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becke_davis
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Please Welcome Featured Author KATHERINE HALL PAGE!

I'm excited to welcome back author KATHERINE HALL PAGE! Katherine is the author of a popular long-running series and she has visited with us several times before. Here are links to her past visits:

 

http://bookclubs.barnesandnoble.com/t5/Mystery/Guest-Blog-by-Author-Katherine-Hall-Page/td-p/952348

 

http://bookclubs.barnesandnoble.com/t5/Mystery/Please-Welcome-Author-KATHERINE-HALL-PAGE/td-p/133205...

 

http://bookclubs.barnesandnoble.com/t5/Mystery/January-Feature-Katherine-Hall-Page-s-THE-BODY-IN-THE...

 

http://bookclubs.barnesandnoble.com/t5/Mystery/CAPTURED-BY-CHRISTIE-Katherine-Hall-Page-guest-blogs/...

 

 

Caption: Only in Roma—Katherine's chance meeting at ristorante Pane Vino e San Daniele with Gianni Di Gregorio, her favorite actor/director of August Lunch and The Salt of Life 
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becke_davis
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Re: Please Welcome Featured Author KATHERINE HALL PAGE!

Here's a note from Katherine:

 

Author’s Note

 

 

 Traveling is the ruin of all happiness! There’s no looking at a building here after seeing Italy.  Fanny Burney, Cecilia  (1782)

 

 

I have been a traveler all my life, both metaphorically and physically. The first journey of magnitude that I remember is driving in our station wagon from West Orange, New Jersey to Readfield, Maine just outside of Augusta the summer I turned four. We had rented Alberta Jackson’s house, found for us by family friends, for a week. It was near a pond encircled by birch groves. Mrs. Jackson had white hair and said, “Ayuh”. My younger sister was just learning to walk; my older brother learning to canoe with my father. My mother cooked on a wood stove and I saw my first movie, Disney’s “Alice in Wonderland”. Travel had opened up all sorts of vistas and I was hooked.

 

Three years later we went to Norway to visit my mother’s family, crossing the ocean on the Norwegian American Line’s Oslofjord in the early fall (always one to march to a different drummer, not unlike the women I have celebrated in all my books, Mom thought we’d learn more on the trip than in school, so we started late that year). It was hurricane season and although in Third Class, my brother, sister and I had the run of the ship from First Class on down. All the adults were seasick. We, of course, were just fine— swam in the salt-water pool, had what still seem like Lucullan feasts at the smörgåsbords, and made friends with the crew. The trip took ten days. At the end of this kind of voyage you knew you had truly traveled somewhere.

 

In 1967 my sister and I worked outside London as au pair for several months. Sergeant Pepper Summer we call it still. This time we crossed the ocean in a propjet, a charter. It was the first of a number of cheap flights I took in the days when air travel was a novelty and no one would have dreamed of wearing jeans on a flight. For this one, I wore my little navy blue Jackie Kennedy suit with the Mandarin collar, but left my pillbox hat at home. I seem to recall that the flight took twelve hours. Could that be? It was a college charter and besides Wellesley, the rest of the passengers were all guys from Cornell, so we didn’t mind.

And then there was my honeymoon, or as my friend Julie called it, the “Moonyhon” since it was in July and we had been married in December with only the weekend before work the following Monday. But that Moonyhon flight! Heaven! Air France, not a no-name charter—and we were going to the country itself! The dinner served tasted exquisite, as did the complimentary champagne.

 

I did not grow up in a gourmet environment. My mother was an artist and feeding a family of five was somewhat of a chore, especially as she herself had grown up on a diet mostly of fish and boiled veggies, especially potatoes. She stuck to the tried and true with an occasional mad fling at a recipe from the book “Casserole Cookery”, a source of that Northern New Jersey classic dinner party staple—Green Bean and Mushroom Soup Casserole with Durkee fried onions sprinkled on top. One day someone told her about adding La Choy water chestnuts and that was about as far as she ventured. When my parents went out, we thought the Swanson TV dinners Mom left for us were an exotic treat. Those and Mrs. Paul’s fish sticks. But I stray.

