Page, Katherine Hall 1947-
Page, Katherine Hall 1947-
Born July 9, 1947, in NJ; daughter of William Kingman (a hospital administrator) and Alice (an artist) Page; married Alan Hein (a professor and psychologist), December 6, 1975; children: Nicholas William. Education: Wellesley College, B.A., 1969; Tufts University, Ed.M., 1974; Harvard University, Ed. D., 1985.
Home—Lincoln, MA. Agent—Faith Hamlin, Sanford J. Greenburger Associates, Inc., 55 5th Ave., New York, NY 10022.
Writer, educator, and consultant. Worked as a teacher of English and history, and as a director of programs for adolescents with special emotional needs, 1969-80; writer, 1980—. Educational consultant, 1985—.
Mystery Readers International, Authors Guild, Author's League of America, Mystery Writers of America, Sisters in Crime, International Crime Writers League, Boston Author's Club.
Agatha Award for Best First Mystery Novel, 1991, for The Body in the Belfry; Agatha Award for best short story, 2001, for "The Would-Be Widower"; Agatha Award nomination for best mystery novel, 2003, for The Body in the Bonfire; Agatha Award nomination for best short story, 2005, for "The Two Marys"; Agatha Award for best mystery novel, 2006, for The Body in the Snowdrift; Edgar Allan Poe Award nomination, for Christie and Company Down East.
"FAITH FAIRCHILD" MYSTERY NOVELS
The Body in the Belfry, St. Martin's Press (New York, NY), 1990.
The Body in the Kelp, St. Martin's Press (New York, NY), 1991.
The Body in the Bouillon, St. Martin's Press (New York, NY), 1991.
The Body in the Vestibule, St. Martin's Press (New York, NY), 1992.
The Body in the Cast, St. Martin's Press (New York, NY), 1993.
The Body in the Basement, St. Martin's Press (New York, NY), 1994.
The Body in the Bog, St. Martin's Press (New York, NY), 1996.
The Body in the Fjord, Morrow (New York, NY), 1997.
The Body in the Bookcase, Morrow (New York, NY), 1998.
The Body in the Big Apple, Morrow (New York, NY), 1999.
The Body in the Moonlight, Morrow (New York, NY), 2001.
The Body in the Bonfire, Morrow (New York, NY), 2002.
The Body in the Lighthouse, HarperCollins (New York, NY), 2003.
The Body in the Attic, Morrow (New York, NY), 2004.
The Body in the Snowdrift, Morrow (New York, NY), 2006.
The Body in the Ivy, Morrow (New York, NY), 2006.
Also author of short stories; contributor to anthologies, including Malice Domestic X, Avon Books (New York, NY), 2001.
"CHRISTIE AND COMPANY" YOUNG-ADULT MYSTERY NOVELS
Christie and Company, Avon (New York, NY), 1996.
Christie and Company Down East, Avon (New York, NY), 1997.
Christie and Company in the Year of the Dragon, Avon (New York, NY), 1997.
Bon Voyage, Christie and Company, Avon (New York, NY), 1999.
Club Meds (young adult novel), Simon Pulse (New York, NY), 2006.
Katherine Hall Page is the author of two ongoing mystery series. The first of these revolves around Faith Fairchild, a Massachusetts caterer and minister's wife whose amateur crime investigations are laced with some of the recipes she puts to use in her catering business. The second of Page's mystery series is aimed at young readers and features three eighth-grade girls known as Christie and Company. The threesome's adventures include a healthy teenage concern for such things as hairstyles, boys, and clothing.
Writing in Booklist, Stuart Miller saw a strong parallel between Page's "Faith Fairchild" mysteries and the Miss Marple stories written by noted British writer Agatha Christie. Page's character "is probably closest in spirit to Miss Marple," Miller wrote, "especially since Page's style is an updated, Americanized version of the classic English village cozy—short on gruesome details and violence, long on local color and deduction." Faith also draws admiration because, like many of her female readers, she must juggle the demands of work, family, and marriage while still finding time to solve crimes. Emily Melton in Booklist described Faith as "a modern-day heroine" who "effectively mixes modern-day moral dilemmas with charm, warmth, and humor."
Typical of the series is The Body in the Cast, in which Faith is hired to cater the meals for a film crew working on a new film adaptation of Nathaniel Hawthorne's novel The Scarlet Letter. When a series of seeming pranks begins to plague the production, Faith investigates, finding hidden links between the film crew's troubles and a particularly nasty local race for town council. A reviewer writing in Publishers Weekly praised the story for its "spirited characterization and energetic plotting."
