The Body in the Piazza (Faith Fairchild Series #21)

The Body in the Piazza (Faith Fairchild Series #21)

3.2 14
by Katherine Hall Page

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Faith Fairchild is going to Italy, where murder and mayhem mix with pecorino, panna cotta, and Prosecco, in the latest entry in this "highly entertaining mystery series [that] effectively mixes modern-day moral dilemmas with charm, warmth, and humor" (Booklist)

The Body in the Piazza

To celebrate their wedding anniversary, intrepid caterer

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Faith Fairchild is going to Italy, where murder and mayhem mix with pecorino, panna cotta, and Prosecco, in the latest entry in this "highly entertaining mystery series [that] effectively mixes modern-day moral dilemmas with charm, warmth, and humor" (Booklist)

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.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Page’s delightful 21st Faith Fairchild mystery (after 2012’s The Body in the Boudoir) takes the Aleford, Mass., caterer and her husband, the Rev. Thomas Fairchild, to Italy to celebrate a special anniversary—and to attend the cooking school of Francesca Rossi, a Tuscan friend whom they last saw on their honeymoon in Northern Italy years before. While in Rome, the couple meets the charming Freddy Ives, a British travel writer. Soon after, while enjoying a romantic stroll in the Piazza Farnese, they have the misfortune to witness Freddy suffer a mortal knife wound in a scuffle with a man who flees. The wonderful food at Francesca’s cooking school in Tuscany can’t distract Faith and Tom from trying to solve Freddy’s murder. Hungry readers will rush to the kitchen if not to their travel agent to book tickets to Italy. Agent: Faith Hamlin, Sanford J. Greenburger Associates. (May)
Harlan Coben
Katherine Hall Page is my favorite writer of the traditional mystery.
Diane Mott Davidson
“Katherine Hall Page's intellect and wit shine through in every line...Hungry readers, enjoy!
South Florida Sun Sentinel
[Page] is an expert at the puzzle mystery.
Denver Post
[An] endearing series.
A highly entertaining mystery series [that] effectively mixes modern-day moral dilemmas with charm, warmth, and humor.
Connecticut Post
“Page's ability to keep her characters and plots fresh for more htan two decades is quite remarkable...Page has yet to disappointe readers...[The Body in the Piazza] is one of the most entertaining and most sophisticated entries in the series...[it] is just about perfect escapism.”
Kirkus Reviews
The Fairchilds celebrate their 25th anniversary in a Tuscany cooking school complete with wine, olives, secretive companions and homicide. Caterer Faith Fairchild and her pastor husband, Tom, have a few days in Rome before heading for the outskirts of Florence for the inaugural week of her former assistant Francesca's Cucina Rossi cooking program. They're befriended by Freddy Ives, who reveals few personal details but knows the best restaurants, cafes and tourist vistas in town. To the Fairchilds' horror, he's stabbed to death in a Roman piazza, grasping for his pen and saying, "They're going to ki...." The police seem uninterested, and the Fairchilds, who barely caught a glimpse of the attacker, head for the Tuscany hills, where Francesca's cooking students are gathered. There are a bickering couple, possibly contemplating divorce; a goth girl with facial piercings; a British couple who find fault with everything; a pair of lovebirds; some Southern ladies; and Francesca's neighbor Luke, who owns a grand palazzo and the surrounding vineyards. The group has barely warmed up the oven when Francesca's assistant quits, decapitated snakes are left in all the bathtubs, Faith is locked in an Etruscan tomb, Tom is kidnapped, Freddy's notebook is discovered in the palazzo, and his pen turns up too, startling one and all. It will take a call to Faith's sister back in the States to get the British Embassy involved and separate an assassination plot from the shenanigans of a jealous local, but not to worry: The cooking school is a major success, and the participants leave with a nice set of recipes. Tuscany food markets, extra virgin olive oil and historic sites are all rendered with Page's typical gusto and charm (The Body in the Boudoir, 2012, etc.), but, again typically, the plot collapses since logic and reason remain missing ingredients.
New York Times Book Review
“Enticing recipes at the back of the book and cooking tips sprinkled throughout ... The crime is solved satisfactorily...[but] let’s be honest: most of us came for the food.”

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Product Details

HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date:
Faith Fairchild Series, #21
Product dimensions:
6.30(w) x 9.00(h) x 1.10(d)

