When Millers Kill Police Chief Russ Van Alstyne fields a 911 call about a young woman in a fancy party dress found dead, it brings back memories of being accused of a similar murder in the 1970s when he was a young Vietnam War veteran. Back then, the police chief in charge recalls a similar case he investigated as a trooper in the 1950s. Enter Rev. Clare Fergusson, priest at St. Alban's Church and Russ's wife, who must juggle caring for their new baby with helping Russ solve this case. Ninth in the Anthony, Agatha, and Macavity Award-winning mystery series.
It’s the summer of 1972, and the body of a well-dressed young woman turns up in the middle of a remote Adirondacks road, in bestseller Spencer-Fleming’s stellar ninth mystery featuring Episcopal priest Clare Fergusson and her husband, Millers Kill, N.Y., police chief Russ Van Alystyne (after 2013’s Through the Evil Days). The case goes cold, just as in a 1952 homicide, but the stakes rise when a second contemporary murder scene is eerily familiar to Russ, the lead suspect in the unsolved 1952 crime. As Russ struggles to solve the new murders, local politicians are campaigning to disband the understaffed police department for budgetary purposes and rely on the state police instead. Even home offers little refuge for Russ as he and his wife, Clare, struggle with their new parental responsibilities and the ever-present concern of Clare’s fragile sobriety. Spencer-Fleming combines a first-rate mystery with flawed but endearing characters. Readers will hope they won’t have to wait another seven years for the next installment. Author tour. Agent: Meg Ruley, Jane Rotrosen Agency. (Apr.)
"...the mystery unfolds like a classic country whodunit, complete with lurid back stories for all the righteous grown-ups." The New York Times Book Review
"New parents Clare Fergusson and police chief Russ Van Alstyne tackle three copycat murders and one testy baby in this riveting addition to an acclaimed series" People magazine
"Julia Spencer-Fleming makes a triumphant return to her series…uncompromisingly melding her characters’ personal and professional concerns into tight plots…The superb Hid From Our Eyes…[is] an outstanding addition to this solid series." Associated Press
"Stellar....Spencer-Fleming combines a first-rate mystery with flawed but endearing characters." Publishers Weekly (starred review)
"Spencer-Fleming skillfully weaves the narratives of the two cold cases with the current investigation. Even once everything is solved, the weird cold-bloodedness of what was done will chill you. Justice is served, but the book closes with a no-good-deed-goes-unpunished ending that leaves you hankering for the next installment in this series." Forbes
"Readers have waited years for this newest book and Julia Spencer-Fleming delivers with the exquisite skill and craftsmanship that have made her such a success...This is mystery writing at its very best by a novelist with a complete mastery of the genre...unreservedly recommended." Midwest Book Review
"...the rich characterizations and exploration of humanity make this series worth following." Christian Science Monitor
"Series fans have had a long wait to dive back into Spencer-Fleming's cleverly constructed mysteries, and this ninth entry (following Through the Evil Days, 2013), which delivers a haunting exposure of the town’s dark side, won’t disappoint." Booklist
"Spencer-Fleming tends to write on an epic scale, and this book is no exception to that rule. Filling her canvass with richly drawn and memorable characters, she also creates a wonderful mystery.
Spencer-Fleming’s essential optimism connects her to writers like Louise Penny and William Kent Krueger, who also deal with dark subjects but whose ultimate message is one of optimism. There are few better ways to make a series beloved. The other way, and it’s a skill Spencer-Fleming also possesses in spades, is writing an ending that leaves the reader hanging. You want more when you finish the book – you want to know what happens next. This is a wonderful reunion with Clare and Russ." Robin Agnew, Aunt Agatha's Mystery Bookshop
"A book to escape into, rich and textured. This is the story of families and a community, and from the first page we know we're in safe hands." Ann Cleeves, New York Times bestselling author of The Long Call
"I’ve been waiting eagerly for Julia Spencer-Fleming’s new book, and it was well worth the wait. Hid from Our Eyes is an intricate, intense mystery with a chilling ending. The characters, minister Clare Fergusson and police chief Russ Van Alstyne, continue to be complicated and imperfect, just like all of us. This is a five-star experience that shocked me and kept me reading late into the night." Nancy Thayer, New York Times bestselling author
"A tour de force by Julia Spencer-Fleming. Not only is this a tense mystery unfolding simultaneously in three time periods but it is also a poignant drama touching the flawed and very real main characters. Brava, Julia." Rhys Bowen, New York Times bestselling author of The Tuscan Child, In Farleigh Field, and the Royal Spyness mysteries
"Welcome back, Clare & Russ! They are back in the 9th Adirondack mystery, and it's a corker3 almost identical crimes, set decades apart, in a small rural community. Who is killing young women in party dresses and leaving them sprawled on deserted roads? Russ, suspect in the 1970's murder, is now chief of policecan he and Clare solve the case that has baffled 2 previous chiefs? Exciting, tense, romanticno one writes a small town mystery like Julia Spencer-Fleming!" Susan Taylor, Book House of Stuyvesant Plaza
"Clare and Russ are back and I had no idea how much I missed them until I opened the book! Spencer-Fleming gives us a murder mystery that spans three generations and keeps us guessing right until the end." Laura Cummings, White Birch Books
"I really love Spencer-Fleming's ability to build a community and fill it with characters that come across so real. the mystery is also excellent." Don Luckham, Toadstool Books
"Life is never boring in Miller's Kill...Well worth the wait." Sherry Frizsche, Bank Square Books
"Julia is back and the quality of her writing is still exceptional! These characters get themselves into every imaginable sort of difficulties. What a storyteller she is. I am looking forward to every page of this new mystery." Karen Bakshoian, Letterpress Books
"Julia Spencer-Fleming continues to find ways to keep her series fresh, but also retain the essence of why we love it so much." John McDougall, Mystery Bookstores, Inc.
The ninth case for Millers Kill Police Chief Russell Van Alstyne and his wife, Rev. Clare Fergusson, is actually three cases that span more than 60 years.
A young woman in a party dress is found dead out in the middle of McEachron Hill Road. Though there's not a mark on her, everyone on the Millers Kill force instantly suspects murder because that's the same spot where two similarly dressed women were found dead in 1952 and 1972. Neither earlier case was ever solved. In fact, the closest thing to a suspect in the 1972 case was Russ Van Alstyne, having some serious readjustment issues after his tour in Vietnam. Being on the other side of the investigation doesn't feel any more comfortable for Russ, who's already struggling to help Clare cope with Ethan, their infant son; manage the absence of Officer Kevin Flynn, whose new job with the Syracuse Police Department involves some undercover work uncomfortably close to his former hometown; and face down the continuing threat to shut down his department and leave the New York State Police responsible for Millers Kill's impressive slate of homicides (Through the Evil Days, 2013, etc.). For her part, Clare is pressed to welcome a new intern, Joni Langevoort, a seminary student from Manhattan who turns out to be transgender. Though Joni's mother is warmly supportive of her daughter's transition, just the proximity of the family's wealth and power will ring alarm bells for fans of the series who join Russ and his fragile department in wondering whether they're dealing with copycat crimes or no crimes at all—or whether the same person really could have murdered all three of those young women between 1952 and the present. The narrative hopscotches nimbly but not very revealingly among the three time periods right through the unsatisfying, early-arriving solution, which doesn't slow down the continuing complications in all three time frames that reveal where the author's heart really lies.
As ambitious as Spencer-Fleming's best as long as you don't expect a tidy whodunit.