Several of the "Faith Fairchild" books also feature Faith's neighbor, friend, and part-time employee Pix Miller. In The Body in the Basement, Pix and her daughter visit the site of Faith's new summer home, under construction, to check up on the project's progress. When the pair discover that a body has been buried in the unfinished house's basement, Pix works to unravel the mystery, all the while keeping Faith informed of both the progress of her investigation and the progress of Faith's construction project. The mystery centers on a strange blue "X" stitched into the quilt wrapped around the murdered man's body. A Publishers Weekly contributor called The Body in the Basement a "leisurely tale" and added that the "down-to-earth, eminently likable Pix … proves an enjoyable stand-in for Faith." Pix returns in The Body in the Fjord, this time journeying to Norway to see about the missing granddaughter of a close family friend. The granddaughter's fiancée has turned up dead, floating in a fjord, and the missing girl is tied to possible stolen artifacts. GraceAnne A. DeCandido wrote Booklist that the "real treat here is the detailed and totally engaging tour of the fjords of Norway," especially "the evocative descriptions of Norway's physical beauty and culinary triumphs."
Page's series about Christie and Company features Christie and her two school friends Maggie and Vicky. In the opening book of the series, the three sleuths work to uncover the identity of a thief who is stealing valuable items from the students at their Massachusetts boarding school. Calling the book "rather mild in the suspense department but impressive in its characterizations," a contributor to Publishers Weekly praised how, "as the amiable heroines flex their sleuthing skills, Page deftly works into the plot details about their family backgrounds, shaping credible, distinct portraits of each girl." Christie and Company Down East takes the three girls to Maine for a month-long summer stay at an inn owned by Maggie's parents. While working at the inn as waitresses, the girls begin investigating "seemingly unrelated but progressively more serious events designed to ensure the resort's demise," as Susan DeRonne explained in Booklist. In the end, the girls "solve the mystery, and they patch up a few relationships along the way," DeRonne concluded.
Faith Fairchild's other appearances include a prequel, The Body in the Big Apple, that details Faith's life before her marriage and relocation to Massachusetts. The story involves a politician's wife who seeks Faith's help in thwarting a blackmail attempt. "New Yorkers and suburbanites alike should enjoy this fast-paced mystery," declared a Publishers Weekly contributor. The Body in the Bonfire takes Faith to an exclusive boarding school, and The Body in the Lighthouse concerns the murder of a developer on a pristine Maine island. A Publishers Weekly contributor called The Body in the Lighthouse "absorbing" and further commented that it is "an ideal beach read for cozy fans heading for the shore this summer."
On the HarperCollins Web site, Page had this to say about her "Faith Fairchild" novels: "When I think about the series, I imagine Faith standing by a pond, its surface a mirror perhaps reflecting some white birches or catching the flight of a heron. Everything looks quite perfect and serene, but if she takes a stick and pokes it beneath the surface, who knows what lies below—what secrets will emerge from the murky depths? The difference between what seems and what is, has been a theme throughout all the books. It's the tension between appearance and reality that taps into our greatest fears."
Page continues the "Faith Fairchild" mystery series with The Body in the Attic. This time, Faith finds herself in Cambridge, Massachusetts, when her minister husband, Tom, accepts a temporary post at the Harvard Divinity School. Living in an old house, Faith has an uneasy feeling about the place that is exacerbated when she finds an old diary in the attic that reveals the woman who wrote it was held captive there by an abusive husband. As Faith investigates who this woman was and what her life was like, Faith's own life is further complicated when an old boyfriend who has been missing for years suddenly reappears. "As Faith explores the byways of Boston and Cambridge … both cities come to vivid life," wrote a Publishers Weekly contributor. GraceAnne A. DeCandido, writing in Booklist, noted that "Faith becomes an ever more interesting character" in this installment in the series.
The Body in the Snowdrift features Faith and her husband Tom visiting a dying Vermont ski resort as part of a family reunion honoring the birthday of Tom's father, Dick. However, Dick is depressed because an old friend, Boyd Harrison, died from a heart attack while skiing. Faith takes over the cooking duties for the family and tries to help deal with family problems when a body is found in the water used for the resort's snowmaking machine. A Publishers Weekly contributor noted that The Body in the Snowdrift has "an attractive setting, great characters, good food and murder most foul."
