Tuesday, April 26, 2016

The Body in the Wardrobe by Katherine Hall Page

We find out what happens when a northerner marries a southerner in this cozy mystery. It is part of a long series of mysteries featuring Faith Fairchild. I have not read any of the others but did enjoy this one.

Sophie, a friend of Faith's marries into a wealthy southern family living in Savannah. It was interesting reading how Sophie tried to adjust to southern ways. Some in her husband's family made life tough for her. I liked her as a character. While we are kept informed on Faith's life up north, she doesn't enter the actual mystery of the book until the very end.

There is a little excitement early in the novel when Sophie discovers a body in a wardrobe. She calls the police but when they finally arrive, the body is gone. That is the beginning of a mystery that runs through as an undercurrent in the novel. It is not until the end that we find the meaning of it all.

Page reveals in her Author's Note that place is almost as important as character and plot in her novels. That really shows in this mystery. It is all Savannah, the houses, the restaurants, the food, and the people. I learned lots of history of the area including some about buildings, the Civil War, and the underground railroad.

And with a novel set in the south is southern food. The meals described sound luscious. Page has added some recipes at the end of the book so readers can enjoy a few of the foods described in the novel. The Sweet Potato Pie with Caramel Pecan Sauce sounds decadent.

This novel flows easily, much like life in the south. The book is much more about southern living than it is about a mystery. I recommend it to readers who enjoy a novel about a place much more than a mystery.

I am taking part in a blog tour of this book. Click here to view the 'The Body in the Wardrobe by Katherine Hall Page' Tour Participants.

My rating: 4/5 stars.

Katherine Hall Page is the author of twenty-two previous Faith Fairchild mysteries, the first of which received the Agatha Award for best first mystery. Her novel The Body in the Snowdrift won the Agatha Award for best novel in 2006. She has also been nominated for numerous other awards. She and her husband live in Lincoln, Massachusetts and Deer Isle, Maine. You can find out more at www.katherine-hall-page.

Book Details:

Genre: Cozy MysteryPublished by: William Morrow Publication Date: April 26th 2016 Number of Pages: 256 ISBN: 0062439502 (ISBN13: 9780062439505) Series: Faith Fairchild Mystery Purchase Links: 
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Book Excerpt:
Her limbs were frozen in place as she stared down at the man, a dark shape
against the rich colors of the Oriental carpet on the floor. It was impossible to believe. A
body in the wardrobe?
She opened her mouth, took a deep breath, but couldn’t make a sound. And then
as if a starter’s gun had gone off, she tore down the stairs and found herself in the
kitchen, staring at a door she knew was locked. Just as all the doors were.
Her phone! She looked down at her bare legs. The phone was in the bedroom.
She’d taken it out of her skirt. The skirt she was about to hang in the wardrobe. The
wardrobe where the dead man had been. Waiting for her to open the door.
Think, Sophie, think! She snatched the landline receiver from the counter,
punching in 9-1- 1, turned the lock, and wrenched the door open, stumbling into the cool
night air. Relief started to flood over her until she realized the killer could be hiding
behind the stacks of lumber and bags of cement that filled that garden at the back of the
house. Quickly she darted to the path surrounding the house and the gate beyond. She
pushed down on the handle; it opened easily.
There was no front yard, only a small patch of ivy with a cast iron planter at the
foot of the stairs leading to the front door. Gloria had filled the urn with red cyclamen,
evergreens, and pinecones. Sophie moved across to the square and stood under a
streetlight. No cars were passing and no one was on the sidewalks, although lights were
on in most of the houses.
Her call was picked up. Listening to the voice on the other end saying “this call is
being recorded,” Sophie struggled to clear her throat, finally gasping out, “There’s a
dead man in my bedroom. He’s been stabbed.”
The remarkably calm-sounding woman on the line responded by asking Sophie’s
name, the address, and if she was still inside the house. Sophie answered, her voice
getting stronger. Her heart began to slow and her mind began to clear.
“Can you confirm the identity of the dead man?”
“No, I don’t know.” Her thoughts swirled again. Who was he? One of the crew
working on the house? She was almost positive she had never seen him before, yet it
had all happened so fast she hadn’t gotten more than a glimpse of his face.
“There is a squad car in your area and will be with you immediately,” the
dispatcher said. “Are you alone?”
“Yes,” Sophie answered. “I’m alone.” Very alone.
But not for long.
Two police cars, lights flashing, pulled up. Officers wasted no time rushing into
the house—through the back when Sophie told them she thought the front was locked.
A female officer took Sophie into one of the cars and put a blanket around her. Sophie
hadn’t realized she was shivering until she felt the warmth. She was able to answer
questions—her name again and a description of the deceased—“At least six feet tall.
Heavyset. Long dark hair. Greasy. Dark clothing. Maybe jeans.” She closed her eyes,
trying to see it again. Not wanting to see it again.
“Can you describe the weapon?” The officer was busy taking notes.
“A knife with a long, thick black handle. I couldn’t see the blade. It was . . .”
Sophie felt her throat close and stopped.
“That’s fine. You’re doing just fine, honey. Is there someone we can call?
Family?”
Sophie almost laughed. An hysterical sort of laugh. Her accent had betrayed her.
The question mark after “family” could have been drawn in the air with neon it was so
vivid. She wasn’t from here.
“My husband is in Atlanta working. This is my mother-in- law’s house.”
Neighbors had gathered a safe distance away from the action. Sophie could see
them in small knots speculating on what piece of Savannah news was unfolding. She
was overwhelmed with fatigue. The fatigue that had haunted her since the night of the
party. She wanted Will. Will, her husband, her beloved. And she wanted him now. Tears
gathered in the corners of her eye and blurred the surreal scene outside the squad car
window.
The door opened and the officer who had been the first to take off for the house
slid next to Sophie.
“Mrs. Maxwell?”
Sophie wiped her eyes with her hand and sat up straight, clutching the blanket
around her. “Yes?”
“You did say that the man fell out of the wardrobe in the bedroom at the top of
the stairs in the front of the house?”
“Yes, I was putting my clothes away and he . . .” Her voice gave out again for a
moment, but she regained it. “He came tumbling right out and I could see he was dead.”
The officer’s voice softened. “There’s no one in the house, dead or alive, darlin’.”

I received a complimentary egalley of this book through Partners in Crime Virtual Book Tours for the purpose of an independent and honest review.

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