In the Bleak Midwinter

In the Bleak Midwinter

Downloadable Audiobook
Average Rating:
Rate this:
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.
Publisher: ** E-Book // Click on DOWNLOAD link to place holds
ISBN: 9780792741503
Branch Call Number: EBOOK AUDIO
Alternative Title: OverDrive


From the critics

Community Activity


Add a Comment
Mar 25, 2019

1st book in the series of 8 titles thru yr 2012.
Enjoyable reading; intelligent writing.
Might be called a series as fitting into the Clerical Detective genre.

It's early winter, but very cold and snowy; Reverend Clare, the newly hired Episcopal priest Pastor ... St. Alban's Church in a town of 12,000; New England; Adirondak area;
Clare is a former military helicopter pilot, a person trained in a variety of survival skills.
To learn more about her new assignment in the town's community, Clare "call me Clare"
pairs herself up with the local Chief of Police, Russ, and ... goodness...Reverend Clare shows a sense of internal direction guiding her investigative skills, and holds fast to her personal commitment to show people an attitude of 'care' in all variety of life, death, and murder circumstances.

And so --- The cop and the Priest....each have their stories to tell.
Reverend Clare expresses the values of caring for people which is a backbone structure of the plot, filled with the tensions of how people differ in motivation, class, status, behaviors, etc.
Clare is most definitely not a sissy.
next in the series is A Fountain Filled With Blood and 3rd is Out of the Deep I Cry.

Mar 04, 2018

Freezing weather, cool reception for a newly appointed pastor, cold hearted murder, chilling suspense...and surprise after surprise. You think you know who committed the murder, until the second the third murder you are not so sure; there is always another possibility. You want to remind the detective he's a married man, the priest to buy a pair of snow boots and to stop butting into police business, when she hardly knows her flock, and, yes, you want a sip of the church sherry to make it through the twists.

A great diversion... Read It!

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.

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.

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!

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.

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.

Sep 21, 2015

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

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.

JCLElaineB May 29, 2014

An OK mystery, but mostly predictable.

View All Comments


Add Age Suitability

There are no ages for this title yet.


Add a Summary

There are no summaries for this title yet.


Add Notices

There are no notices for this title yet.


Add a Quote

There are no quotes for this title yet.

Explore Further


Subject Headings


Find it at CALS

To Top