Monday, November 27, 2006

In the Bleak Midwinter by Julia Spencer-Fleming

I love when I come across a series that is new to me and I get to play catch up on all the rest of the books. Our mystery bookclub chose to read Julia Spencer-Fleming’s In a Bleak Midwinter for December. The first in a series, this award-winning novel is set near to the New York Adirondacks in the little town of Miller’s Kill. A “kill” is actually the Dutch word for creek and isn’t it clever to use that as a town name for a setting of a mystery novel. In this small town on a bitter winter night, the newly hired Episcopalian priest, Clare Fergusson finds an abandoned baby at the doorway to her church. Promptly involving the proper authorities, Clare is now committed to the well-being of this infant. Despite the note left with the baby, asking it be given to a couple in the parish, Police chief Russ Van Alstyne is charged with the task of finding the true parents. The need quickly escalates as the body of a young female college freshman and possible mother to the infant is discovered murdered by the river just outside of town. As the leads keep pointing in different members of the community Clare and Russ must work together to find the killer. As they work together, their attraction for one another grows beyond friendship, slightly problematic since Russ is married. The quick pace, the remote setting and the intricate plot compliments each other very well. I only jumped ahead once to make everyone would be okay and it was towards the end of the book (I know, very bad habit of mine but I can’t stand the suspense). I look forward to discussing the novel at our next meeting and reading the rest of the series. Her fifth one in this series, All Mortal Flesh, just came out just this past October.

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