Sunday, June 29, 2008

In the Bleak Midwinter

In the Bleak Midwinter by Julia Spencer-Fleming was originally published in 2002. My paperback copy has 358 pages. This was an ok mystery but I found the characters annoying so at about pg. 80 I skipped to the end to see "who dunnit." We'll see... this may be an indication that I have had my fill of mysteries for awhile.

At Amazon From Publishers Weekly:
In this debut novel, a riveting page-turner from start to finish, born-and-bred Virginian Clare Ferguson, newly ordained priest of St. Alban's Episcopal Church in the small upstate New York town of Millers Kill, is faced with not only an early December snowstorm and the bitter cold of her first Northern winter but also a conservative vestry, who apparently expended all their daring on hiring her, a female priest. When a baby is left on the church doorstep with a note designating that he be given to two of her parishioners, Clare calls in police chief Russ Van Alstyne. The foundling case quickly becomes an investigation into murder that will shatter the lives of members of her congregation, challenge her own feelings and faith and threaten her life. With her background as an army helicopter pilot, Clare is not a typical priest. Smart, courageous and tough, she is also caring, kindhearted and blessed with a refreshing personality. Likewise, the other characters are equally well developed and believable, except for the young pediatrician, who speaks more like a hip teenager than a professional. It is a cast readers will hope to meet again, while a fast-paced plot keeps the guess work going until the very end. Along the way, there is an exceptionally spine-chilling confrontation. The vivid setting descriptions will bring plenty of shivers, but the real strength of this stellar first is the focus on the mystery, which will delight traditional fans.

"It was one hell of a night to throw away a baby." first sentence

"The priest at St. Alban's found the little guy bundled up at the door of the church." pg. 2

"A woman priest in the army. What next? She parachute out of planes dropping bibles?" pg. 14

"In other words....will the quality families we want to attract stay away because we've filled our landmark Eighteen-fifty Gothic Revival sanctuary with Daisy Mae and Queen Latisha!" pg. 28

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