In the Bleak Midwinter

In the Bleak Midwinter

Book - 2002
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Baker & Taylor
Clare Fergusson, the first female priest of an Episcopal church in Millers Kill, New York, finds herself immersed in murder when a newbown baby is abandoned and a young mother is brutally slain, forcing her to dig deeply into the town's secrets.

McMillan Palgrave
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 that 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.

In the Bleak Midwinter is one of the most outstanding Malice Domestic winners the contest has seen. The compelling atmosphere-the kind of very cold and snowy winter that is typical of upstate New York-will make you reach for another sweater. The characters are fully and believably drawn and you will feel like they are your old friends and find yourself rooting for them every step of the way.


Blackwell North Amer
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.

Baker
& Taylor

Trying to acclimate herself to her new parish and surroundings, Clare Fergusson, the first female priest of an Episcopal church in Millers Kill, New York, finds herself immersed in murder when a newborn baby is abandoned and a young mother is brutally slain, forcing her to dig deeply into the town's secrets, while fighting her attraction to the married police chief. Winner of the 2001 SMP/Malice Domestic Best First Traditional Mystery Contest.

Publisher: New York : Thomas Dunne Books/St. Martin's Minotaur, 2002
Edition: First edition
ISBN: 9780312288471
0312288476
Branch Call Number: MYS Spencer-Fleming, J 100.1 2002
Characteristics: 308 pages ; 22 cm

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Roundcat
Mar 25, 2017

The two main characters of this first book in a series are both vulnerable, likeable people who are drawn to each other because of their military backgrounds. They work together to solve the problems posed by the abandoned baby and the deaths that follow. I would not call this a cozy. Reverend Clare fights her way out of an ambush in the mountains during a snowstorm because of her rigorous survival training. Judging by the attitudes of the leaders of her congregation, I think St. Albans is in for some overdue changes, so further books in this series should be very interesting both from the viewpoint of the mysteries to be solved and the well-fleshed out minor characters. I look forward to meeting more citizens of Millers Kill and of St. Albans church. The principles of Clare and Russ as regards their attraction to each other, should make for some tension in forthcoming books. This series should make exciting Christian based reading.

i
IV27HUjg
Dec 15, 2016

I guess everyone else liked this based on the reviews. Me, not so much. I found it ever so tedious in conversations, I just wanted to pick up the pace & get on or over. Questionable as to my reading another from this author.

h
htliang
Oct 24, 2016

If you like mysteries set in cold climates, you'll enjoy this book. As you cosy-up in front of your fire with a cup of tea, you can read about snow, freezing temperatures, and winter driving.

Ex-Army pilot, Clare Fergusson, becomes the first female priest in a small, upstate New York town. One cold night she finds a newborn baby boy abandoned on the church step. A short time later, a young woman's body is found. As Clare works with Police Chief Russ Van Alystyne to find the killer, she struggles with her growing attraction toward the married man.

Great novel with lots of humor, likeable characters, and an interesting plot. This is the first in the series, so I'm going to definitely read the second (A Fountain Filled With Blood) and third (Out of the Deep I Cry). I'm always happy to find a great author who gives me lots to read!

l
LadyJaneBrais
Jun 12, 2016

Really entertaining, well written whodunit, the first of a series about this town. Characters are interesting and seem very real to this reader. I look forward to enjoying the rest of the series. The library does not have the 2nd book in the series, "A Fountain Filled With Blood", however, I bought it on Ebay . Or the 3rd book, "To Darkness and to Death, I also bought on Ebay.

h
horthhill
Jan 11, 2016

"In the Bleak Midwinter" by Julia Spencer-Fleming was not a bad mystery. There was a nice balance between the detecting of the two sleuths - Russ and Clare - and there was a nice balance between the church and police work. My only complaint was the couple of chapters where Clare is having her back country adventure with the bad guy. Plot holes and awkward description marred this bit. Mind you it still read as thrilling. On a good note, tying Cody to the train tracks was avoided.

b
bookie66
Sep 21, 2015

It has been years since a book
has kept me up so late. Really great book. Love her writing style.

Chapel_Hill_KenMc Dec 22, 2014

Deftly written characters and a fast pace make this a superior small-town mystery. Spencer-Fleming pairs an ex-military female helicopter pilot with admirable survival skills, now an Episcopalian priest, with a rather stereotypical hard-boiled but soft-hearted police chief. They make for some entertaining repartee and romantic sparks that are sure to develop in the succeeding books in the series. This first book was the winner of all the top mystery fiction prizes in 2002.

LPL_ShirleyB Jun 11, 2014

1st in this mystery series with main character Reverend Clare Fergusson. Clare is an Episcopal priest and former Army helicopter pilot in the fictional town of Miller’s Kill in upstate New York.

JCLElaineB May 29, 2014

An OK mystery, but mostly predictable.

l
lpreston214
May 24, 2013

A new series for me. I think I found this series by checking out another author's recommendations at the bottom of their page on Fantastic Fiction. FF is a great source in case you've never tried it. Anyway, I went into this with some trepidation because the main character is an Episcopal priest. However, she's definitely not traditional and I enjoyed her very much. Good characters and good mystery.

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