 

 I came to my love of cooking because of my husband who still teases me about the first time he opened the fridge in my apartment and found only a container of OJ and a jar of herring (we got a full lunch at the place where I was then teaching and you could tell all the single faculty since we were the ones chowing down, making it the main meal of the day). Anyway, changing to the train for Lyon in Paris on our honeymoon we stopped to eat and I had my Julia Child moment, only it was an even simpler dish—omelette aux fines herbes with pommes frites and a salade verte. I had never tasted anything so perfect—the omelette with herbs, those crispy frites, so very unhealthy twice-fried in beef tallow, and the vinaigrette on that fresh frisee. There was much, much more to come.  After several weeks with our friends in Lyon and then on to Provence, I realized if you wanted to eat that way you had to cook. I’ve never looked back. Living in France in the 1980s only made things worse—or rather much, much better.

 

But back to this book.  The Body in the Vestibule was a love letter to France, The Body in the Fjord to Norway, The Body in the Big Apple and The Body in the Boudoir to Manhattan, all the Sanpere books to Penobscot Bay in Maine, the Aleford books to the place where I’ve spent my life as a wife and mother in New England. Now The Body in the Piazza is a lettera d’amore to Italy and specifically the trip I took with my friend and fellow writer, Valerie Wolzien. We left husbands and hearths, heading first to Rome where neither of us, despite many travels, had ever been. We felt much like Faith—deliriously besotted. And then it was on to Tuscany. We had both spent time there, but not with the kind of freedom having no schedule provides. As E.M. Forster—and Freddy Ives— advised, “The point of travel is to get lost”, so we wandered. Especially in markets. Before we left the US, we were extremely fortunate to happen upon and book “The Food Lovers Walking Tour” in Florence with Claire Hennessy, assistant extraordinaire to the food writer and chef, Faith Willinger. It was a day, and food, to remember always. Claire introduced us to the Baronis among other people and places, many appearing in these pages. I cannot recommend this tour, and this young woman, highly enough— http://www.faithwillinger.com/. Claire also serves as a travel consultant—(http://www.boutiqueflorence.com/).

 

And so it goes. My husband and I are marking a milestone traveling to Ireland this year and I’ll be returning with Valerie to Italy. We need to sit on more rooftop terraces drinking Prosecco and I’m down to the last drop of the amazing balsamic vinegar I bought at the Mercato Centrale.

 

The Elizabeth Hardwick quote from Sleepless Nights at the opening of this book is one I think about a great deal. For me, even going to New York City, especially alone, for a day grants a kind of liberating anonymity. I don’t exist. And then there is its corollary— I could be anyone. Oddly enough it is at times like this when we let go that we are most ourselves.

 

Finally, besides being a love letter to Italy and the Italians, this is an epistle addressed to two groups of people. The first is my characters, led by Faith Fairchild, who while not Katherine Hall Page is very close to her and I’m glad Faith’s anniversary trip ended so happily. Jewelry is important. The wonderful mystery writer, William Tapply, sadly gone from us, once wrote the following moving words about his character, lawyer Brady Coyne:

 

“He has neither the cynical world view of some private eyes nor the excessive honor of others. He is, in other words, like you, gentle reader, and he’s very much like me. I’d rather have you identify with him than admire him. He’s not bigger than life. He’s just about life-sized.’’

 

I hope the same is true for Faith Sibley Fairchild.

 

The other group that has become similarly dear over these twenty-five years are you, my readers, many of whom have become friends outright and all whom have become friends in my heart. I cannot thank you enough.

 

 

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becke_davis
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Re: Please Welcome Featured Author KATHERINE HALL PAGE!

The Body in the Piazza  

 

Overview

 

 

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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becke_davis
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Re: Please Welcome Featured Author KATHERINE HALL PAGE!

