To Darkness and to Death: A Clare Fergusson and Russ Van Alstyne Mystery

To Darkness and to Death: A Clare Fergusson and Russ Van Alstyne Mystery

by Julia Spencer-Fleming

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Saturday, November 14, 5:00 A.M.

In the small Adirondack town of Millers Kill, an old lumberman sits in the dark with his gun across his knees. Not far away, an unemployed logger sleeps off his bender from the night before. The owner of the town's last paper mill tosses in his bed. And a young woman, one of three heirs to the 250,000-acre Great Camp, wakes alone in darkness, bound and gagged.

Chief of Police Russ Van Alstyne wants nothing more than a quiet day of hunting in the mountains on his fiftieth birthday. His wife needs to have the town's new luxury resort ready for its gala opening night. The Reverend Clare Fergusson expects to spend the day getting St. Alban's Church ready for the bishop's annual visit. Her long-distance suitor from New York expects some answers about their relationship during his weekend in town.

In Millers Kill, where everyone knows everyone and all are part of an interconnected web of blood or acquaintance, one person's troubles have a way of ensnaring others. What begins as a simple case of a woman lost in the woods leads to a tangle of revenge, blackmail, assault, kidnapping, and murder. As the hours tick by, Russ and Clare struggle to make sense of their town's plunge into chaos---and their own chaotic emotions.

Something terrible waits in the ice-rimed mountains cradling Millers Kill. Something that won't be content with just one death---or two. . .

Julia Spencer-Fleming continues her moving story of the way a small town, as well as a great city, can harbor evil, and the struggle of two honest people to deal with the ever-present threat of their feelings for one another.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781429909082
Publisher: St. Martin''s Publishing Group
Publication date: 05/30/2006
Series: Fergusson/Van Alstyne Mysteries , #4
Sold by: Macmillan
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 320
Sales rank: 38,343
File size: 3 MB

About the Author

Julia Spencer-Fleming was born at Plattsburgh Air Force Base and spent most of her childhood on the move as an army brat. She studied acting and history at Ithaca College and received her J.D. from the University of Maine School of Law. She lives in a 190-year-old farmhouse outside of Portland, Maine.
JULIA SPENCER-FLEMING is The New York Times bestselling author of One Was A Soldier, and an Agatha, Anthony, Dilys, Barry, Macavity, and Gumshoe Award winner. She studied acting and history at Ithaca College and received her J.D. at the University of Maine School of Law. Her books have been shortlisted for the Edgar, Nero Wolfe, and Romantic Times RC awards. Julia lives in a 190-year-old farmhouse in southern Maine.

Read an Excerpt

Chapter One
Morning Prayer

When the wicked man turneth away from his wickedness that he hath committed, and doeth that which is lawful and right, he shall save his soul alive.

Ezek. 18:27

Saturday, November 14, 5:00 a.m.

Cold. The cold awoke her, creeping underneath her blanket, spreading like an ache along her hip. She tried to move, to burrow into some warm space, but the cold was beneath her, and then there was a hard, hot twinge of pain in her shoulders and she had a panicky moment of Where? What? She tried again. She couldn’t move her arms. They were pinned behind her back, her wrists fastened by something sticky and implacable.

Scream. Her cheeks and lips didn’t move. Her eyelids felt glued together, but she blinked and blinked until the sting of cold air brought tears to her eyes. Open, closed, the darkness was the same. The darkness, and the cold.

Her brain didn’t want to make sense of anything she was feeling. Was she drunk? Was this some sort of game? What had she done? She couldn’t remember. She remembered dinner. She had chickpea stew. Homemade bread. Red wine. She could picture the table, laid with her mother’s best china. She could remember looking down the long table to where her father’s picture hung on the wall, thinking, I know he’d approve. I know he would. But then what? Nothing. A blankness more frightening than the cold blackness around her. Because it was inside her. A hole in her mind.

She suddenly remembered a trip to Italy they had taken. She had been ten or eleven then. It was the summer after Gene’s mother had died, the only summer they didn’t come up to the camp. Daddy had hired a driver to take them on the drive through the mountains to Lake Como, but the morning they were to leave Pisa, he had canceled. An American had been kidnapped. She had been whiny, bored with the university town, eager for the water-skiing and boat rides she had been promised. Daddy pulled up a chair and explained they couldn’t risk it. That they would make very good targets. That was the word he used, targets. Because we’re American? She had asked. Because we’re rich, he had answered. It was the first time, the only time he had ever said that. Because we’re rich.

Kidnapped. Oh, God. She squeezed her eyes shut against a spill of hot tears and wished, for the thousandth time, that her father was still alive. To make everything all right.

5:15 a.m.

Ring. Ring. The phone. She snarled, rolled onto her stomach, and pulled her pillow over her head, but the damn thing wouldn’t give up. Once. Twice. Three times. With an inarticulate curse, she reached out from under the covers and grabbed the receiver. “H’lo,” she said.

