> Bless Their Hearts Mom: Recipe Weekend: Bad Taste Leads to Crime (Le Mauvais Gout Mène Crime) by Katherine Hall Page (giveaway)
Friday, December 8, 2017

Recipe Weekend: Bad Taste Leads to Crime (Le Mauvais Gout Mène Crime) by Katherine Hall Page (giveaway)

Disclosure / Disclaimer: I received this ebook free of charge,from Partners in Crime Book tours,  for review purposes on this blog. No other compensation, monetary or in kind, has been received or implied for this post. Nor was I told how to post about i,hem  all opinions are my own.

Welcome to our spot on the The Body in the Casket by Katherine Hall Page book tour! 

Tour: December 4, 2017 - January 12, 2018 

First a little about the book, then I have a great post from Katherine for you!

 Synopsis: The Body in the Casket by Katherine Hall Page

The inimitable Faith Fairchild returns in a chilling New England whodunit, inspired by the best Agatha Christie mysteries and with hints of the timeless board game Clue.

For most of her adult life, resourceful caterer Faith Fairchild has called the sleepy Massachusetts village of Aleford home. While the native New Yorker has come to know the region well, she isn’t familiar with Havencrest, a privileged enclave, until the owner of Rowan House, a secluded sprawling Arts and Crafts mansion, calls her about catering a weekend house party.

Producer/director of a string of hit musicals, Max Dane—a Broadway legend—is throwing a lavish party to celebrate his seventieth birthday. At the house as they discuss the event, Faith’s client makes a startling confession. "I didn’t hire you for your cooking skills, fine as they may be, but for your sleuthing ability. You see, one of the guests wants to kill me."

Faith’s only clue is an ominous birthday gift the man received the week before—an empty casket sent anonymously containing a twenty-year-old Playbill from Max’s last, and only failed, production—Heaven or Hell. Consequently, Max has drawn his guest list for the party from the cast and crew. As the guests begin to arrive one by one, and an ice storm brews overhead, Faith must keep one eye on the menu and the other on her host to prevent his birthday bash from becoming his final curtain call.

Full of delectable recipes, brooding atmosphere, and Faith’s signature biting wit, The Body in the Casket is a delightful thriller that echoes the beloved mysteries of Agatha Christie and classic films such as Murder by Death and Deathtrap.

Guest Post:

This quotation from the Baron Adolphe De Mareste (1784-1867) is one of
my favorites. It sums up all sorts of motivations, but essentially connects the act of murder to possessing extremely bad taste. I choose to interpret “taste” both ways with an emphasis on culinary taste—a villain is one who ignores the pleasures of the table for ignominious pursuits.

Writing a murder mystery is like following a recipe, although far from being
formulaic—at least the good ones in food and print avoid that pitfall. It’s murder, so there has to be a body or two or three as an ingredient. Clues that play fair with the reader despite some red herrings are essential. Coming to the end of a book and discovering that the killer is someone who has barely been mentioned throughout—I call this the sudden appearance of the “evil twin from Australia”—is akin to carefully following the steps for a new cake recipe only to have it taste like sawdust. You need a sleuth—amateur or professional and a plot loaded with suspense. Shaken not stirred, the end result should go down smoothly and deliver a kick.

Why did I make Faith Fairchild, my series sleuth, a caterer in book one,
The Body in the Belfry all those years ago?

Several reasons. I liked reading mysteries with food in them. Think Rex Stout’s Nero Wolfe, Virginia Rich’s Eugenia Potter, and Someone Is Killing the Great Chefs of Europe by Nan and Ivan Lyons. I also thought that the catering added an interesting subplot in that first book. I did not realize I was at the start of a series that with the new book, now numbers twenty-four. The catering aspect has definitely added possibilities, including food poisoning—although not by Faith!

 Finally, I like to cook and adding recipes starting with book five, combined a passion for food with a passion for writing. The recipes are at the end of the books along with an Author’s Note in which I step from behind the curtain and write about something personal. The recipes are there as it didn’t want them to interrupt the narrative—Faith stumbles across a badly bludgeoned body followed by a brownie recipe—and also because hard-to- believe-as- it-may- seem, some people don’t care about the food in the books. I fulfilled a lifelong dream by publishing a series cookbook, Have Faith in Your Kitchen (Orchises Press). I like to read cookbooks and there’s usually one or two mixed in with the other books in the stack on my night table. It’s important not to feel compelled to actually cook the recipes, although that does happen on occasion. Thackeray summed it up well:
“Next to eating good dinners, a healthy man with a benevolent turn of mind, must like, I think, to read about them.”

