At home on Sanpere Island, Maine, caterer and amateur sleuth Faith Fairchild discovers that real estate can be murder, especially when it’s all in the family, in this twenty-third book in the popular mystery series.
The Fourth of July is one of the hottest on record and even the breeze off Penobscot Bay can’t seem to cool things down for Faith Fairchild and the rest of the folks on Sanpere Island. But the fireworks are just beginning. After the celebrations are over, Faith discovers a body in the woods near The Birches, an early twentieth-century “cottage.”
The body is identified as The Birches’ housekeeper, who seems to have succumbed to a heart attack. The death is only one of the dramatic events upending the historic house. A family gathering has been called to decide who will inherit the much loved, and very valuable, estate that has been in the Proctor family for generations. With this much money involved, it’s just a matter of time before trouble arises.
Faith is juggling her own family problems. Her teenage son, Ben, has started a new job as a dishwasher at The Laughing Gull Lodge—learning things that could land him in very hot water. And her daughter Amy is worried about her new friend, Daisy Proctor. Daisy is terrified—convinced that someone is trying to eliminate her mother from getting a share of The Birches. To protect her children, Faith has to find a possible murderer—before he strikes too close to her own home.
Hi Katherine! Thank you so much for allowing me to interview you for Brooke Blogs! How are you doing today?
I’m fine and delighted that you selected me for your blog! And please note that people who work in our libraries are my favorites. The Body in the Sleigh is dedicated to librarians and that Author’s Note talks about their influence on me—and also how lucky we are to have the kind of unique access to information of all sorts through our libraries in this country.
When did you first know you wanted to be a writer?
I always wanted to be a writer as far back as I can remember, but certainly did not think I could actually be a professional one until many years later. I wrote stories as a child and was encouraged by my parents, teachers and especially the librarian in Livingston, New Jersey where I grew up. I was the editor of my high school paper and an English major in college. I especially credit my college professors with pushing me to make my writing better.
Could you describe your writing area? I love being able to picture an author in their environment. 🙂
I have a wonderful place to write. When we moved to the house where we now live, I was able to have a room of my own, a bedroom we didn’t need. The walls are pale yellow and the three big windows let in the light. One wall is top to bottom bookshelves filled to bursting. I have a large pine desk with plenty of drawers that I got at IKEA years ago. Right now my cat Samantha is curled up on an overstuffed easy chair covered in a bright floral fabric that sits in front of one of the windows. My mother was an artist and I have two of her landscape paintings on the walls. My first books were written on a typewriter! I use a Mac now and there’s room for it plus the printer on the desk top, as well as photos of my husband and son.
What is your favorite part of the writing process?
Most writers will tell you it’s when they come to “The End”, but I like the middle best. This is when I feel as if I’ve climbed to the top of a mountain, or maybe just a small hill, and can see where I’ve been and where I’m going. I also like to rewrite and start each day by rewriting what I have written the day before—kind of jumpstarting the process.
What is your least favorite part?
My least favorite part is getting started—finishing the first chapter. I’ve been making notes and essentially writing the book in my head for a long time. Sitting down to actually write the book takes strong will. One of my favorite books about writing is the classic mystery writer Mary Roberts Rinehart’s Writing is Work.
Do you have any interesting writing quirks?
I would like to be able to write something fun here such as wearing an old fedora or needing a lucky charm placed next to the keyboard, but the only quirk I can think of is that I prefer to write when no one is home—something that has been pretty rare!
What do you like to do when you’re not writing?
First of all, I like to read. My mother would tell me to go outside to play and I would just take my book with me. Reading has always been a passion. That said, writing—and reading—are solitary activities. One would get a little squirrely doing both all the time. I very much enjoy getting together with friends, often at one of Boston’s wonderful museums. My husband and I love to travel. We are unabashed foodies and I also dearly like to cook—fortunately!. The other things I do when not writing—putting a wash in, making the bed etc., not so much!
What is next for you? Are you working on a new Faith Fairchild book or another project?
I am writing # 23 in the series—which seems astonishing to me. The working title is The Body in the Wardrobe and although Faith Fairchild is the main character as always, I am also writing about Sophie Maxwell, a young woman I introduce to readers in The Body in the Birches. I liked the relationship that developed between the two women (Sophie had once been the Fairchild’s babysitter) and decided they needed to be together for another book—and another murder!
Thank you again for your time!
And many thanks for inviting me. Best wishes to all!
About the Author
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. 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.” In addition, 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.
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