In the Bleak Midwinter
Here is a mystery with a winter setting to pull you through a winter slump. The title of this mystery by Julia Spencer-Fleming comes from the hymn “In the Bleak Midwinter,” and the descriptions of the snow and cold add to the atmosphere of the story. Clare Fergusson is the new priest at St. Alban’s Episcopal Church in the small town of Millers Kill, NY who finds an abandoned infant at the church at the beginning of December. The baby boy has a note saying that his name is Cody and that he should go to Mr. and Mrs. Burns, who are both lawyers and members of the church and who want to adopt a child. Chief of Police Russ Van Alstyne is called to investigate. Clare asks Russ if she can ride along with him when he is on duty so she can get a better grasp of the problems facing the community, and they discover the body of a young woman who was murdered. The initial evidence shows that the unidentified young woman was the mother of the abandoned baby. So who is the young woman? Who is the boyfriend/father? What is the connection to the church? Who killed the young woman and why? The characters of Clare and Russ are believable. Both served in the military, and both are smart and tough but caring. In the Bleak Midwinter is the first in the Reverend Clare Fergusson mystery series. The most recent, Through the Evil Days, was published in 2013.