Thursday, May 2, 2013

Katherine Hall Page, THE BODY IN THE PIAZZA, at Stellina's Restaurant, Watertown Square

Stellina's Restaurant in Watertown Square was the site
of  a book signing and talk given yesterday by Katherine Hall Page.
The book launch for Katherine Hall Page's new mystery, THE BODY IN THE PIAZZA, took place yesterday evening at Stellina's Restaurant in Watertown Square.  [Yes, if you've been watching the news, the very same Watertown Square, 3 blocks from the police shootout and capture of the perpetrators of the Boston Marathon terrorists.]  

Katherine Hall Page:  "Whenever I go to a party or a gathering, folks ask me what I do. Once it is known that I write murder mysteries, invariably someone sidles up to me during the event and whispers, 'I have the perfect way to kill someone without anyone ever finding out.'  Well, that certainly gives me pause!"

Page explained that she writes in the tradition of Agatha Christie; she writes a puzzle mystery where the author is matching wits with the reader, giving clues that are fair, without strewing any red herrings.  "When you have finished reading the book, I want you to say, 'I should have guessed that!'"

She described her murder mysteries as "soft-boiled" as opposed to "hardboiled", and quoted earlier critics of the genre as placing such mysteries in the "cozy" genre . . . more tea than blood!  "Murder mysteries play on the difference between appearance and reality," she commented.

Page traced the genre of the murder mystery back to Medieval times and the battle of good vs. evil, where order is finally restored.  "In the 1980's, such writers as Sue Grafton and Sarah Peretsky broke through the glass ceiling (years after Agatha Christie had begun to lead the way), and women started authoring murder mysteries.

Commenting on her own love of reading, she commented, "I can't remember a time when I couldn't read.  If I have nothing to read, I read soup can labels, the backs of cereal boxes . . . whatever I can find."

Unlike her earlier mysteries, most of which were set in Maine, The Body in the Piazza is set in Italy.  

The Body in the Piazza concludes with recipes for the dishes mentioned throughout the novel, and it is for that reason that yesterday evening, following the book signing, Stellina's served an Italian dinner using those very recipes.

"Nothing you can think of is as strange as reality," said Page. She said that when she begins writing, she knows who the murderer is and how the book is going to end.   Page admitted that when she writes, "It's as if I'm taking dictation from my imagination."  

"Nothing you write cannot be made better. . . I have great editors!"

Katherine Hall Page talks about her new book, THE BODY IN THE PIAZZA.


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