When I began reading Katherine Hall Page’s Body in the Ivy, I was excited. A clear departure form what she normally writes. Faith Fairchild, her main character, is sidelined by a story of an all-girls school, prestigious and in the East Coast of the States. Soon it was I, the reader who felt sidelined. There were numerous references to Agatha Christie and the plot was the same as Christie’s Ten Little Indians. The allusions to Christie’s work were too many and too obvious. In Page’s book it is a murderess killing the other stranded woman on the Island. I found I could not properly finish this book. The dysfunction caused by a character who, in the story, was dead 20 years I found increasingly sickening. The character was an incredible narcissistic monster. I found myself skipping pages and pages (I hate not knowing who the murder is) and in the end just read the last two pages.
There was nothing I expected in a Faith Fairchild mystery. No cosiness, no family, the only characterization that was truly fleshed out was the evil girl whose actions haunt the other characters. I was left with a sense of distaste for New England Schools and sensed a bitterness and despair throughout the book’s narration.
Some of Page’s books I have thoroughly enjoyed, and even re-read. I am sad to say this is a book I will not pick up again.