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The Body in the Snowdrift
Series: Faith Fairchild #14
Other books by this author that I've reviewed include The Body in the Bouillon, The Body in the Vestibule, The Body in the Cast, The Body in the Basement, The Body in the Bookcase, The Body in the Big Apple, The Body in the Moonlight, The Body in the Bonfire, The Body in the Lighthouse, The Body in the Attic, The Body in the Ivy, The Body in the Sleigh, The Body in the Bog, The Body in the Gazebo, The Body in the Boudoir, The Body in the Piazza, The Body in the Birches.
Fourteenth chronologically and fifteenth in the publication order in the Faith Fairchild cooking mystery series that finds the Fairchild family in Vermont.
In 2006, The Body in the Snowdrift won the Agatha Award for Best Mystery Novel.
It’s an interesting look at family dynamics. Amongst the Fairchilds, Betsey resents being invisible — everyone refers to the “Fairchild boys” — and the family disciplinarian for the boys; Craig has been so petted and rescued that he’s never developed his own identity; and, Robert has been an athletic nonentity. Fred and Naomi Stafford actually set all the events in motion with how they treated Joanie/Ophelia. An opportunity happily taken up by Aunt Gertrude.
That’s just the business externals. From the outside, all the Fairchilds look happy until you get a closer look at Craig and his new bride, Glenda, and the relationships between Betsey and the boys and between her and her husband, Dennis. Personally, I think Faith should get a sainthood.
The Staffords’ personal issues are exploding all over the place. “Ophelia” resembles Shakespeare’s Ophelia fairly well. Betsey is driving the boys away; Scott is particularly interested in Ophelia’s orbit while Ophelia herself is being sucked into Gertrude’s sphere of influence. Who can blame her? At least Gertrude treats her like a person. Craig is panting at Fred’s heels while his wife is panting at her ski instructor’s.
Life is imploding everywhere.
It was rather weird at the end when we jumped from the third week in February to Thanksgiving.
It’s Dick Fairchild’s birthday this Valentine’s Day in 2004 and he wants the whole Fairchild clan to spend the week at Pine Slopes.
Faith is resigned to an entire week spent with Tom’s family but murder steps in. A valued friend and investor is found dead of what is thought to be natural causes. Then the chef for the restaurant disappears, and Faith very gratefully steps in to help out. More acts of sabotage follow. None of it makes sense and Simon is working overtime to put a good spin on things.
In between, the week is a success. Ben and Amy are getting intensive ski lessons with Ben picking up tips on boarding from Ophelia, Scott, and Andy, and the older Fairchild boys are on the slopes morning, noon, and night.
Faith Fairchild is a caterer with a very successful business, Have Faith. She’s also married to The Reverend Tom Fairchild, and they have two children, Ben and Amy.
Dick Fairchild is Tom’s father and is celebrating his 70th birthday with his wife and children: Craig (his new bride is Glenda), Betsey (married to Dennis; they have sons whom I think are Scott and Andy (I’m trying to recreate this)), Robert, and Tom.
Aunt Gertrude is Miss love-and-peace herself.
Pine Slopes is…
…a ski resort in Vermont owned by Naomi and Fred Staffords, friends of the Fairchilds and where the Fairchilds have had a condo since before Tom was born. Joanie, oops, sorry, Ophelia (Joanie renamed herself) is Naomi’s daughter and Fred’s stepdaughter. Simon Tanner is the manager.
The Cover and Title
What a subtly gruesome cover! And so appropriate with the snow-laden trees…it also reminds us of the title, The Body in the Snowdrift, or what remains of it.