cover image The Body in the Big Apple

The Body in the Big Apple

Katherine Hall Page. William Morrow & Company, $22 (256pp) ISBN 978-0-688-15748-7

It's the most wonderful time of the year: Fifth Avenue windows decorated for the season, holiday parties, Christmas shopping--and some blackmail and murder thrown in to spice things up. This prequel to an Agatha Award-winning series (The Body in the Bookcase, etc.) features regular Faith Sibley Fairchild in her younger days as a young Manhattanite wrapped up in her new catering company. Working a swanky party on the Upper East Side, she unexpectedly runs into former schoolmate Emma Stanstead, who is married to nascent politician Michael. Oddly (as they haven't seen each other in years), Emma confides in Faith at the party, telling her of a threatening blackmail note she's received. Faith immediately immerses herself in Emma's troubles, learning details about Emma's life that aren't exactly desirable for a politician's wife. Faith assiduously investigates as Emma hops between fundraising events and holiday balls. All clues lead to Nathan Fox, an underground radical leader, who was recently murdered in his Lower East Side apartment. Faith's discussions with Fox's comrades, agent and family leave her with puzzle pieces that seemingly don't fit, and the knotty plot has her naming multiple suspects right up to Christmas Eve. New Yorkers and suburbanites alike should enjoy this fast-paced mystery; and gastronomes will relish the aptly apple-flavored recipes that complete this work. (Nov.)