Sunday, January 19, 2014

Mystery of the Month: The Body in the Piazza

To celebrate their wedding anniversary, intrepid caterer and sometime sleuth Faith Fairchild and her husband, the Reverend Tom Fairchild, are off to Italy for a vacation filled with exquisite indulgences—the art, the Chianti, the food, the Ferragamos! The plan is to spend a romantic weekend in Rome, before heading to Tuscany for a stay at Cucina della Rossi, a cooking school founded by Faith’s back-in-the-day assistant Francesca Rossi.

Faith is certain that the only intrigue in store for her will be learning the secret recipe for Nona Rossi's ragu. But a thicker plot begins to simmer when the Fairchilds accidentally stumble upon a dying man in the Piazza Farnese. It's clear from the knife in the victim's chest that murder is on the menu.

Mysterious faces from Rome reappear in Tuscany. To Faith, this is no coincidence. And somebody is intent on sabotaging Francesca's new business by spoiling the cream and salting the flour. As Faith struggles to follow a trail more twisting than fusilli, she may be putting both herself and her husband in hot water.

Katherine Hall Page was born and grew up in New Jersey, graduating from Livingston High School. Her father was the Executive Director of The Kessler Institute for Rehabilitation and her mother was an artist. Page has an older brother and a younger sister. Early on the family developed a love of the Maine coast, spending summer vacations on Deer Isle. She received her BA from Wellesley College, majoring in English and went on to a Masters in Secondary Education from Tufts and a Doctorate in Administration, Public Planning, and Social Policy from Harvard. College had brought her to Massachusetts and she continues to reside there. Before her career as a full-time writer, Ms. Page taught at the high school level for many years. She developed a program for adolescents with special emotional needs, a school within a school model, that dealt with issues of truancy, substance abuse, and family relationships. Those five years in particular were rich ones for her. This interest in individuals and human behavior later informed her writing.

Married for thirty-seven years to Professor Alan Hein, an experimental psychologist at MIT, the couple have a twenty-nine-year-old son. It was during her husband's sabbatical year in France after the birth of their son that Ms. Page wrote her first mystery, The Body in the Belfry, 1991 Agatha Award winner for Best First Mystery Novel. The fifteenth in the series, The Body in the Snowdrift , won the 2006 Agatha Award for Best Mystery Novel. Ms. Page was also awarded the 2001 Agatha for Best Short Story for "The Would-Be Widower" in the Malice Domestic X collection (Avon Books). She was an Edgar nominee for her juvenile mystery, Christie & Company Down East. The Body in the Bonfire was an Agatha nominee in 2003. Page's short story, "The Two Mary's" was an Agatha nominee in 2004. The Body in the Lighthouse (2003) was one of three nominees for The Mary Higgins Clark Award. The Body in the Boudoir was a finalist in the 2013 Maine Literary Awards. The Body in the Piazza, the twenty-first in the series, is out now from William Morrow in hardcover, large print, E-book, and audio editions.

Descended from Norwegian-Americans on her mother's side and New Englanders on her father's, Ms. Page grew up listening to all sorts of stories. She remains an unabashed eavesdropper and will even watch your slides or home movies to hear your narration. Her books are the product of all the strands of her life and she plans to keep weaving.

Bookstores: (signed books, including backlist copies in HC)


  1. I haven't tried this series yet, but you can bet I will now. Excellent post
    Marja McGraw

  2. I LOVE this series. it's one of my favorites. I've read all the books but this one.

  3. Katherine, your latest sounds "delicious"! I haven't read your series yet, but you're definitely now on my list! Thanks, Patricia, for introducing me to another interesting author. Love your mystery of the month series. (by the way, what a nice name you have--Katherine Hall Page--very classy)

  4. Thanks, Patricia. Her series sounds intriguing. Worth a try!

  5. Thanks, Patricia, for introducing me to this writer. I was not familiar with her, in spite of her various awards. My mistake. Thanks, Ms. Page for sharing with us.

  6. I've read every one of Katherine's "The Body in the . . . ." novels, including "The Body in the Piazza," and I loved them all. Reading this most recent book took me to Italy in every sense and it was a wonderful trip.

  7. Many thanks to all and do let me know what you think of this book or others you might read either through my web site comment option or my Facebook page. And I'm very proud of my middle name! My father's beloved grandmother, a stong minded Illinois teacher. Katherine

  8. Pleased to have this tip off to an author new to me. (and, I'm new to the post, via fb's Mystery Most Cozy.)
    Katherine, I will look for your title as my husband's family is entirely from Italy & we have developed an affection for visiting family there. My roots are in Hunterdon County, N.J., tho when my father retired from state govt. we moved to Sarasota, FL
    Brava! to you for your mysteries,
    Jan Godown Annino

  9. I'm a Jersey Girl myself! Essex County, but know Hunterdon well. Beautiful. But you are in a great place now too. We're bracing for another winter storm here in Boston.

  10. Sounds like an engrossing mystery! Congrats and best wishes.