Saturday, May 18, 2013

The Body in the Piazza, by Katherine Hall Page: a review

When Dorothy Sayers finally got Lord Peter Wimsey and Harriet Vane to marry, in Busman's Honeymoon, she subtitled the book "A Love Story with Detective Interruptions."  I would call The Body in the Piazza a food and wine tour with detective interruptions.  I am much more of a connoisseur of love than of food and wine: for one thing, it's much easier to give the flavor of lovemaking in a few words.  That may be the reason that, although I found Katherine Hall Page gracious and lovely in person when she spoke at Stellina last month, I thought this book was slight. 

The mystery made sense, but since all the characters were not what they seemed, who cared about any of them?  And although I am not annoyed at Faith Fairchild, the sleuth, simply for knowing the designer clothing at a glance the way my wife is, I do find her a bit too, too Manhattan.  Supposedly she has been living for years in small-town Aleford, Massachusetts, as a pastor's wife, yet so little of New England has rubbed off on her.  She has style but no taste, knowledge but no depth. She has grown older but she hasn't matured. 

I will probably sample this series again, just as I will probably try out one of the recipes in the back of the book, but I am not in any hurry to do so.  I dislike the way reading about such an airy character makes me feel so stuffy.  Perhaps I should go back to reading about tragic characters who remind me that I have a happy life, instead?

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