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The Body in the Piazza 3.2 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 14 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I've read all the Faith Fairchild series. This one was a little harder to get into. I thought there was more people backround than before. I found myself skipping many of the details about Italy and cooking to get to the plot of the mystery. It didn't become a real page turner until the last few chapters. I won't give up on the series. I just didn't feel this was one of the better books in the series.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Between the Italian phrases and excerpts from literature this was difficult to read.
kitty347 More than 1 year ago
Very disappointing. Too much travelogue/food info and not enough mystery. I had the audio version so I couldn't skip over the endless descriptions of food and countryside. Though very expressive, the narrator mispronounced so many  culinary (and other) words, it became annoying to me. I love this series and I hope the next installment gets back on track.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
A 1st for me - a review prior to finishing the book. At the half-way point I am no longer impressed with all the Italian words, history and foods. I find myself craving some story substance. I've met many characters with, you guessed it, Italian names but know very little about any of them. Even the main characters are only superficially known. The "body in the piazza" was found many, many pages ago and was seemingly just a passing backseat incident which snuck into a story of Italian ways and places and menus. Having travelled in some of these same places, I find the descriptions given to be lacking in providing a good mind picture of the true Italian experience. It is a rare occasion for me to toss a book before finishing it and I will give this a few more chapters but, frankly, other than a few nicely put together sentences this is a little too slow-moving for me and does not tempt me to stay up past my bedtime.
Mainelady More than 1 year ago
Faith and her husband, clergyman Tom,  after years of sermons for him, salads and sauces for her, and sporting events for their children, are finally able to get away by themselves for a relaxing and romantic second honeymoon in Italy.  Faith's former catering helper Francesca has opened an Italian cooking school in the hills of  Tuscany, and has asked Tom and Faith to be among her first guests. Naturally, the Fairchilds become embroiled in a murder mystery before they even get out of Rome to head for the hills.  As all of you who have read the series know, Faith can't leave this one alone, but unlike previous stories, the mystery really takes a back seat to the food and Italian scenery.  The recipes while not over-whelming in number are, as always, mouth-watering.  The characters are a rather eclectic assortment of odd-balls who don't always meld as a group. Faith has always known when NOT to try to solve something on her own, but during this story, I often wondered if she had forgotten all about the poor dead Freddie. It took her awhile, but Page finally managed to wrap everything up like a big fat well sauced <i>canneloni</i>. Overall, it's another delightful episode in the peripatetic career of Faith Fairchild, girl snoop.  The setting is one that makes the reader want to book a flight to Italy immediately.  If only Francesca's hostel were real and affordable.  In the meantime, we can drift away in a wonderful dream of what might be. Would definitely recommend for mystery fans who want some yumyumm without too much blood and gore. I'm not sure there's enough here in this one for a book club discussion.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Like all Faith Fairchild books, this one was lots of fun and a great read. Read one and you want to ready EVERYONE of Ms. Page's books about Faith.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Katherine Hall Page keeps this series interesting with different locale and interesting stories. I often get tired/bored with a long series and abandon many after the first few books. This one has kept me coming back over the years. In addition to stories and recipes, I think I enjoy Ms. Page's thoughtful essays at the end of each book as much as anything!
BuriedUnderBooks More than 1 year ago
The particular pleasure of a Faith Fairchild novel is that it&rsquo;s like spending an afternoon or two with an old friend and The Body in the Piazza is no exception. In fact, I&rsquo;d have to say that any quibble I have with this entry in the series has to do with the setting. Italy is certainly a good place to have a cooking-related mystery but I think I prefer Faith&rsquo;s adventures in the village of Aleford, Massachusetts, or perhaps in the wider region of New England. Still, I can&rsquo;t fault Ms. Page for wanting to take Faith to other places occasionally, especially when you consider that this is the 21st book in the series. If she stayed in Aleford all the time, she might be tainted with Cabot Cove Syndrome ;) So off Faith and Tom have gone, celebrating their anniversary with a trip to Italy and, while they&rsquo;re at it, helping some old friends launch their culinary school in Tuscany. Before they get to Tuscany, though, they witness the death of a very different sort of man they&rsquo;d just met. &ldquo;Very different&rdquo; turns out to be a term that they could easily apply to some of the other guests they find at Francesca and Gianni Rossi&rsquo;s school, especially since a few of them seem to be completely out of place and, when suspicious things start happening, Faith can&rsquo;t resist getting to the bottom of things, with more than a little help from Tom. Besides the characters I already knew, I found myself quite engaged with Olivia, a goth girl who really doesn&rsquo;t seem to fit in, and with Roderick and Constance Nashe, even though these Brits are very aloof and unpleasant. I wanted to know more about these three just because they were so different and I&rsquo;m happy to say the author satisfied my curiosity quite nicely. When all is said and done, The Body in the Piazza is what I consider a nice, comfortable read with a few surprises (although it wasn&rsquo;t hard to figure things out) and some recipes, not to mention scrumptious descriptions of the food Francesca has the students make. I could have done with a little less travelogue and a little more puzzle but I&rsquo;m still a fan of this traditional mystery series and probably always will be.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Too much description of all the surroundings The mystery felt lije an after thought
Purple_Grandma More than 1 year ago
Disappointing. The actual story could have been told in about 30 pages with the rest just food talk filler. Maybe good if you are big time food snob. Not good otherwise.
mysteriesformeCA More than 1 year ago
Ms Page outdid herself this time! I've loved every book in this series, but this one was outstanding. Besides the mystery, we are treated to Italian cooking (plus recipes) and wonderful but brief descriptions of Italy, city, countryside, restaurants and shops. The murder was cleverly incorporated into the story and I did not figure it out. Will it be two years before the next body book is published. Impatience here can't wait!
MedPhys More than 1 year ago
I always look forward to a new Katherine Hall Page.