Cover image for The body in the attic
Title:
The body in the attic
Author:
Page, Katherine Hall.
Personal Author:
Edition:
First edition.
Publication Information:
New York : William Morrow, [2004]

©2004
Physical Description:
227 pages ; 24 cm
General Note:
"A Faith Fairchild mystery"--T.p.
Language:
English
Geographic Term:
ISBN:
9780060525293
Format :
Book

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Summary

Summary

In her thirteen previous Faith Fairchild mysteries, Katherine Hall Page has proven to be one of the most beloved and masterful writers of the village mystery. But when caterer Faith Fairchild's husband's job takes the family out of peaceful Aleford, Massachusetts, and into greater Boston, death rears its ugly head in the big city as well.

Fall is in the air -- its crisp chill hinting at the approaching holiday season -- yet Faith Fairchild's minister husband, Tom, is not in a festive mood. His job has become routine, and his parish seems to care more about church gossip than worship or service, leaving him doubting his own effectiveness. So when the opportunity to teach for a semester at Harvard's Divinity School comes up, he leaps at the chance . . . but Faith is reluctant. After all, this New York City girl has just gotten used to life in Aleford -- and now she has to move? But soon Faith relents, and within months the family has settled happily into a large, old home in historic Cambridge, just across the river from Boston.

Faith is shocked when she runs into an old boyfriend in downtown Boston. Thirteen years before, Richard Morgan had swept Faith off her feet, then disappeared. But the intelligent, handsome man's return is a happy one for Faith as their friendship is renewed.

Back in Cambridge, though, something is amiss in the temporary Fairchilds' residence.

Faith discovers a diary hidden in the attic by a woman living there in 1946. It reveals unspeakable horror, and soon dark secrets seem to permeate every room. Richard Morgan has secrets of his own, too, and Faith is caught up in solving the mysteries . . . with a murderer lurking a little too close to home.


Author Notes

Katherine Hall Page was born in New Jersey in 1947. She received a bachelor's degree in English from Wellesley College, a master's degree in Secondary Education from Tufts University and a Doctorate in Administration, Public Planning, and Social Policy from Harvard University. Before becoming a full-time writer, she taught in high school for many years. She is the author of the Faith Fairchild Mystery series. She has won numerous awards including the 1991 Agatha Award for Best First Mystery Novel for The Body in the Belfry, the 2006 Agatha Award for Best Mystery Novel for The Body in the Snowdrift, and the 2001 Agatha Award for Best Short Story for The Would-Be Widower.

(Bowker Author Biography)


Reviews 2

Booklist Review

Faith packs up the kids and her catering business for a semester's stint in Cambridge, where her minister husband, Tom, will teach at Harvard and serve the homeless. In the rambling old house the family inhabits in Cambridge, Faith's children find an old wardrobe that contains . . . not Narnia but a diary from 1946. Using a lost diary as a plot device has become something of a cliche in crime fiction, but here Page uses it quite expertly to explore what's going on in Faith's life. The diary belongs to a young woman who was held prisoner in the house by a rapacious husband. Did she live and escape? Faith caters luncheons, shops with friends, rejoices in her powerhouse sister's marriage, all the while puzzling out what it is she might want and who the woman of the diary might be--using one investigation to fuel the other. While the plot comes to a sudden and very wobbly end, Faith becomes an ever more interesting character, and the recipes included are yummy. --GraceAnne DeCandido Copyright 2004 Booklist


Publisher's Weekly Review

In Agatha-winner Page's 14th warmhearted entry in her Faith Fairchild series (after 2003's The Body in the Lighthouse), the upscale caterer, amateur sleuth and born-and-bred New Yorker is, to her surprise, reluctant to leave suburban Aleford, Mass., when her minister husband Tom, frustrated and worn-out by day-to-day parish duties, announces that he's going to take a position at Harvard Divinity School for a semester. Soon after the couple settles in at their beautiful temporary home on Cambridge's prestigious Brattle Street, Faith realizes that the darkness and the creepy feeling she has about the old house are due to more than overgrown bushes. A riveting diary found in the house's attic and the sudden reappearance of old boyfriend Richard Morgan, who mysteriously disappeared 13 years before, lead her into an investigation as chilling as a New England winter. If her relationship with Morgan strains credulity at times, the interactions between her and Tom remain realistic and human. As Faith explores the byways of Boston and Cambridge in search of dangerous past secrets, both cities come to vivid life. The tempting recipes at the end for such fare as Butternut Squash Soup and Harvard Squares leave no doubt that a delicious treat is in store for cozy fans. Agent, Faith Hamlin. (May 1) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved


