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The Body in the Belfry (Faith Fairchild #1)

3.68  ·  Rating Details  ·  1,479 Ratings  ·  96 Reviews
During her years spent in New York City. Faith Fairchild was convinced she had seen pretty much everything. But the transplanted caterer/minister's wife was unprepared for the surprises awaiting her in the sleepy Massachusetts village of Aleford. And she is especially taken aback by the dead body of a pretty young thing she discovers stashed in the church's belfry. The vic ...more
Paperback, 314 pages
Published April 3rd 2001 by Avon (first published 1990)
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Cozy Mystery Series
136th out of 644 books — 1,772 voters
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First books of some good cozy series
82nd out of 357 books — 488 voters


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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 2,713)
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Richard Derus
Rating: 2.5* of five

The Book Description: During her years spent in New York City. Faith Fairchild was convinced she had seen pretty much everything. But the transplanted caterer/minister's wife was unprepared for the surprises awaiting her in the sleepy Massachusetts village of Aleford. And she is especially taken aback by the dead body of a pretty young thing she discovers stashed in the church's belfry. The victim, Cindy Shepherd. was well-known locally for her acid tongue and her jilted bea
...more
Larraine
Apr 06, 2012 Larraine rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a fun series. I have read the more recent books, but it's always interesting to read the first book in a mystery series. What I like about this series is that, while it's light reading, it's not stupid reading. There has been a lot of stupid writing in the mystery genre lately. I can tell pretty quickly after reading a few pages. When I have the urge to throw the book in the trash, it's time to return it to the library! In this case, I got this copy from Paperback Book Swap, a site I rec ...more
Karen Miles
I read this book as part of a book challenge...the task was to read a book where the main character was either in the clergy or a spouse of a clergy.

This book fits the bill as Faith Fairchild is the spouse of a clergyman in a small New England town. Faith is not the usual "stereotype" of a clergyman's wife, even though she is the daughter of a clergyman. Faith was born and raised in New York City and is used to the excitement of city life. Faith is happily married with a newborn son. However, s
...more
Lisa (Harmonybites)
Jan 19, 2011 Lisa (Harmonybites) rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Those Who Love Cozy Mysteries
Recommended to Lisa (Harmonybites) by: The Complete Idiot's Guide to the Ultimate Reading List
This is a "cozy mystery," the first in a series. This book didn't exactly suck me in and point of view issues didn't help. Most of the first chapter was skimmable backstory told in narrative summary, and Faith Sibley, our sleuth, didn't come alive to me as a person.

Faith is a caterer and minister's wife in the small Massachusetts town of Aleford. She's heaving "Victorian sighs" because she's homesick for New York City and bewailing nothing has happened in Aleford since 1775. (I found Faith rath
...more
Beth
Oct 18, 2015 Beth rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a tidy, well-written little cozy. This isn't a type of mystery I'm usually interested in...the darker, gritty, more twisted ones are more appealing to me. But this one had a lot going for it and I will definitely continue with the series. The setting (small town New England in the fall) was beautifully described and created the perfect atmosphere for the story about a quaint town hiding some dark secrets. Most of them involve a nasty young villain whose murdered body is discovered in the ...more
Suzanne Young
I thought there was too much "life in a small town" and not enough action around the mystery itself. Nice if you like small-town gossip.
Spotsalots
This cozy-style mystery is readable enough in its way, but I really don't understand how it managed to win an Agatha Award for Best First Mystery. As other readers have pointed out, it's set in a ridiculously cliche New England village full of ancestor-worshippers (please, why couldn't they have been PAGAN ancestor-worshippers just for variety?) and in general the characters are unusually one-dimensional even by genre fiction standards. The heroine is a New York City gourmet caterer whose love f ...more
Cheryl Landmark
A pleasant, cozy mystery read that wasn't spectacular but enjoyable nonetheless.

Faith was a likeable character with tons of curiousity and feistiness, who was trying hard to fit into the quiet, sleepy small town of Aleford and assume the role of a minister's wife after spending years in New York City. It was a bit of a culture shock for her, to say the least, but her love for her husband, Tom, and his mission in life made the transition a little easier. I liked the easygoing, loving relationship
...more
Fanficfan44
The Body in the Belfry is the first in the Faith Fairchild series. I have read one other, number 4 out of order, and decided to go back to this one. This is a series that surprised me in that I am not religious and I usually do not like religious themed books at all. In this series, Faith is a minister’s wife, and yet the books manage to not be preachy or full of morality lessons, etc. I liked the mystery and the characters, Faith and her husband Tom manage to be fully fleshed out characters, no ...more
Susan
Aug 22, 2015 Susan rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I enjoyed it, but not as much as the previous book I read by the author. It was the very first in the series and the actual book was a paperback that looked like it had been through the wringer. It shouldn't have, but I think that affected how I liked the book.
Carrie
May 11, 2011 Carrie rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
This book was disappointing. I had high hopes for it, since I'm always excited to start a mystery series I hadn't tried before. This one is about a minister's wife, Faith, who moves with her husband from NYC to a small New England town. And there, surprise, surprise, she discovers a body in the belfry.

