At home on Sanpere Island, Maine, caterer and amateur sleuth Faith Fairchild discovers that real estate can be murder, especially when it’s all in the family, in this twenty-second book in the popular mystery series.
The Fourth of July is one of the hottest on record and even the breeze off Penobscot Bay can’t seem to cool things down for Faith Fairchild and the rest of the folks on Sanpere Island. But the fireworks are just beginning. After the celebrations are over, Faith discovers a body in the woods near The Birches, an early twentieth-century “cottage.”
The body is identified as The Birches’ housekeeper, who seems to have succumbed to a heart attack. The death is only one of the dramatic events upending the historic house. A family gathering has been called to decide who will inherit the much loved, and very valuable, estate that has been in the Proctor family for generations. With this much money involved, it’s just a matter of time before trouble arises.
Faith is juggling her own family problems. Her teenage son, Ben, has started a new job as a dishwasher at The Laughing Gull Lodge—learning things that could land him in very hot water. And her daughter Amy is worried about her new friend, Daisy Proctor. Daisy is terrified—convinced that someone is trying to eliminate her mother from getting a share of The Birches. To protect her children, Faith has to find a possible murderer—before he strikes too close to her own home.
Set on Sanpere, a resort island off the Maine coast, Page's winning 22nd Faith Fairchild mystery (after 2013's The Body in the Piazza) centers on who will inherit the Birches, a summer "cottage" built in the late 19th century by Josiah and Eleanor Proctor, the great-grandparents of Sophie Maxwell. A year after the death of Sophie's childless great-aunt, Priscilla McAllister, the prospective heirs are summoned to the Birches by Sophie's great-uncle-in-law, Paul McAllister. Per his late wife's request, Paul must decide which Proctor descendant will get the grand house. Could the death of the Birches' housekeeper, Bev, be related to the fierce competition among the family for Paul's favor? Meanwhile, caterer Faith, her minister husband, and their two children are summering on Sanpere. When 15-year-old Ben Fairchild, for whom Sophie once babysat, unwittingly puts her life in grave danger, the stakes and the suspense rise. Tasty recipes round out the volume.