It doesn't matter if you read Katherine Hall Page's mysteries about caterer Faith Fairchild or not. Page's collection includes Faith in many of the short stories. And, an anthology can be picked up any time. This one came out a year ago, however it fit my mood when I went looking for the perfect book. You really just need to enjoy mystery stories to appreciate Small Plates.
Most of Page's stories are set in New England, everywhere from Maine to resort areas to Boston and the surrounding communities. A couple feature the old families, the Winthrops and the Cabots. There are even a couple Christmas mysteries for those of us who love them.
I had two favorite stories. "The Proof Is Always in the Pudding", the first of two Christmas mysteries, involves Faith's husband's family. When Faith's mother-in-law says she needs a man, it kicks off the story of the Fairchild Christmas Dinner Curse, a story going back to the late eighteen hundreds. It's a story of class and deceit and love. And, it's a story of murder.
Then, there's "Sliced". Anyone who watches food television shows will recognize a reality TV show in which chefs get eliminated if they don't prepare the most appealing appetizer, entree and dessert. Faith is not happy to be participating in the show for a local charity, but her best friend asked her. And, she really regrets her agreement when she meets her competition, three chefs who dislike Faith. Any one of them would like to eliminate her for good.
There are nine mysteries and a couple recipes in the book. Page's collection is an appealing taste of New England crime, with the inclusion of a familiar character for comfort. Although not all the entries include Faith Fairchild, the ones that do may just whet your appetite for longer stories, Katherine Hall Page's books that feature the caterer. Small Plates is the perfect appetizer, a sample of the storytelling skills of an author who has honed her skills over the course of twenty-two mysteries. Welcome to Katherine Hall Page's world, enchanting settings disturbed only by the intrusion of a killer or two.
Katherine Hall Page's website is www.katherine-hall-page.org
Small Plates by Katherine Hall Page. William Morrow. 2014. ISBN 9780062310798 (hardcover), 223p.
FTC Full Disclosure - The publisher sent me a copy of the book, hoping I would review it.