I found that I didn't care about Faith, her husband, or any of the other characters. The writing was very slow, and I had to force myself to keep reading it. Supposedly the people in the town were
...more
Theresa Schmidt
Jan 01, 2016 Theresa Schmidt rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Page beats around the bush way too much--the whole "time out" where Faith goes to New York was just pointless, and the whole family history murder thing was confusing. Also, Faith whines and complains a lot, and is rather annoying in general. Bad start to what turned out to be a bad series.

Note: I've read this entire series up to The Body in the Attic, and the best rating I've given any of them is 2 stars, which is sad and says a lot about the series. I kept reading because it really has potenti
...more
Kristen
I enjoyed this for what it is - a cozy murder mystery about the goings-on in small towns.

As a transplanted New Yorker now living in a small town outside of Boston, there's plenty of fish-out-of-water-isms that Faith Fairchild experiences as the new wife of the local minister. As someone who grew up in a small town and now lives in a big city, I did this experience the other way around [without the marrying a minister part, because, hahahaha, the very idea of that, just not happening, but I digre
...more
Kathy Davie
Sep 28, 2010 Kathy Davie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery, homey
I so enjoyed reading this. Such a perfect partnership between Faith and her minister husband--love, patience, enthusiasm, consideration. Page has drawn a lovely range of characters. I look forward to getting to know them all better.

The Have Faith part reminds me of Diane Mott Davidson's Goldy Bear series while the New England village setting bears a vague feeling of Agatha Christie's Miss Marple. And the whole creates a very homey feeling.
Katherine Clark
This won the best first novel Agatha for 1990. I read this novel for the monograph, and I am calling it a cozy. I was surprised and pleased at how much I enjoyed it. It was my second reading of it, and I can see why this was a successful series. I have several quibbles, but the chief one was I so completely did not buy (or did not appreciate) the way an affair was handled by a major character. I was actually pretty pissed off about it. There were also some weird transitional issues, but I put th ...more
Andrea
First books can be tough and I try not to judge a series by book 1. Which is all to say, this wasn't amazing. The mystery itself was pretty good but the characterizations could have been richer and the pacing was rather uneven. The main character is interesting in terms of being a minister's wife with no particular calling for that role. She is doing her best and I was amused by her occasional struggle to "dial it back" a bit and be a proper helpmeet. The name drops for her various clothing opti ...more
Debbie
Jan 11, 2011 Debbie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book is the beginning of a growing list of “Body in the _____” series. Its heroine is Faith Sibley, a native New Yorker who has started a gourmet catering service. She meets and falls in love with Tom Fairchild, a young minister who whisks her away from her beloved home town to a much different life in rural Massachusetts. Faith is trying her best to fit into the role of pastor’s wife in a small town where everyone’s family goes back several generations and where everyone knows everyone el ...more
Nikki
The Body in the Belfry is the first in a series whose protagonist is Faith Fairchild, a New York-bred caterer who falls in love with a minister and ends up in a small suburban Boston town. In this book, although she has been married long enough to produce a baby, she is still learning her way around the New England mores, as well as how to be a mother and a pastor's wife. When she discovers a dead body in a historic landmark (this belfry is free-standing, not atop a church) it leads to undreamed ...more
Oswego Public Library District
Faith is a New Yorker transplanted into a small New England town. She is still a bit of an outsider in a town with closely held secrets. With her young baby in tow, Faith moves about town listening for clues that will solve a murder. Good depiction of small town life in New England complete with quirky characters, and of a young woman trying to stay true to her own culinary interests as she adapts to a slightly different way of life. This is a good cozy "whodunnit" with only suggested violence. ...more
Pam
Nov 11, 2011 Pam rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Katherine Hall Page -- The Body in the Belfry 11/09/11 -- 4/B
Mystery/1990/St. Martin's Press/258 LP
#1 in Faith Fairchild series
Late 1980's/Aleford, MA
Faith Fairchild -- minister's wife, mother, caterer, amateur sleuth
1st Lines: Fairth Fairchild, recently of NYC, paused to catch her breath.
Comments: Another series I've been meaning to try for years. Was able to find the 1st in the series at the library. Faith is a very likeable character, a born & bred New Yorker, independent -- started her o
...more
Gail
Jan 30, 2015 Gail rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is the first in a Series by Katherine Page Hall. I had read a much later one #18 and was anxious to read more. So I went back to the beginning. I like the main characters in this book but they lack the depth of the ones in the later book. This is a good cozy mystery easy to read and follow. But I'm glad I read # 18 first or I wouldn't have wanted to continue reading Katherine Page Hall's books as much as I do. I believe as she wrote more her style grew giving us more mature characters to wh ...more
Lois
Mar 26, 2015 Lois rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A Manhattanite caterer is adjusting pretty well to her life as the wife of a small-town minister and new mother. She finds a body in the tower where she has gone to eat lunch with her five-month-old son and her curiosity leads her into solving the murder.

