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4.0 out of 5 stars The Body in the Bonfire
The 12th in the author's chronicles of New England caterer/sleuth Faith Fairchild removes her from the side of her minister husband Tom and their children Amy and Ben for some undercover work in Mansfield Academy, a nearby private boys' high school, where Patsy Avery, Faith's longtime lawyer friend, occasionally teaches. One of her students, junior Daryl Martin, has been...
Published on Aug. 22 2002

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3.0 out of 5 stars A 3.4 on a scale of 1 to 5, Good not Great
"The Body in the Bonfire" once again features the indomitable sleuth, Faith Fairchild, minister's wife and suburban Boston caterer by day, Nancy Drew by night.
In this installment, Faith teaches a cooking class at a second or third tier boarding school in her New England town. She has a secret assignment, which is to find out who is sending racial slur...
Published on Aug. 7 2003 by crazyforgems


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3.0 out of 5 stars A 3.4 on a scale of 1 to 5, Good not Great, Aug. 7 2003
By 
crazyforgems (Wellesley, MA United States) - See all my reviews
"The Body in the Bonfire" once again features the indomitable sleuth, Faith Fairchild, minister's wife and suburban Boston caterer by day, Nancy Drew by night.
In this installment, Faith teaches a cooking class at a second or third tier boarding school in her New England town. She has a secret assignment, which is to find out who is sending racial slur messages to the one black student. The school is filled with a cast of colorful characters: a way too preppy good boy/bad boy student, the Russian wife of the headmaster, an intense guru like professor and so on. The plot thickens when someone shows up dead in the school's annual bonfire.
I always enjoy these books. However, I have found-particularly in this one-Hall throws out a lot of cliches. She does not offer much depth in her characters or in her story. For example, most private schools in New England today (even second and third tier ones) have more than one black student (many whose parents pay) as well as a number of Asian, Hispanic and other ethnic and religious minorities. Her depiction of Aleford,the boarding school, does not ring true in the early 00's. In addition, she loves to poke fun at the down-to-earth, Yankee frugality and sensibilities of her neighbors. Yes, her observations were true about 25 years ago. However, most New England towns are filled with a more diverse and sophisticated population in the early 00's than in her books. Finally, while she seems ever so concerned about political correctness throughout the novel vis a vis ethnic and religious minorities, she is beyond condescending to the blue collar female police officer. At the end of the book, Faith offers to help her with her makeup. Please, talk about noblesse oblige.
Still, this book is an enjoyable read. Plus, you get some very good recipes at the end.
I'd recommend this book to those who enjoy cozy mysteries and previous Page books. I wouldn't recommend this book to those who require too much depth in their mysteries (a la Elizabeth George) or books.
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4.0 out of 5 stars The Body in the Bonfire, Aug. 22 2002
By A Customer
This review is from: The Body In The Bonfire: A Faith Fairchild Mystery (Hardcover)
The 12th in the author's chronicles of New England caterer/sleuth Faith Fairchild removes her from the side of her minister husband Tom and their children Amy and Ben for some undercover work in Mansfield Academy, a nearby private boys' high school, where Patsy Avery, Faith's longtime lawyer friend, occasionally teaches. One of her students, junior Daryl Martin, has been the target of racist e-mails, newspaper clippings, and now a noose placed on a pillow. Patsy urges Faith to teach a cooking class at the school and use her detective skills to uncover Daryl's tormenter. Taking the job in the kitchen of Mansfield's Charleton House, Faith holds up a magnifying glass to students and staff ranging from headmaster Robert Harcourt and his flamboyant wife Zoe to games mistress Connie Reed, some oddball professors, and a few rather strange students like slick, handsome Sloane Buxton. As Faith sneakily searches rooms, tries to find out who's tampering with her kitchen ingredients and who has stolen Zoe's precious jewels, Sloane turns up missing, only to be found dead on the school's annual Bonfire Night. It takes another death, a lot more snooping, and the discovery of computer records and a host of uncovered secrets before Faith has all the answers. Clarity and suspense are often lost to slow-moving gossip, but Faith's fans are sure to be pleased with another of the author's always readable stories.
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4.0 out of 5 stars COOKING FOR IDIOTS COOKS UP MURDER!, May 24 2002
By 
Robert Edler "Master Of Mystery" (Saint Louis, Missouri USA) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Body In The Bonfire: A Faith Fairchild Mystery (Hardcover)
This is my first visit to the world of Catering Capers with Faith Fairchild and I found it very enjoyable. The book opens in the middle of January when no one is in the mood for social affairs, which in turn makes Faith's catering business less than bustling. So she agrees to go undercover (in the guise of teaching a Cooking For Idiots class) at a boys' prep school to investigate some racist attacks against the school's sole African-American student.