Here's a special treat from Katherine:

 

"I'm choosing this recipe because it is simple, delicious and impressive! Good for all seasons as well:

 

Panna Cotta

 
1 envelope unflavored gelatin (approx. 1 tablespoon)
3 cups heavy cream or 1 cup whole milk plus 2 cups heavy cream
1/3 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon almond extract
 
Put 1 cup of the cream in a saucepan and sprinkle the gelatin on top. Let sit 3 minutes to soften the gelatin. Whisk and heat the mixture over low heat until the gelatin dissolves. Add the rest of the ingredients, stir, and heat over medium heat until the sugar dissolve, about 8-10 minutes. Do not boil.

Pour through a sieve into a pitcher (easier to fill the ramekins this way) and then fill 6 ramekins that you have placed on a tray. Cover with a sheet of plastic wrap and refrigerate for 5 hours or overnight. You can keep the panna cotta refrigerated for up to 2 days. To unmold, run a sharp knife around the edge of the ramekin and dip it in a flat pan of boiling water very briefly. If you overestimate and the panna cotta looks runny, just put the ramekin back in the fridge to firm up again. Invert the ramekin over a small plate and serve. You may also pour all the panna cotta into a bowl, cover and refrigerate before scooping portions out into dessert bowls or martini-like cocktail glasses—very chic.

Serves 6.

Garnish panna cotta with fruit, especially summer fruits, which can also be made into a coulis to drizzle over and around it. Fresh strawberries with a few drops of balsamic vinegar, honey, lemon zest, ground pistachios, and ginger flakes are all delicious toppings as well. Using this basic recipe, you may try coffee, hazelnut extract, chocolate, even green and other teas as flavoring. For the cardamom version mentioned in the text, use 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract and 1 teaspoon ground cardamom."

 

DSC02306 (1).jpg
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becke_davis
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Re: Please Welcome Featured Author KATHERINE HALL PAGE!

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Katherinehallpage25
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Re: Please Welcome Featured Author KATHERINE HALL PAGE!

Thank you so much, Becke, for inviting me back!

Spring has finally arrived here and this is a wonderful way to start

celebrating.

 

Distinguished Wordsmith
maxcat
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Re: Please Welcome Featured Author KATHERINE HALL PAGE!

Hi, Katherine, I love your books and have read many of them. Some from our local library and some that I have purchased. I didn't read them in order as they seem to be stand alone type mysteries. Anyway, welcome and have a great week here.

The woods are lovely, dark and deep, but I have promises to keep and miles to go before I sleep - Robert Frost
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becke_davis
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Re: Please Welcome Featured Author KATHERINE HALL PAGE!


Katherinehallpage25 wrote:

Thank you so much, Becke, for inviting me back!

Spring has finally arrived here and this is a wonderful way to start

celebrating.

 


Katherine - Hurray!  I'm so happy you were able to sign in! The computer gnomes have blocked some of our guest authors recently.

 

Inspired Wordsmith
eadieburke
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Re: Please Welcome Featured Author KATHERINE HALL PAGE!

[ Edited ]

The Body in the Piazza  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Welcome Katherine:

 

I have all your other books and have read quite a few of them. I will definitely have to get your new one, The Body in the Piazza, since my husband is taking me to Rome, Tuscany, Venice and back to Croatia in September. I found family in Croatia last year and I am going to attend a church festival in the town of Vrsi, Croatia where my family lives. Had some delicious Panna Cotta in Croatia last year too! 

 

Hope you enjoy your visit with us!

 

 

Eadie - A day out-of-doors, someone I loved to talk with, a good book and some simple food and music -- that would be rest. - Eleanor Roosevelt
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Katherinehallpage25
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Re: Please Welcome Featured Author KATHERINE HALL PAGE!