This is the first in a series. Love it that Faith is married to a minister but refuses to give up high-end clothes and is a food snob. A nice cast of characters.

Audio book.
Ang
Feb 12, 2016 Ang rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
(Read for OLPL's Mysteries in the Morning book group)

This was quite delightful! I was super surprised by how much I liked Faith and her little New England town. (And the wacky townies who round out the supporting cast.) I even kind of want to read the next book in the series!

It's probably Faith's age and interests (around mine, food) that really got me, but the interesting story didn't hurt either.
Lauren Fidler
this is the first in the faith fairchild series - and one i sort of wish i'd read first (instead of starting with like the 14th book in the series).

it's interesting to see where certain characters started...and what they've become, though.

of all the faiths, this was my favorite. there was no actual cookbook in the back, so that gimmick must have happened later. hall page also tried this thing where she got in the heads of many characters, not just faith. i'm glad she dropped that as well.

the ki
...more
Chris Leuchtenburg
A somewhat heavy handed treatment of the female amateur detective trope. The author doesn't quite pull off the coy self references, "that's like something that would happen in a mystery novel." These come off more twee than cute. Still, it is not a bad first effort with a Boston suburban setting, a parson's wife, and some characters that would seem to have potential for future episodes.
George
Dec 26, 2015 George rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
#1 in the Faith Sibley Fairchild minister's wife mystery series set in a small Massachusetts town of Aleford near Boston. Faith discovers the body of a young woman who was probably the most disliked person in the town. Soon Faith is involved in trying to determined who murder the young woman in what becomes more complicated by the day.
Gail
Jul 17, 2014 Gail rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The first in a mystery series set in the little town of Aleford, Massachusetts, this book introduces Faith Fairchild, a young mother and wife of the town's minister. I liked the humour and the quick pace of the story, and the contrast between Faith's New York point of view and that of the townspeople. I'm looking forward to the next in the series.
Cynthia
Another pick for my little mystery lunch group and another enjoyable read. This is the first in this particular series for Page and it's a fine start. The writing is both eloquent and down to earth, sometimes quite tongue in cheek. Page throws in a few asides that are absolutely hilarious.

Faith Fairchild, formerly a successful caterer in NYC and now wife to a small town minister and new mother to son Benjamin, discovers the body of a young woman in a church belfry. Faith soon discovers that the
...more
Jennifer Bagby
Sep 20, 2015 Jennifer Bagby marked it as to-read
Shelves: period-mystery, own
Faith Fairchild
1. The Body in the Belfry (1990)
2. The Body in the Kelp (1990)
3. The Body in the Bouillon (1991)
4. The Body in the Vestibule (1992)
5. The Body in the Cast (1993)
6. The Body in the Basement (1994)
7. The Body in the Bog (1996)
aka The Body in the Marsh
8. The Body in the Fjord (1997)
9. The Body in the Bookcase (1998)
10. The Body in the Big Apple (1999)
11. The Body in the Moonlight (2001)
12. The Body In The Bonfire (2002)
13. The Body in the Lighthouse (2003)
14. The Body in the Attic (
...more
Diane Hernandez
Sep 13, 2015 Diane Hernandez rated it did not like it
Shelves: thriftbooks
Unbelievable characters that I wouldn't want to spend time with again in a poorly plotted first mystery that somehow beat Diane Mott Davidson for the 1990 Best First Mystery Agatha award. It is hard to imagine that this series currently has 21 books but I won't be reading another.
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Katherine Hall Page is the author of fifteen previous Faith Fairchild mysteries, the first of which received the Agatha Award for best first mystery and the most recent of which, The Body in the Snowdrift, was honored with the Agatha Award for best novel. Page also won an Agatha for her short story "The Would-Be Widower." She lives in Massachusetts with her husband and son. (from the publisher's w ...more
More about Katherine Hall Page...

Other Books in the Series

Faith Fairchild (1 - 10 of 23 books)
  • The Body in the Kelp (Faith Fairchild, #2)
  • The Body in the Bouillon (Faith Fairchild, #3)
  • The Body in the Vestibule (Faith Fairchild, #4)
  • The Body in the Cast (Faith Fairchild, #5)
  • The Body in the Basement (Faith Fairchild, #6)
  • The Body in the Bog (Faith Fairchild, #7)
  • The Body in the Fjord (Faith Fairchild, #8)
  • The Body in the Bookcase (Faith Fairchild, #9)
  • The Body in the Big Apple (Faith Fairchild, #10)
  • The Body in the Moonlight (Faith Fairchild, #11)

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