Book Review: Katherine Hall Page’s The Body in the Piazza

Posted June 19, 2013 by Kathy Davie in Book Reviews

I received this book for free from the library in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Book Review: Katherine Hall Page’s The Body in the Piazza

The Body in the Piazza


Katherine Hall Page

It is part of the Faith Fairchild #21 series and is a amateur sleuth, mystery that was published by William Morrow on April 30, 2013 and has 256 pages.

Explore it on Goodreads or Amazon.

Other books in this series include Small Plates

Other books by this author which I have reviewed include The Body in the Bouillon, The Body in the Vestibule, The Body in the Cast, The Body in the Basement, The Body in the Bookcase, The Body in the Big Apple, The Body in the Moonlight, The Body in the Bonfire, The Body in the Lighthouse, The Body in the Attic, The Body in the Snowdrift, The Body in the Ivy, The Body in the Sleigh, The Body in the Bog, The Body in the Gazebo, The Body in the Boudoir, The Body in the Birches

Twenty-first in the Faith Fairchild cooking mystery finds Faith and Tom heading back to Italy to help Francesca with her new venture, Cucina della Rossi.

My Take

Oh, wow, Page is so beautifully descriptive — I wanted to catch the next flight to Rome!

Huh, I never knew that what we consider Roman cuisine developed from la cucina ebraico-romanesca. Makes sense though when you consider that what we think of as fine French food was also a case of peasant survival!

Hmm, good bit of travel advice: learn the 9-1-1 for a country you’re visiting! Ya never know when you’ll need it!

Getting the tour of the Rossis’ revamped house and the kitchen…and then the food…oh, lordy…I need some Italian food. It sounds so incredibly glorious! That rabbit dish, the sea bass, and all the asparagus dishes…yum! And I love the explanations Page includes — she slips them in beautifully. No info dumps here! I want to hit the markets, the fratoii, and wineries they visit…!

However, the imprisonments and kidnapping, the undercover bit felt artificial. I can’t believe they didn’t explore the pen before this. I thought it was very unlike Faith to ignore this.

No. No. No, that scene at the Teatro Verdi makes no sense. Why would Faith have to react like this if the good guys know about the situation and even have an agent in the theater? And the big drama between the Russos? Oh, brother…

The Coda at the end was curious…it sounds like Tom and Faith are remembering back to their trip to Italy — this one — as if it happened some years ago.

The Story

It’s been years since Faith and Francesca’s last visit (Body in the Boudoir, 20) and now the Rossis have opened a full-fledged cooking school with week-long culinary classes and Tom suggested a visit to celebrate yet another anniversary.

It’s a beautiful start until their newest friend is murdered. When they get to the Rossis, it’s to find another beautiful start and a gorgeous setting only to encounter another series of hiccups: unpleasant know-it-all fellow guests, a runaway assistant, a murderer who pops back up, and acts of sabotage.

The Characters

Faith Fairchild has settled in as pastor’s wife, chef, and mother while the Reverend Tom Fairchild has resigned himself to his wife’s curiosity, even if he’s still unhappy with it. Ben is at that cranky teen-stage while Amy is their youngest and still sleeping with her stuffed animals. Hope Sibley Lewis is Faith’s sister in New York City. With access to the Internet.

Francesca Rossi had worked for Faith in New York before returning home to marry Gianni and open her own cooking school. Jean-Luc, a Frenchman, is the Rossis’ neighbor who’s been doing up the villa next door — and it’s gorgeous! Alberto is the assistant who has disappeared. Mario is the new assistant. Sandro and Maurizio are the frantoii, olive oil pressers.

Fellow guests for the Rossis’ maiden class include:
Len and Terry Russo from Livingston, New Jersey; Harriet and Sally Culver; Sky Hayes and Jack Sawyer are from Beverly Hills; Olivia is Goth Girl and very unfriendly; and, Roderick and Constance Nashe are the insufferable Brits from Surrey.

Frederick “Freddy” L. Ives, an Englishman who writes travel guides, is a genial, fellow guest at the hotel and offers all sorts of useful advice, including that they dump any guidebooks.

Sam and Pix Miller are their longtime neighbors and friends who have volunteered to take on sitting the house AND the kids. Their son, Dan, is now in IT while Sam works at the Gardner Museum. Niki Constantine is still Faith’s assistant at Have Faith and quite capable of taking care of business — she’ll be bringing her new baby, Sofia, to work — while the Fairchilds are in Italy. Trisha Phelan is a part-time worker.

Paolo is a neighbor of Francesca’s from the village and runs the hotel in Roma. François Dumond is the French minister of culture. Fronte de Liberazione Naziunale Corsu is a terrorist group.

The Cover and Title

The cover is clever with its straight-up shot from within the courtyard of an Italian building, making a very nice frame.

The title is to the point, The Body in the Piazza is most unexpected.


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