Thank you—and love the Updike quote, new to me!
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becke_davis
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Re: Please Welcome Featured Author KATHERINE HALL PAGE!


eadieburke wrote:

The Body in the Piazza  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Welcome Katherine:

 

I have all your other books and have read quite a few of them. I will definitely have to get your new one, The Body in the Piazza, since my husband is taking me to Rome, Tuscany, Venice and back to Croatia in September. I found family in Croatia last year and I am going to attend a church festival in the town of Vrsi, Croatia where my family lives. Had some delicious Panna Cotta in Croatia last year too! 

 

Hope you enjoy your visit with us!

 

 


I don't think I've had Panna Cotta but it sure looks good! I want to try Katherine's recipe. 

 

I'm not an accomplished traveler like you all, but I have been to Tuscany. I LOVED it! My husband's been to Rome (so has my son) but I've never been to that region.

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Katherinehallpage25
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Re: Please Welcome Featured Author KATHERINE HALL PAGE!

Interesting that there was Panna Cotta in Croatia! And I envy you your first experience of Rome. Can't wait to go back...
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becke_davis
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Re: Please Welcome Featured Author KATHERINE HALL PAGE!


Katherinehallpage25 wrote:
Interesting that there was Panna Cotta in Croatia! And I envy you your first experience of Rome. Can't wait to go back...

My son's favorite part of Italy was Cinque Terra. I loved Florence and Siena.

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Ryan_G
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Re: Please Welcome Featured Author KATHERINE HALL PAGE!

I love that the titles stay relatively the sme, it's gives a sense of them belonging together.  I even like the fact that there are so many double B titles.  I will defintely be checking out the first book.

"I am half sick of shadows" The Lady of Shalott

http://wordsmithonia.blogspot.com
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eadieburke
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Re: Please Welcome Featured Author KATHERINE HALL PAGE!

Check this website out: http://www.21food.com/products/panna-cotta-powder-564769.html
Eadie - A day out-of-doors, someone I loved to talk with, a good book and some simple food and music -- that would be rest. - Eleanor Roosevelt
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becke_davis
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Re: Please Welcome Featured Author KATHERINE HALL PAGE!

Katherine - I imagine one of the benefits of writing a long-running series is that you get to know your characters so well. Is it hard to keep track of all the details from one book to the next? What is the hardest thing about writing a series that's been going strong as long as this one has?

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Katherinehallpage25
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Re: Please Welcome Featured Author KATHERINE HALL PAGE!

Every book in the series has to function as a stand alone as people don't necessarily pick them up and read them in order. Some readers don't want to read a series unless it's possible to start from the beginning; others don't care—a kind of "You say 'tomahto', I say 'tomayto' thing". Therefore the most difficult challenge for me is to provide Faith's back story right away in each Chapter 1—native New Yorker, clerical ties and vow not to enter that fishbowl, falls in love, moves to NE, has kids, is a caterer etc. —but in a new way each time.

This book was different not only because of the foreign setting, but also because the Fairchilds left their children at home for this anniversary trip. I didn't have to think of Ben and Amy—being sure Faith was a good mother and not abandoning them as she pursues a hot lead.

I especially loved weaving some of my own expereinces in Italy into the story.

 

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becke_davis
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Re: Please Welcome Featured Author KATHERINE HALL PAGE!


Katherinehallpage25 wrote:

Every book in the series has to function as a stand alone as people don't necessarily pick them up and read them in order. Some readers don't want to read a series unless it's possible to start from the beginning; others don't care—a kind of "You say 'tomahto', I say 'tomayto' thing". Therefore the most difficult challenge for me is to provide Faith's back story right away in each Chapter 1—native New Yorker, clerical ties and vow not to enter that fishbowl, falls in love, moves to NE, has kids, is a caterer etc. —but in a new way each time.

This book was different not only because of the foreign setting, but also because the Fairchilds left their children at home for this anniversary trip. I didn't have to think of Ben and Amy—being sure Faith was a good mother and not abandoning them as she pursues a hot lead.

I especially loved weaving some of my own expereinces in Italy into the story.

 


Katherine - Did you model Faith on someone you knew in real life?