Unfortunately, the only thing her class cooks up is theft and multiple murders - one being that of her prime suspect in the racist attack who turns up well done in a school rally bonfire. But we know all the incidents have to be connected someway. And Faith will figure it all out in the end with some surprising results.
Faith is a very likable heroine - her adventures make for fun reading and her recipes at the end of the book are quite tasty. The Smothered Pork Chops were first rate, but her Peanut Butter Cookies couldn't compare to the ones my mother used to make.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Not great, but not bad either, March 19 2002
By A Customer
This review is from: The Body In The Bonfire: A Faith Fairchild Mystery (Hardcover)
This latest installment in this series has a lot going for it. It is centered in a New England boarding school peopled with interesting characters, many of whom the author does a better than usual job of portraying. Our intrepid heroine gets lots of opportunities to be intrepid, including engaging in some conduct that is moderately indefensible (such as wholesale room searches). The plot is a bit on the unconvincing side, given that it depends on the confluence of two (and, depending on how you count, maybe three) entirely independent sets of events.
The editing job on this book is also better than usual, with the exception of a couple of name mistakes. (Thomas Moser cherry furniture is fabulous, but the book unhappily corrupts the name to Thomas Mosher, an entity of whom I have never heard.)
The primary down side to this book is that I bought it in hardback and read it in a couple of hours. I would be happier about spending the money for the hardback if the book had supplied a longer period of absorption.
As I said, not a great book, but a pleasant one.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Body in the Bonfire, March 11 2002
By 
Karen Potts (Lake Jackson, Texas) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Body In The Bonfire: A Faith Fairchild Mystery (Hardcover)
Faith Fairchild, intrepid caterer, mother of two, and wife of a minister, is asked by her friend Patsy to teach a cooking class to a group of boys at the local prep school. The real purpose of her time on campus, however, will be for her to investigate some hateful e-mail and veiled threats again a young African-American student. Faith agrees and is thrust into the middle of campus intrigue and political maneuverings among students and faculty. Just as her investigation begins to bear fruit, Faith is horrified by the death of one of her suspects at the campus bonfire. Another death follows, and Faith has even more of a mystery to untangle. Gradually the guilty parties are identified and the loose ends of the plot are neatly tied up by Page. Added to this are two sub-plots about Faith's in-laws and her neighbor's son, and her cooking tips and recipes included in the book. It all adds up to an entertaining package and one I hearily recommend!
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4.0 out of 5 stars Faith teaches a cooking class and solves a murder, April 8 2002
By 
Moe811 (New York USA) - See all my reviews
This review is from: The Body In The Bonfire: A Faith Fairchild Mystery (Hardcover)
Faith Fairchild is asked by her friend Patsy, to teach a course called "Cooking for Idiots" at Mansfield, a local private school. There is an alterior motive, an African American student has been the victim of an anonymous harrassment campaign, that is getting progressively more sinister. The main suspect is an apparently perfect senior named Sloane. Sloane ends up as kindling for the annual bonfire and the harrassed student, Darryl, is the main suspect. Pix is also having problems with her youngest son Danny, and Tom's parents are having marital problems.
I was looking forward to this novel, and was not disappointed. The characters of Aleford are as colorful as usual and Mansfield provides many new ones. The red herrings obscure the solution, adding to the fun.
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3.0 out of 5 stars GOOD, BUT NOT PAGE'S BEST., Jan. 15 2003
By 
Lisa Bahrami (orlando, fl USA) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Body In The Bonfire: A Faith Fairchild Mystery (Hardcover)
I've read every book in the Faith Fairchild series and have been generally pleased that the author has kept up the quality of the plotting and writing over the years.While I enjoyed this book fairly well, it just seemed a little off the mark. The references to popular teen culture (music, PC games etc) seemed a bit forced. The plot involving hate crimes at a upper-crust boarding school seemed to peter out and appeared to be used just for effect. The character of Daryl may be black but there is nothing in Page's characterization of him that is genuine and rings true. The same is true of the hate crimes plot.Page can do much, much better than this.
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The Body In The Bonfire: A Faith Fairchild Mystery
The Body In The Bonfire: A Faith Fairchild Mystery by Katherine H Page (Hardcover - Feb. 7 2002)
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