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In the bleak midwinter
Julia Spencer-Fleming
Adult Fiction SPENCER

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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. (Mar. 25) FYI: This novel won the 2001 SMP/Malice Domestic Best Traditional Mystery contest. (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

From Library Journal:

This first novel, winner of St. Martin's Malice Domestic Award for 2001, introduces an unusual investigative partnership and a probable new series. Russ Van Alstyne, police chief of Millers Kill, and Clare Fergusson, new-to-town Episcopal priest, first meet when she reports a baby abandoned at the church. The two later discover the body of the baby's young mother. As the investigation progresses, Clare runs into opposition from staid church members, two of whom will do anything to adopt the child. With superb skill, exact detail, and precise diction, this highlights credible personal conflicts. For all collections. (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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main characters Clare Fergusson
Female
Episcopalian
Ex-Army chopper pilot; discovers a new born infant abandoned on her church steps.
Priest

Russ Van Alstyne
Male
Married
Searching for the mother of an infant abandoned at a church.
Police chief



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