Excerpts

Excerpts

The Body in the Attic A Faith Fairchild Mystery Chapter One Over the years, Faith Fairchild had occasionally let herself imagine what it would be like to meet Richard Morgan again. But nothing like this had ever crossed her mind. Richard Morgan. They had had a heady whirlwind affair in the waning days of the self-indulgent eighties, meeting just before Christmas and parting before the New Year. They were both living in Manhattan -- the perfect backdrop for romance, especially during the holiday season. And they were both single. Children, mortgages, gray hair were all things that happened to other people -- older people. Faith had been on a city bus returning to Have Faith, the catering firm she'd started that fall. Richard had taken the seat next to hers, and as the other passengers boarded, the strains of a Salvation Army rendition of "Good King Wenceslas" filtered through the open door. Richard had started humming along, Faith smiled, and he began to sing -- he had a pleasant tenor voice and an even more pleasant appearance: tall, dark brown hair, and very blue eyes. "I only know the one verse," he'd told her, and she'd confessed the same. They'd talked, and he'd almost missed his stop. When he left, he'd said, "Want to trade cards? I might suddenly remember the rest of 'Good King Wenceslas' and wouldn't know where to find you." She'd handed hers over with her own line: "True. Or you might need a caterer." Standing in front of her now, Richard Morgan did need a caterer. In fact, he needed a meal. They were at Oak Street House in Boston, a shelter for homeless men, and Richard had just slid his tray in front of Faith, a volunteer, so she could hand him a bowl of beef stew. Stunned, she stood with the ladle in one hand, the half-filled bowl in the other. The last time she'd seen him, they'd been at the Top of the Sixes, that elegant bygone Gotham hot spot at 666 Fifth Avenue. They'd drunk champagne, Perrier-Jouët, and the lights of the city had sparkled about them like jewelry from Tiffany. Richard was drinking coffee now. A thick mug rested next to two packaged rolls on his tray. Faith started to speak, then stopped as he put his finger to his lips, shaking his head slightly. "Hey, lady, wake up! You gonna gimme some stew or what?" The man next to Richard pushed him aside. Hastily, Faith filled the bowl and passed it over to Richard. Their hands touched briefly. His nails were dirty and his skin looked chapped from the cold. She filled another bowl -- and another. It had been thirteen years since they'd said good-bye. "You're kidding, right?" Faith said to her husband, the Reverend Thomas Fairchild. But she knew he wasn't, and he confirmed it. "I know it all sounds very sudden, but we wouldn't go until the end of January. That's almost two months away. Classes start on the thirtieth." "I don't understand why you can't teach the course and commute from here." Here was Aleford, Massachusetts, a small town west of Boston, where the reverend held sway at the First Parish Church and to which locale he had lured his bride, Faith Sibley, almost ten years earlier. Faith, born and bred in the Big Apple, had had a thriving catering business and had been loathe to leave it for the bucolic orchards of New England, but she had fallen head over heels in love with Tom. That meant "whither thou goest," and she did. If you had told her at that time that in the future she would be protesting a move from Aleford to Cambridge, Massachusetts, a veritable metropolis, two words would have sufficed to express her feelings: No way. Yet here she was, raising an army of objections over what would be a temporary move, a sabbatical. Tom was sitting across from her in one of the two wing chairs that flanked the living room fireplace. They'd tucked five-year-old Amy into bed, then, an hour later, eight-year-old Ben. Faith had been looking forward to having Tom home for the evening -- no meetings, and maybe some bed for themselves. She'd been surprised when he said he had something he wanted to talk over with her, then slightly alarmed when he downed a healthy slug of brandy before speaking. She sipped hers slowly, figuring she might need it. "I could teach the course and commute, but Idon't want to." He sounded ever so slightly petulant, and, more certainly, blunt. "It's not just the course, although that's what started the whole thing -- having lunch with Ralph and his asking me if I knew anyone who could pinchhit for the spring semester. The guy who was supposed to do it has to have knee-replacement surgery or something like that. He can't postpone -- " "Wait a minute." Faith put her snifter down. "You had lunch with Ralph over two weeks ago. Are you telling me that you've known about all this since then? That you've been thinking about it and never said a word to me?" Tom put his glass down, too, and folded his arms across his chest. Faith immediately did the same. If he wanted body language, she'd give him body language. For a moment, they stared at each other like Russian dancers before the balalaikas started. "I didn't want to raise the issue until I had something definite to propose. I didn't see any reason to upset you unnecessarily," explained Tom, speaking coolly. But that's not us, Faith said to herself. We tell -- told -- each other everything. Instead of speaking her mind, she let the anger just below the surface break through and push away her regret. "And why were you so sure I'd be upset? Because you're proposing taking the kids out of school for four months? Because you've assumed I can go back and forth to the catering kitchen from Cambridge, without consulting me? The Body in the Attic A Faith Fairchild Mystery . Copyright © by Katherine Page. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold. Excerpted from The Body in the Attic: A Faith Fairchild Mystery by Katherine Hall Page All rights reserved by the original copyright owners. Excerpts are provided for display purposes only and may not be reproduced, reprinted or distributed without the written permission of the publisher.