KATHERINE HALL PAGE – The Body in the Fjord.

Avon, paperback reprint; 1st printing, November 1998. Hardcover first edition: William Morrow, November 1997.

PAGE The Body in the Fjord

   False advertising. Although her name is not on the front cover, itís on the back cover and all over the first couple of blurb pages. This is supposedly a ďFaith FairchildĒ mystery, and it isnít.

   Faith Fairchild, for those of you who may not know, is a ministerís wife who lives in Aleford MA (a small fictional village somewhere outside Boston), and sheís solved many a case in her day, but not this one. She appears in a few pages at the beginning, a couple in the middle at the other end of a telephone call, and a few more at the end. Thatís all.

   Besides being a sleuth, a wife and a mother, and not necessarily in that order, Faith also has a catering business on the side. Working for her part-time is Pix Miller. What Pix knows about murder cases, sheís learned from Faith, but it hardly seems enough for her to tackle a bookís worth of adventure on her own Ė and it isnít, Iím reluctantly sorry to say.

   Pix and her mother Ursula head for Norway in this book Ė which should hardly come as a surprise, given the title of the book Ė where they try to track down Kari, the granddaughter of Ursulaís best friend Marit. Kari and Eric, her boy friend, had been working as stewards on a guided tour through the land of the fjords for a group largely consisting of Americans.

PAGE The Body in the Fjord

   But Eric has been found dead, and Kari is missing. You might think it would be the utmost in audaciousness for two American women to come to a foreign country to do the job of the local police, and for the most part, you would be right. Mitigating this rather shaky basis of the story line is the picturesque quality of the tour they join, asking all kinds of questions as they go. Most of the central part of the book is as much a travelogue as it is a mystery, which is what we primarily signed up for, or at least I did, complete with recipes in the back.

   Possible reasons for Kariís disappearance: she and Eric may have stumbled upon a stronghold of Nazi survivors or sympathisizers; or a gang of smugglers of Norwegian artifacts; or a cabal of industrial spies in the oil business; or the romance between the two young people may have ended in a loversí spat and that is that.

   Or any combination of the above. The police donít make an appearance until page 167, leaving Pix and her mother the only ones on the scene asking questions and getting into serious trouble, especially Pix. Itís all a case of too much, which is quite a paradox, since itís also a case of far too little.

   Hereís a list of all the Faith Fairchild books, expanding upon the entry in Crime Fiction IV, by Allen J. Hubin. Iíd recommend that you read one or another of this list instead, at least for the first one. If youíve already read one, youíre probably way ahead of me on this.

PAGE The Body in the Belfry

The Body in the Belfry. St. Martinís 1990
The Body in the Bouillon. St. Martinís 1991
The Body in the Kelp. St. Martinís 1991
The Body in the Vestibule. St. Martinís 1992
The Body in the Cast. St. Martinís 1993
The Body in the Basement. St. Martinís 1994
The Body in the Bog. Morrow 1996
The Body in the Fjord. Morrow 1997
The Body in the Bookcase. Morrow 1998
The Body in the Big Apple. Morrow 1999
The Body in the Moonlight. Morrow 2001
The Body in the Bonfire. Morrow 2002
The Body in the Lighthouse. Morrow 2003
The Body in the Attic. Morrow 2004
The Body in the Snowdrift. Morrow 2005
The Body in the Ivy. Morrow 2006
The Body in the Gallery. Morrow 2008