. Hansen¿s granddaughter Kari, who disappeared while working for Scandie Tours. Kari is not only missing, she¿s wanted for questioning in the suspicious death of her fiancé Erik Sørgard, a death that immediately preceded Kari¿s disappearance. The tour Kari and Erik were employed on, ¿The Little Mermaid Meets the Trolls: Copenhagen to Fjord Country,¿ is still in progress, so Pix and her mother sign up for the last few days, hoping to gather information leading them to Kari. On the tour, Pix and Ursula try to learn all they can about Kari and Erik, and question, subtly of course, the tour participants. After Pix¿s arrival, a large swastika is painted in red on the tour hotel¿s lawn, and the room of one of the women on the tour is broken into. Soon there¿s another murder ¿ and Pix is a suspect. Pix and her mother come up with several questions. Were Erik and Kari involved in drugs ¿ or smuggling? Is there a tie to Norway¿s occupation by the Nazis during World War II or to the sad history of the Stalheim Hotel where the tour group stays? Was Kari trying to find the father she never knew, or the truth about her mother¿s parentage? While investigating, Pix and Ursula learn about Norwegian history, folk dancing, food, customs, antiques and superstitions. They also see, through the eyes of the travelers, the glaciers, fjords, and landscapes of Norway. They meet some interesting characters along the way: the Norwegian bachelor farmers from Fargo, North Dakota (shades of Garrison Keillor¿s Lake Wobegon), a pair of newlyweds honeymooning with his parents, two flirtatious French cousins, and a woman whose father was part of the Norwegian Resistance. I¿ve been reading Faith Fairchild mysteries from the first one and have enjoyed them. Faith Fairchild is one of the most appealing amateur sleuths I¿ve read. However, although I started reading The Body in the Fjord when it came out in hardcover in 1997, I never finished it. My disappointment was in having the story focus on Pix, with Faith relegated to a few pages as Pix¿s long-distance mentor. This year, I finished it and have to say, I really liked it. The setting in Norway is delicious. I know little about the Land of the Midnight Sun and, after seeing it through Pix¿s eyes, I¿ve put it on my list of dream-travel destinations. The Body in the Fjord is every bit as good as those in the series which focus on Faith. Body on the Fjord features solid writing, a plot that moves along, enough suspense to make it interesting, quirky characters and situations, and a plucky heroine. All nicely tied together at the end ¿ with recipes, including one for lutefisk. By Diana. First Published in Mystery NewsReview based on publisher- or author-provided review copy.
A place to keep Elven boats.