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?