- Taschenbuch: 384 Seiten
- Verlag: St Martin's Press; Auflage: Reprint (17. April 2003)
- Sprache: Englisch
- ISBN-10: 0312986769
- ISBN-13: 978-0312986766
- Größe und/oder Gewicht: 10,7 x 2,6 x 17,3 cm
- Durchschnittliche Kundenbewertung: 4 Kundenrezensionen
- Amazon Bestseller-Rang: Nr. 279.220 in Fremdsprachige Bücher (Siehe Top 100 in Fremdsprachige Bücher)
In the Bleak Midwinter: A Clare Fergusson and Russ Van Alstyne Mystery (Clare Fergusson and Russ Van Alstyne Mysteries) (Englisch) Taschenbuch – 17. April 2003
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Superb! "Library Journal" 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. "Kirkus Reviews" 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""
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 everpresent Adirondacks. What they discover is a world of trouble, an attraction to each other - and murder...Alle Produktbeschreibungen
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Ein Glücksgriff! Die Heldin allein ist schon spannend (eine Ex-Army-Pilotin aus den US-Südstaaten, die vor kurzem als Geistliche in ein Kaff in den Staat New York versetzt wurde und sich dort mit dem Polizei-Chief anfreundet, ebenfalls Ex-Army und ein Mann, den man als Leserin unbedingt kennenlernen möchte ...)
Aber Fleming schreibt auch noch klasse!
Zuerst ist die Enttäuschung groß, da die Charaktere zwar spannend und detail-reich beschrieben sind, aber es schon bald klar zu sein scheint, wer die Morde begangen hat. Spencer-Fleming dreht diese Verdachtsmomente aber immer wieder um, so dass mal der, mal die ein exzellentes Motiv zu haben scheinen. Nach einem nagelkauend spannenden Finale im tiefen Schnee legt man das Buch bedauernd zur Seite.
Leider hat noch kein deutscher Verlag diese Autorin entdeckt. Es wird Zeit!
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The winter was a little less bleak when I reluctantly finished this extraordinary reading experience. Read it.
The setting is small-town upstate New York in the Adirondacks somewhere between Albany and Saratoga. Everyone knows everyone and their business in a burg of only 8,000 souls. The heroine is an novice Episcopalian priest from Virginia and DC in her first posting, Clare Fergusson and our hero, Russ VanAlstyne, is the Chief of Police.
Don't be put off by the religious bent of Clare. She is devoutly liberal and free-thinking much to her Bishop's dismay and a champion of the downtrodden. Unfortunately, she is completely out of her element in Millers Kill, NY. (Kill is a Dutch derivative meaning a stream that runs into a river, in this case, Millers Kill runs into the Hudson.)
In Clare's capacity as priest, she is thrown into murder and mayhem and meets Russ VanAlstyne, the "older-by-14 years" Chief of Police and agnostic. Despite the philosophical differences, Clare and Russ find they are kindred spirits in having shared careers in the Army; Russ in Vietnam, Clare in Desert Storm and Africa and they fall passionately in love. There's only one catch - of course - he's married; and not even that unhappily.
This dynamic continues throughout the series and I'm dying to know how this will evolve. Clare is consumed with guilt and bound and determined to keep her vow of celibacy until she is married and Russ is just as determined to keep his vows of marriage. And then there is the religious angle - Clare is the eternal optimist who looks for the good in everyone and every situation and that just plays so well off Russ, the archetype of jaded, world-weary and cynical cop who can't imagine a god who would let such horrible things happen to his creation.
The topics are all meaty: homosexuality, illegitimacy and abandoned babies, loggers and timber "harvesting" and development vs. environmentalists all set agaist the backdrop of the general deshabile and poverty that befalls an former industrial boomtown struggling to find its way in today's economy by catering to tourists.
Add to the mix a clever, original plot that really MOVES, a cast of interesting characters that recur in all books in the series and you have a SUPERB night of reading curled up in your comfiest favorite place! I couldn't put any of these books down and I can't wait for the next one in October.
I won't go into the storyline because others have done. I urge you to buy this book and give yourself a GREAT treat - a mystery series as good as this is very rare and believe me: I've read 'em all!
My questions are: How did bumbling Russ ever manage before Claire showed up? Why didn't competent Claire become a homicide detective instead of priest since she is so interested in solving mysteries? Why the creepy underlying sexual tension between the two of them? Why do Claire and Russ have dinner alone twice while Russ's wife is out of town? (This is a small town, you two. Get a grip!) Why does Russ let an unqualified person go with him on police rounds to begin with, and once there is an actual crime as serious as murder, why does he continue to let her go with him to interview witnesses and arrest perps? A married police chief and a woman priest as a crime fighting duo/possible couple just doesn't work for me.
