In the Bleak Midwinter
By Julia Spencer-Fleming
(Minotaur Books, Mass Market Paperback, 9780312986766, 384pp.)
Publication Date: March 2003
Categories: Mystery & Detective - Women Sleuths
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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.
Julia Spencer-Fleming was born at the Plattsburgh Air Force Base and spent most of her childhood on the move as an Army brat. She lives in a 180-year-old farmhouse outside of Portland, Maine, with her husband, three children, and beloved big dog.
"Terrific action scenes...what really distinguishes In the Bleak Midwinter, however, is the author's skillful portrayal of her protagonist's inner conflict."
-Washington Post Book World
"A riveting page-turner from start to finish."
-Publishers Weekly (starred review)
"Fleming hits a grand slam with In the Bleak Midwinter. The tension is constant. The dialogue is dead-on. The characters are interesting, thought provoking, and honest. The prose soars above the quality usually found in this genre. To top it all off, the story twists and turns to the last page."-Denver Rocky Mountain News
"Without ever slighting the central situation of the abandoned mother and her abandoned child, Spencer-Fleming shows admirable resourcefulness in the changes she rings on it."
"Compelling...many twists."-Romantic Times
"Filled with many twists and turns...[a] warm tale."-Midwest Book Review
"The prose soars...the story twists and turns to the last page."
-Maine Sunday Telegram
"Julia Spencer-Fleming is already a winner, but she deserves a triple crown. In a strong, distinctive voice, she sets her characters down In the Bleak Midwinter and pits them against public murder, personal demons, and the power of nature itself."-Kathy Lynn Emerson, author of the Face Down Mysteries
"One of the most impressive "first" crime novels I've read. A priest, a cop, a baby on the doorstep, and a lot of snow combined with suspenseful results for one great book."
-Charlaine Harris, author of Shakespeare's Counselor
"Don't miss this one! You'll be rooting for Clare Fergusson in this engaging and vital mystery."
-April Henry, author of the Claire Montrose mysteries and Learning to Fly