Lobster Pasta Fra Diavolo from The Body in the Casket by Katherine Hall Page

In The Body in the Casket, the inimitable Faith Fairchild–professional caterer and amateur sleuth–returns in a chilling New England whodunit, inspired by the best Agatha Christie mysteries and with hints of the timeless board game Clue…

For most of her adult life, Faith Fairchild has called the sleepy Massachusetts village of Aleford home. While the native New Yorker has come to know the region well, she isn’t familiar with Havencrest, a privileged enclave, until the owner of Rowan House, a secluded sprawling Arts and Crafts mansion, calls her about catering a weekend house party.

Producer/director of a string of hit musicals, Max Dane—a Broadway legend—is throwing a lavish party to celebrate his seventieth birthday. At the house as they discuss the event, Faith’s client makes a startling confession. “I didn’t hire you for your cooking skills, fine as they may be, but for your sleuthing ability. You see, one of the guests wants to kill me.”

Faith’s only clue is an ominous birthday gift the man received the week before—an empty casket sent anonymously containing a twenty-year-old Playbill from Max’s last, and only failed, production—Heaven or Hell. Consequently, Max has drawn his guest list for the party from the cast and crew. As the guests begin to arrive one by one, and an ice storm brews overhead, Faith must keep one eye on the menu and the other on her host to prevent his birthday bash from becoming his final curtain call.

Full of delectable recipes like the one below and Faith’s signature biting wit, The Body in the Casket is a delightful thriller that echoes the beloved mysteries of Agatha Christie and classic films such as Murder by Death and Deathtrap.

The Body in the Casket is available now.  Start reading an excerpt here and order your copy today!

Lobster Pasta Fra Diavolo

Where “Brother Devil’s Lobster” originated is a true mystery. Many sources claim it was invented in Manhattan’s Little Italy around the early 1930s, since 1930s NYC restaurant guides mention it as house specialties. These sources note that the recipe is not typical of Italian cooking—a much heavier sauce. Others insist that it was brought over here from Naples. Whatever the truth, it is a blessing—a wonderful “special occasion” dish!

  • Two 1 ½ pound lobsters
  • 1 medium yellow onion diced
  • 3 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 4 tablespoons olive oil
  • 28 oz. can peeled tomatoes (San Marzano if possible)
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 1/4 cup dry white wine
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1 (16 oz.) fresh or packaged linguine

Steam the lobsters using your favorite method. You may also substitute shrimp, peeled and deveined, for lobster. When the lobster is done, remove the claw, knuckle, and tail meat. Use the body and all the shells to make stock if you wish. Devein the tails and cut all the meat into bite size pieces, reserving the claws to decorate the top of the finished dish.

Sauté the onion and garlic in the olive oil until soft. Crush the tomatoes in a bowl (an old fashioned potato masher is perfect) and add to the onions and garlic along with the tomato paste, wine, salt, and pepper flakes.

Simmer for 15-20 minutes, stirring frequently as the sauce thickens. While the sauce is simmering boil the water for the pasta. Cook the pasta according to the package directions, usually 8-10 minutes. Reserve a cup of the sauce. Drain the pasta and add it to the rest of the sauce, coating the linguine thoroughly.  Add the lobster pieces and stir.

Transfer the pasta onto a large heated platter and decorate with the claws, pouring the cup of sauce on top. You may further add some chopped Italian parsley as well, but Faith is a purist and likes to see only lobster.  Serves 4-6 amply.

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