Faith and I would add “and woman” to the phrase, but Thackeray was
definitely on to something. We enjoy reading about food, especially cuisines from other parts of the country or world. I am having a fine time with Colman Andrews’ The British Table that includes not just recipes and the history for dishes like Cock-A- Leekie soup, Mushy Peas, and Eton Mess, but also absolutely gorgeous photos of the food plus Britain, Scotland, and Wales locations. This sort of cookbook is the perfect way to travel without leaving home.

It would be simple to say that culinary crime writers use food as a way of
characterizing each sleuth, a way of extending our knowledge of the kinds
of people they are— and leave it at that. An idiosyncrasy perhaps? But it’s
more. We get hungry when we read these books and I’m sure the writers
did too as they wrote. How could it be otherwise, given the emphasis they
place on the joys of the table? Food is important. It makes a statement on
its own. Whodunit is irrevocably joined to Whoateit.

I had a great deal of fun with the offerings in The Body in the Casket. Faith is
catering a weekend long 70th birthday party that legendary Broadway
producer Max Dane is throwing for himself. The twist is that all the guests
were connected in some way with Max’s only failure: Heaven or Hell The
Musical twenty years ago. He hasn’t produced anything since, retreating
to his isolated large mansion not too far from Faith’s Massachusetts home.
Giving her a tour of the house and interrupting her menu suggestions, he
tells her that although he is sure she is a fine chef, he has hired her for her
sleuthing abilities. A macabre early birthday gift convinced him that one of
the invitees wants to kill him. Faith and he like the idea of referencing
heaven or hell in many of the dishes. I asked friends to see if I could come
up with others aside from the ones I immediately included: Deviled Eggs,
Pasta Fra Diavolo and the like. Andrew Palmer, a terrific cook, suggested
this traditional German farm dish. I’ll end with the recipe. Bon Appetit!

Himmel Und Erde (Heaven and Earth)

2 1/2 pounds Russet potatoes peeled and cubed
3 apples, roughly 1 ½ pounds, peeled, cored and cubed
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 tablespoon honey
Squeeze of lemon juice
1 teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon freshly ground pepper

1. Place the potatoes in a large saucepan and cover with cold water.
2. Bring to a boil and then turn the heat down to a simmer and cook for 10 minutes more.
3. Add the apples and continue to simmer until the potatoes are done (check with a sharp fork) and the apples soft.
4. Drain, reserving a little of the water. Put back on the heat and stir briefly to dry.
5. Add the butter and mash. Faith relies on her old-fashioned potato masher.
6. Add the honey, lemon, salt, and pepper and stir vigorously for a fluffy result. If the mixture is too dry, add a bit of the water.
7. You may also serve the dish with crumbled crisp bacon and fried or caramelized onions on top.

Granny Smiths or other tart apples give Himmel und Erde a nice sharpness, but any apples are fine. Nutmeg and thyme also give it a different sort
of flavor as a change from the basic recipe. Garlic too.I’ve been making it as a side dish with pork, roasted chicken, and sausages.

Serves 4-6

Now how about an excerpt from the book:

Chapter One

“Have Faith in Your Kitchen,” Faith Fairchild said, answering the phone at her catering firm. She’d been busy piping choux pastry for éclairs onto a baking sheet.

“Mrs. Fairchild?”

“Yes? This is Faith Fairchild. How may I help you?”

“Please hold for Max Dane.” The voice had a plummy, slightly British tone, reminiscent of Jeeves, or Downton Abbey’s Carson. The only Max Dane Faith had heard of had been a famous Broadway musical producer, but she was pretty sure he’d died years ago. This must be another Max Dane.

She was put through quickly and a new voice said, “Hi. I know this is short notice, but I am very much hoping you are available to handle a house party I’m throwing for about a dozen guests at the end of the month. A Friday to Sunday. Not just dinner, but all the meals.”

Faith had never catered anything like this. A Friday to Sunday sounded like something out of a British pre-World War II country house novel—kippers for breakfast, Fortnum & Mason type hampers for the shoot, tea and scones, drinks and nibbles, then saddle of lamb or some other large haunch of meat for dinner with vintage clarets followed by port and Stilton—for the men only. She was intrigued.

