Reviewed By: Jaynie - Australia
In the Bleak Midwinter
Amazon US PB Amazon US HC Amazon Canada PB Amazon Canada HC
Class/Genre: Mystery Religious Fiction Woman Main Character
Series: Rev. Clare Ferguson and Russ Van Alstyne # 1
2002, St. Martins Minotaur, 308 pages
Claire Fergusson is the first female Episcopal priest to come to the town of Millers Kill. Clare is not a typical priest. Apart from being female she is also an ex-Army pilot. Claire struggles to become accepted by the more conservative members of her church. The last thing she needs is a scandal in the congregation but when she finds a young baby boy at the church doorstop she is determined to find out why his parents would abandon him. Also worrying Clare is that the parents of the baby may be somehow connected to her congregation and that was why they choose her church doorstep to leave the baby on. The chief of the small Millers Kill Police Force, Russ Van Alystyne, joins Clare in the hunt for baby Codys mother. The two soon find themselves embroiled in a murder investigation and must unravel the towns dirty secrets in order to ensure the baby is placed with the right family.
In the Bleak Midwinter is the first in this new series by Julia Spencer-Fleming featuring Clare and Russ. This book has won the Agatha and the Dilys, and has been nominated for the Anthony. The two protagonists develop a close friendship throughout the book as they discover common ground and forge a special bond. Readers are left to wonder that if it werent for Russ somewhat absent wife, would the two develop a sexual relationship as well. This relationship will be something to watch for in later books. The characters are interesting and well thought-out with inner conflicts to rival the main plot. The weather in Millers Kill is almost a character in itself. One of the interesting side issues in this book is Russ teaching Clare how to survive in the freezing snow. She is ill-prepared to cope with her car that gets stuck at the slightest opportunity, her light jacket, and impractical boots. This charming Police Procedural is rather soft compared to some in its genre, but one I found a delightful change. I am looking forward to the next book in the series.
Jaynie - Australia
Reprinted with permission. Do Not repost without permission from the author, Jaynie - Australia