Katherine Hall Page combines the beauty of the most innocent celebrations of the Christmas season with the brutality of drug trafficking, and the violence it brings to even the smallest, most isolated communities. The Body in the Sleigh, the eighteenth Faith Fairchild mystery, is a fascinating study in contrasts.
Faith Fairchild and her husband, the Reverend Thomas Fairchild, needed the refuge of their summer home in Maine after a difficult fall, deaths, and health problems. Scooping up their children, they moved to Sanpere Island, where they did little more than sleep, eat, and spend time together as a family, enjoying the Christmas customs on the island. And, it was while doing just that, enjoying a display at the local historical society, that Faith found the body of a young woman in a sleigh.
When Faith hears from a friend, Mary Bethany, that she found a baby on her doorstep, the immediate conclusion is the baby belonged to the dead woman. Can there really be two troubled women in such a small community? But drug dealers have found their way to Maine, and they've wormed their way into the lives of many young people. Faith, who thought Maine was so peaceful, and Mary, a quiet woman who lived alone, raising goats, are going to find their lives interrupted by strangers, and violence.
Page skillfully uses the beauty of the community, and the community life of iceboating, meals together, and innocent activities to contrast with the ugly, dirty lives of the drug dealers and users, lives that are often violent, ending in tragedy. In fact, the violence is even more graphic because of the contrast in the island life of most of the residents, and, the isolated life led by Mary Bethany. It's a troubling story that points out how pervasive drugs have become, even in small communities.
Page's fans will eagerly scoop up The Body in the Sleigh, with its traditional mystery and inclusion of recipes. And, librarians should scoop it up for the glowing tribute to libraries and librarians. Thank you, Katherine Hall Page, for that beautiful dedication.
Katherine Hall Page's website is www.Katherine-Hall-Page.org
The Body in the Sleigh by Katherine Hall Page. HarperCollins Publishers, ©2009. ISBN 9780061474255 (hardcover), 256p.
FTC Full Disclosure - Review copy sent by the publisher, in hopes I would review it.