Page pays homage to Agatha Christie's classic mystery novel Ten Little Indians in her next "Faith Fairchild" mystery titled The Body in the Ivy. Trapped on a remote New England Island with guests at the house of noted author Barbara Bailey Bishop, Faith, who was asked to cater the affair, suddenly finds that she has numerous suspects in the murder of one of the guests. After some probing, Faith learns that the murder may be related to the guests' schooldays in the 1970s at Pelham College when Barbara's sister supposedly committed suicide. "Readers of the series will relish this addition," wrote a Publishers Weekly contributor. Connie Fletcher, writing in Booklist, called The Body in the Ivy a "romantic mystery, filled with country-house atmosphere and cookery."
Page is also author of the stand-alone young-adult novel Club Meds. The title refers to what the kids who have medical problems call themselves. Jack Sutton, who has ADHD, takes Ritalin and must give twenty of his tablets each week to the school bully Chuck Williams. With the help of his friend Mary, who also has ADHD and chips in some of her pills to give to Chuck, Jack eventually faces up to the bully. Jennifer Mattson wrote in Booklist that Club Meds "casts ADHD sufferers as clever avengers, and does so in a speedy narrative that won't overload their circuits." A Publishers Weekly contributor wrote: "Page has a finger on the pulse of high school dynamics, and she elucidates the social hierarchy unflinchingly."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Booklist, March 15, 1996, Stuart Miller, review of The Body in the Bog, p. 1243; December 1, 1996, review of Christie and Company, p. 665; May 1, 1997, Susan DeRonne, review of Christie and Company Down East, p. 1498; October 15, 1997, GraceAnne A. DeCandido, review of The Body in the Fjord, p. 392; November 15, 1998, Emily Melton, review of The Body in the Bookcase, p. 572; March 15, 2003, GraceAnne A. DeCandido, review of The Body in the Lighthouse, p. 1280; May 1, 2004, GraceAnne A. DeCandido, review of The Body in the Attic, p. 1515; May 1, 2005, GraceAnne A. DeCandido, review of The Body in the Snowdrift, p. 66; August 1, 2006, Jennifer Mattson, review of Club Meds, p. 66; October 15, 2006, Connie Fletcher, review of The Body in the Ivy, p. 33.
Kirkus Reviews, August 15, 2006, review of The Body in the Ivy, p. 813.
Library Journal, November 1, 1997, Rex E. Klett, review of The Body in the Fjord, p. 120; November 1, 1998, Rex E. Klett, review of The Body in the Bookcase, p. 129; January, 2002, Rex E. Klett, review of The Body in the Bonfire, p. 158; May 1, 2005, Rex E. Klett, review of The Body in the Snowdrift, p. 66; October 1, 2006, Jo Ann Vicarel, review of The Body in the Ivy, p. 52.
New York Times Book Review, January 9, 2000, Marilyn Stasio, review of The Body in the Big Apple, p. 24.
Publishers Weekly, January 19, 1990, Sybil Steinberg, review of The Body in the Belfry, p. 100; November 2, 1990, Sybil Steinberg, review of The Body in the Kelp, p. 66; October 11, 1991, review of The Body in the Bouillon, p. 52; July 13, 1992, review of The Body in the Vestibule, p. 48; October 11, 1993, review of The Body in the Cast, p. 72; September 19, 1994, review of The Body in the Basement, p. 54; March 11, 1996, review of The Body in the Bog, p. 46; April 15, 1996, review of Christie and Company, p. 69; October 6, 1997, review of The Body in the Fjord, p. 77; October 5, 1998, review of The Body in the Bookcase, p. 84; October 25, 1999, review of The Body in the Big Apple, p. 54; March 17, 2003, review of The Body in the Lighthouse, p. 57; April 26, 2004, review of The Body in the Attic, p. 45; April 18, 2005, review of The Body in the Snowdrift, p. 47; August 28, 2006, review of Club Meds, p. 56; September 4, 2006, review of The Body in the Ivy, p. 42.
School Library Journal, August, 2006, Janet Hilbun, review of Club Meds, p. 127.
HarperCollins Web site,http://www.harpercollins.com/ (April 16, 2003) "Katherine Hall Page."
Katherine Hall Page Home Page,http://www.katherine-hall-page.org (June 6, 2007).