“The first thing I need to know is where you live, Mr. Dane. Also, is this a firm date? We’ve had a mild winter so far, but January may still deliver a wallop like last year.”

A Manhattan native, Faith’s marriage more than 20 years ago to the Reverend Thomas Fairchild meant a radical change of address— from the Big Apple to the orchards of Aleford, a small suburb west of Boston. Faith had never become used to boiled dinners, First Parish’s rock hard pews and most of all, New England weather. By the end of the previous February there had been 75 inches of snow on the ground and you couldn’t see through the historic parsonage’s ground floor windows or open the front door. Teenage son Ben struggled valiantly to keep the back door clear, daily hewing a path to the garage. The resulting tunnel resembled a clip from Nanook of the North.
“I’m afraid the date is firm. The thirtieth is my birthday. A milestone one, my seventieth.” Unlike his butler or whoever had called Faith to the phone, Max Dane’s voice indicated he’d started life in one of the five boroughs. Faith was guessing the Bronx. He sounded a bit sheepish when he said “ my birthday,” as if throwing a party for himself was out of character. “And I live in Havencrest. It’s not far from Aleford, but I’d want you to be available at the house the whole time. Live in.”

Leaving her family for three days was not something Faith did often, especially since Sunday was a workday for Tom and all too occasionally Saturday was as he “polished” his sermon. (His term, which she had noticed over the years, could mean writing the whole thing.)

Ben and Amy, two years younger, seemed old enough to be on their own, but Faith had found that contrary to expectations, kids needed parents around more in adolescence than when they were toddlers. Every day brought the equivalent of scraped knees and they weren’t the kind of hurts that could be soothed by Pat The Bunny and a chocolate chip cookie. She needed more time to think about taking the job. “I’m not sure I can leave my family…” was interrupted. “I quite understand that this would be difficult,” Dane said and then he named a figure so far above anything she had ever been offered that she actually covered her mouth to keep from gasping out loud.

“Look,” he continued. “Why don’t you come by and we’ll talk in person? You can see the place and decide then. I don’t use it myself, but the kitchen is well equipped—the rest of the house too. I’ll email directions and you can shoot me some times that work. This week if possible. I want to send out the invites right away.”

Well, it wouldn’t hurt to talk, Faith thought. And she did like seeing other people’s houses. She agreed, but before she hung up curiosity won out and she asked, “Are you related to the Max Dane who produced all those wonderful Broadway musicals?”

“Very closely. As in one and the same. See you soon.”

Faith put the phone down and turned to Pix Miller, her closest friend and part-time Have Faith employee.

“That was someone wanting Have Faith to cater a weekend long birthday celebration—for an astonishing amount of money.” She named the figure in a breathless whisper. “His name is Max Dane. Have you ever heard of him?”
“Even I know who Max Dane is. Sam took me to New York the December after we were married and we saw one of his shows. It was magical—the whole weekend was. No kids yet. We were kids ourselves. We skated at Rockefeller Center by the tree and…”

Her friend didn’t go in for sentimental journeys and tempted as she was to note Pix and Sam skated on Aleford Pond then and now, Faith didn’t want to stop the flow of memories. “Where did you stay? A suite at the Plaza?” Sam was a very successful lawyer.

Pix came down to earth. “We barely had money for the show and pre-theater dinner at Twenty-One. That was the big splurge. I honestly can’t remember where we stayed and I should, because that’s where—” She stopped abruptly and blushed, also unusual Pix behavior.

“Say no more. Nine months later along came Mark?”

“Something like that,” Pix mumbled and then in her usual more assertive voice, added “You have to do this. Not because of the money, although the man must be loaded! Think of who might be there. And the house must be amazing. We don’t have anything booked for then and I can keep an eye on the kids.”
The Millers lived next door to the parsonage and their three now grown children had been the Fairchilds’ babysitters. Pix played a more essential role: Faith’s tutor in the unforeseen intricacies of childrearing as well as Aleford’s often arcane mores. Faith’s first social faux pas as a new bride—inviting guests for dinner at eight o’clock— had happily been avoided when her first invite, Pix, gently told Faith the town’s inhabitants would be thinking bed soon at that hour, not a main course.

