A caterer juggles three mysteries: one old, one new—and the third both borrowed and blue.
If only Faith Fairchild’s life could be as simple as her recipes. (Who’da thunk anyone would need an entire page of directions to explain how to sauté some potatoes with sage?) But no sooner does her best friend, Pix Rowe Miller, leave town than Pix’s elderly mom confides that unbeknownst to her children, Ursula Rowe had a wastrel brother, Theo, who was murdered in the eponymous gazebo one summer at Martha’s Vineyard. Meanwhile, old sourpuss Sherman Monroe accuses Rev. Thomas Fairchild, Faith’s husband, of pilfering $10,000 from the Minister’s Discretionary Fund. Finally, a rather pixilated Pix calls from Hilton Head, where she and her husband Sam are helping their son plan his big fat South Carolina intermarriage by consuming inordinate amounts of champagne. She lays on Faith (The Body in the Sleigh, 2009, etc.) the news that, in college, she downed a considerable amount of punch and slept with the bride’s father, Dr. Stephen Cohen—and now he doesn’t even remember. Faith juggles the three puzzles while dispensing Gunpowder Punch at the library and Fruit Breakfast Puffs at the Uppity Women’s Luncheon Club, all the time pining for her native New York, as Page reminds readers every other paragraph.
Even for a minister’s wife, the devil’s in the details. Page’s persistent lack of precision (Faith goes to New York to eat a pastrami on rye with an egg cream—two Big Apple treats not known to be served together) undermines her authenticity.