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In the Bleak Midwinter: A Clare…

In the Bleak Midwinter: A Clare Fergusson/Russ Van Alsyne Novel (Russ Van… (original 2002; edition 2012)

by Julia Spencer-Fleming

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1,149977,104 (3.95)249
Title:In the Bleak Midwinter: A Clare Fergusson/Russ Van Alsyne Novel (Russ Van Alstyne and Clare Fergusson)
Authors:Julia Spencer-Fleming
Info:Minotaur Books (2012), Edition: Reprint, Paperback, 320 pages
Collections:Your library
Tags:mystery, New York, police, priest

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In the Bleak Midwinter by Julia Spencer-Fleming (2002)



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Showing 1-5 of 97 (next | show all)
A murder mystery taking place in a small Adirondack town and told from the points of view of the police chief (Russ) and the new priest at the Episcopalian church (Clare). The story starts with a baby abandoned at the doorstep of the church, with things eventually escalating to murder. I really enjoyed the set-up of this novel with the police chief and the priest and their differing goals and the methods they bring to trying to help people and find the truth. I was intrigued by the mystery itself, although I did get a little tired of it before it got resolved (especially during the penultimate "action" bit in the woods). There's a slow burn between Russ and Clare (that's not really a spoiler--it's pretty obvious things are going that way very early) which is interesting and brings up some intriguing moral issues (Russ being married). I'll probably read the next one some day. ( )
  lycomayflower | Nov 27, 2015 |
Woman priest (Episcopal) who is an Army vet. My kind of protagonist. When a newborn infant is left at the church's doorstep, Clare Fergusson teams up with the town's police chief. When the newly discovered baby's mother is murdered, well there's more than meets the eye in the small town of Millers Kill. Struggle through the middle of winter in the New York Adirondacks to find a murder who strikes more than one and you've got a mystery. ( )
  melsbks | Apr 1, 2015 |
I started reading this book for three reasons: 1) The Kindle edition was reduced in price for the month of February; 2) One of the main characters was a religious figure (and met a task in this season's Reading with Style challenge); and 3) the reader ratings were good. I also thought a little break from often-heavy literary fiction would be a welcome change. Well - I was pleasantly surprised by how quickly I moved through this book and how captivated I was by the main characters: the female Episcopalian priest and the police chief in upstate New York who team up to solve a case smack dab in the middle of a very cold winter. I've already purchased the next two books in this series and I'm looking forward to more mysteries. ( )
  kellifrobinson | Nov 25, 2014 |
Clare Fergusson, the new priest at Millers Kill, discovers a newborn baby on the steps of her church. She and the chief of police, Russ, work to discover the baby's mother. The mother, Katie, and then later Katie's father too are found murdered. The descriptions of Clare's interactions with her middle-class introspective "vestry" are interesting and the relationships among the police officers humorous and affectionate. The author has to work hard to make it convincing that Clare should have access to up to date information about and participation in the police investigation and at times this becomes a bit strained. The lengthy section towards the end where Clare is nearly killed was different from the more dialogue-heavy bulk of the book and I lost interest a bit at that point. I found the attraction between Clare and Russ to be well-portrayed, but I find it hard to believe a priest would not have higher personal standards. I note that Russ' wife does not feature, presumably lest we sympathize with her. Also, Clare is strikingly clueless about the weather and survival skills generally for some one who has previously served in the US armed forces (I hope!) ( )
2 vote pgchuis | Nov 5, 2014 |
Ex-Army chopper pilot Clare Fergusson is starting her new calling as an Episcopal parish priest in a small New England town. She is just getting to know her congregation and new surroundings (including a rough New England winter), when a new born baby is left on the church’s doorstep. A few days later, a young woman’s body is found in the local lake and the mystery around the baby deepens. Reverend Clare is not one to stand back and let the local sheriff’s office handle the case without her help. She becomes involved to the point that she ends up putting her own life at risk.
I really enjoyed this book. The mystery is good – the author gives enough clues that you think you have it figured out – but then something else happens to change your mind. The two main characters are well developed and are both very likeable. The only complaint I have is that Clare often seems to take more upon herself than she should – I found myself telling her to “Call the sheriff!” several times. Of course, by doing this, she did put herself in several dangerous situations that added to the suspense of the book.
I am very glad that this is the first book in a series – I can’t wait to read the others! ( )
  peggy.s | Aug 4, 2014 |
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Spencer-Fleming, Juliaprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Toren, SuzanneReadermain authorsome editionsconfirmed
Dimsdale, EdCover photosecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Trossbach, StefanTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Winter must be cold for those with no warm memories.
--Delmer Daves and Leo McCary
To Leslie
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It was one hell of a night to throw away a baby.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0312986769, Mass Market Paperback)

Heavy Snow...Icy Desires...Cold-Blooded Murder
Clare Fergusson, St. Alban's new priest, fits like a square peg in the conservative Episcopal parish at Millers Kill, New York. She is not just a "lady," she's a tough ex-Army chopper pilot, and nobody's fool. Then a newborn infant left at the church door brings her together with the town's police chief, Russ Van Alstyne, who's also ex-Army and a cynical good shepherd for the stray sheep of his hometown. Their search for the baby's mother quickly leads them into the secrets that shadow Millers Kill like the ever-present Adirondacks. What they discover is a world of trouble, an attraction to each other—and murder...
In the Bleak Midwinter was Julia Spencer-Fleming's first novel, and it won a Macavity Award, an Agatha Award, an Anthony Award, and a Dilys Award.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:23:11 -0400)

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"It's a cold, snowy December in the upstate New York town of Millers Kill, and newly ordained Clare Fergusson is on thin ice as the first female priest of its small Episcopal church. The ancient regime running the parish covertly demands that she prove herself as a leader. However, her blunt manner, honed by years as an Army pilot, is meeting with a chilly reception from some members of her congregation, and Chief of Police Russ Van Alystyne, in particular, doesn't know what to make of her or how to address "a lady priest, " for that matter." "The last thing she needs is trouble, but that is exactly what she finds. When a newborn baby is abandoned on the church stairs and a young mother is brutally murdered, Clare has to pick her way through the secrets and silence that shadow the town like the ever-present Adirondack Mountains. As the days dwindle down and the attraction between the avowed priest and the married police chief grows, Clare will need all her faith, tenacity, and courage to stand fast against a killer's icy heart."--BOOK JACKET.… (more)

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