Faith had started her catering business in the city that never slept before she was married and was busy all year long. Here January was always a slow month for business. The holidays were over and things didn’t start to pick up until Valentine’s Day—and even then scheduling events was risky. It all came down to weather.

Pix was at the computer. Years ago she’d agreed to work at Have Faith keeping the books, the calendar, inventory—anything that did not involve any actual food preparation.

“We have a couple of receptions at the Ganley Museum and the MLK breakfast the standing clergy host.”

The first time Faith heard the term, “standing clergy”, which was the town’s men and women of any cloth, she pictured an upright somberly garbed group in rows like ninepins. And she hadn’t been far off.

“That’s pretty much it,” Pix added, “except for a few luncheons and Amelia’s baby shower—I think she baby sat for you a couple of times when she was in high school.”

“I remember she was very reliable,” Faith said.

“Hard to believe she’s the same age as Samantha and having her second!” Pix sounded wistful. She was the type of woman born to wear a “I Spoil My Grandchildren” tee shirt. Faith wouldn’t be surprised if there were a drawer somewhere in the Miller’s house filled with tiny sweaters and booties knit by Pix, “just to be ready.” Mark Miller, the oldest, was married, but he and his wife did not seem to be in a rush to start a family.

Samantha, the middle Miller, had a long-term beau, Caleb. They were living together in trendy Park Slope, Brooklyn and Sam, an old-fashioned pater familias, had to be restrained from asking Caleb his intentions each time the young couple came to Aleford. Pix was leaning that way herself, she’d told Faith recently, noting that young couples these days were so intent on careers they didn’t hear the clock ticking.

Faith had forgotten that Amelia—who apparently had paid attention to time— was Samantha’s age and quickly changed the subject to what was uppermost in her mind—the Dane job. “Where is Havencrest?” she asked. “I thought I knew all the neighboring towns.”

“It’s not really a town so much as an enclave between Weston and Dover. I don’t think it even has a zip code. I’ve never been there, but Mother has. You can ask her about it. The houses all date to the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. I believe there’s a gatehouse at the entrance. It’s an early equivalent of the mid century modern planned communities like Moon Hill in Lexington. Havencrest wasn’t a bunch of architects like that one though. Just very rich Boston Brahmin families who wanted privacy and plenty of space. I wonder how Max Dane ended up there? From what Mother has said, the houses don’t change hands, just generations.”

“I think I’ll check my email and see if there’s anything from him yet,” Faith said. “And maybe drop by to see Ursula on my way home.” Stopping to visit with Ursula Lyman Rowe, Pix’s mother, was no chore. The octogenarian was one of Faith’s favorite people. She turned back to the éclairs, which were part of a special order, and added a few more to bring to her friend.

“I know you’ll take the job,” Pix said. “I’m predicting the weekend of a lifetime!”
Excerpt from The Body in the Casket by Katherine Hall Page. Copyright © 2017 by William Morrow. Reproduced with permission from William Morrow. All rights reserved.

Book Details:

Genre: Mystery
Published by: William Morrow
Publication Date: December 5th 2017
Number of Pages: 238
ISBN: 0062439561 (ISBN13: 9780062439567)
Series: Faith Fairchild, 24
Purchase Links: Amazon  | Barnes & Noble  | Goodreads

flashing Win


This is a rafflecopter giveaway hosted by Partners in Crime Virtual Book Tours for Katherine Hall Page and Witness Impulse.  There will be 3 winners of one (1) physical copy of Katherine Hall Page’s The Body in the Casket.

  a Rafflecopter giveaway  

The giveaway begins on December 4, 2017 and runs through January 14, 2018. This giveaway is open to US addressess only.     

         About the Author:

Katherine Hall Page
Katherine Hall Page is the author of twenty-three previous Faith Fairchild mysteries, the first of which received the Agatha Award for best first mystery. The Body in the Snowdrift was honored with the Agatha Award for best novel of 2006. Page also won an Agatha for her short story "The Would-Be Widower." The recipient of the Lifetime Achievement Award at Malice Domestic, she has been nominated for the Edgar Award, the Mary Higgins Clark Award, and the Macavity Award. She lives in Massachusetts, and Maine, with her husband.

Catch Up With Our Author On: Website Goodreads , & Facebook !

Tour Participants:

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