The tightly woven story features Clare Fergusson, a newly hatched, unorthodox Episcopal priest and Police Chief Russ Van Alstyne who have more in common than you would think. Murders take place that seem to be linked with the baby's abandonment and the upper class parishioners of St. Albans.
The omnipresent star of the book is the weather. In this Adirondack community right on the Vermont border, the oncoming winter is a living thing that is ignored at one's peril. Ms. Spencer-Fleming is deft in drawing both interiors and exteriors. She broadens the dimensions of her characters in describing how they live, what they like to have around them, and how they cope with the brutal winters that are part and parcel of their landscape. Some of the townspeople have a "winter rat," a beat up, barely serviceable car they use when the weather and roads are so tough, the road salt eats up the undercarriages and driving is one controlled skid after another.
"In the Bleak Midwinter" is just short of a "cozy" with its budding romance between the sheriff and the priest and its delightful warm interior scenes. Clare could use a crash course in detecting. There are a couple of times this otherwise sensible lady goes into the "absolutely stupid heroine routine" usually depicted by a young lady who hears suspicious noises in a gloomy mansion in the dead of night. Does she call the cops, scream her head off, or hide under the covers like any sane person would do? No, she creeps around in the dark in her bare feet and nightgown, and then (surprise! surprise!) something GRABS her. Clare is not this bad, but almost. She tears off to suspicious, lonely places all by herself, without informing anybody in a sports car lamentably unsuited to a blizzard and dressed as if she is going on errand in New York City on a temperate autumn day. Be that as it may, Clare is immensely likeable. The author handles her strong religious faith expertly; it works naturally without being cloying or moralistic.
The book is a page-turner, well plotted, and the issues are never silly or contrived. I am looking forward to Ms. Spencer-Fleming's next book.
In my frequent rants about annoying heroines in romance - and other - novels, I have often complained about the three things that can cause me to heave the book at a wall:
1. the scene where the hero just happens to see the heroine dancing (for sheer joy) without her knowledge and decides she is just too adorable.
2. the scene where the hero says or does something relatively innocuous and the heroine takes umbrage and stomps off in high dudgeon like a spoiled brat.
3. the scene where the heroine does something ridiculously impulsive that no woman in her right mind would do thus putting herself in peril so that the hero has to rescue her and make everything all right (and notice how cute and vulnerable she is in the process.)
Sad to say, Reverend Clare, the Episcopal priest, does all three. One I could have handled but all three???
One night good old Russ (who is a married man, by the way) stops by the rectory and, through the kitchen door, just happens to witness the Rev. Clare, in a cut-off sweatshirt, dancing while she whips up a gourmet meal - which she subsequently feeds him. A few scenes later the Rev. Clare gets her patrician nose out of joint because she thinks Russ was being rude and she stomps out into the snowy night in her adorable designer suede boots and leather bomber jacket and stomps all the way back to the rectory, refusing Russ's offer for a ride when he followers her. And finally, after a torturous ride back from Albany, worrying all the way about her adorable little sports car in the on-coming blizzard, the Rev. Clare finds a mysterious message for her to meet someone at a cabin deep in the woods (in an area she has never been to) and, instantly, jumps into said adorable sports car and zooms off to the rescue. Luckily, good old Russ finds out in time and comes to the rescue - which gives him the opportunity to get her out of her flimsy, ice-caked clothes. Sigh.
This was a good story and there were some good characters in it and, for the most part, I liked it. I will even go so far as to say that if Clare had been a social worker or a new cop or a teacher or anything else, I might have liked her a little better. But a priest??? Yes, I know priests are people, too - heaven knows I just wrote a book about an all-too-human priest. What really bothered me about it was that, other than going to parish meetings, saying a few prayers here and there, and mentions of services she was officiating at, this priest had not the faintest evidence of any level of spirituality. Consequently, every mention of her "priesthood" might as well have had blinking letters that read "gimmick, gimmick, gimmick."
Obviously people like these books as there are more in the series. Chances are I might even read another one myself but when are genre writers going to stop concocting these formula-driven, ridiculous, insult-to-womanhood characters?
As a mystery, I give this book a 4. As a romance, I give it a 2. So I'm splitting the difference with a 3 - because I like Russ. But I think he's headed down a dangerous slope and I don't think the local priest is going to help him avoid any more near-occasions-of-sin.