“Reverend Fergusson? Did I wake you?” She was spared coming up with an answer worthy of the question, because her caller went on. “It’s John Huggins, Millers Kill Search and Rescue. I’m calling you on official business.”

I’m so glad it’s not personal, she thought, but the only thing her mouth could manage was “Me?”

“You signed up, didn’t you?” She could hear the rustle of paper over the line. “Air force training in survival, search, and rescue? Nine years army helicopter pilot? Physically fit, has own gear?”

She shoved the pillow beneath her and propped herself up on her elbows. The only word her sleep-sodden brain latched on to was “pilot.” “You want me to fly?”

“Not hardly. We got a young woman reported missing. Went out for a walk last night, never returned. Her brother called it in this morning after he discovered her bed hadn’t been slept in.”

This morning? She squinted at the blackness outside her window. Didn’t look like morning to her. “Why me?”

“Because we’re down to the bottom of the list.” Huggins said, his voice laced with exasperation. “Two-thirds of the crew are off on loan to the Plattsburgh mountain rescue. They got an old lady wandered away from her home and a pair of hunters who haven’t reported in for three days. Can you do it or not?”

The bishop’s visit. She pushed away the last of her muzzy-headedness. Half the congregation of St. Alban’s would be at the church today, preparing for the dog-and-pony show that was the bishop’s annual visit. She should be there. But . . . the search and rescue team needed her. She did sign up. And hiking through the woods is a lot more appealing than counting napkins and polishing silver, a treacherously seductive voice inside her pointed out. “Sure, I can do it,” she said. “Where should I meet you?”

“A place called Haudenosaunee.”

“What’s that? A town?”

“Naw, it’s an old-time estate. What they call a great camp. Inside the Blue Line.”

“The Blue Line?”

“Inside the boundary of the Adirondack State Park.” Huggins sounded as if he were having second, maybe third thoughts about calling her.

She rolled out of bed. There was a pencil and a pad of paper on her nightstand. “Give me the directions,” she said. “I’ll be there as soon as I can.”

5:15 a.m.

Ed Castle was sitting in the dark. There was no reason for it, really. He had crept out of his unlit bedroom to avoid waking his wife, but with their door safely shut, he could have snapped the hall lights on. Or turned on one of the lamps in the living room when he unlocked the gun cabinet and tucked his rifle under his arm.

Maybe it was because for so many years he had been up early winter mornings, long gone before his family awoke or the sun rose. Tiptoeing past the doors that had once led to his daughters’ bedrooms, he felt a tug, like a hook from out of the past embedded in his heart, and he had wanted to open the doors once again to see them sleeping, all silky hair and boneless limbs.

In the kitchen, he had started the coffee and found his Thermos by touch and the green glow of the microwave clock. He thought maybe he’d need some light to find the box of cartridges he kept hidden behind Suzanne’s baking tins on the top shelf, but he hadn’t. Now he sat in the dark and thought about the years of his life, which were doled out, it seemed to him, winter by winter, tree by tree, marked by a chain tread and a scarred path leading into the woods. Leading to where he could not see.

The light snapped on, starting him upright in his chair. Suzanne stood in the orange and gold halo of the hanging tulip lamp, zipped into her velour robe, her graying hair every which way. “What on earth are you doing here, sitting around with no lights on?” She stepped toward him, her slippers shush-shushing over the vinyl floor. “You didn’t get a call about a fire, did you?” Ed was a member of the Millers Kill Volunteer Fire Department.

“No.” He shrugged. “I was thinking about when the girls were little. This was the only quiet time I had back then.”

“Well, you’re going to get a chance to relive those days.” She crossed to the counter and opened a cupboard to retrieve her coffee cup. “I’m watching Bonnie’s boys while she’s finishing up that big sewing job, and Becky’s coming home for the weekend.”

He grunted. She waved the pot in his direction, and he held out his mug. “She coming up here to gloat?”

“Stop that,” Suzanne said sharply. “She didn’t force you to put the business up for sale. You can’t make the Adirondack Conservancy Corporation the bad guy in all this. It was your decision.”

“I wouldn’t have had to make any decision if the ACC wasn’t going to cut off my lumbering license.” He buried his nose in his coffee cup. “I can’t believe my own daughter turned into a damn tree hugger.”

Suzanne seated herself at the table. “It’s your own fault. You used to sneak her out to your cut sites when she wasn’t big enough to tie her own shoes.”

One half of a smile crooked his cheek. “You used to carry on something fierce about that.”

“A lumbering camp is no place for a four-year-old.”

He laughed. “Remember how she would stomp around in a fit if she couldn’t come with me?”

“Uh-huh.” Suzanne looked at him pointedly over the rim of her cup. “So now she’s grown up into someone who loves the woods, is hot-tempered, always speaks her mind—and you can’t figure out where she gets it from.” She snorted. “The only thing she doesn’t favor you in is her hair.”

Ed ran his hand over his nearly bald scalp and grinned.

Suzanne rolled her white crockery mug between her hands, a gesture he had seen her make on a thousand cold mornings like this one. “What’s really bothering you?”

“Sellin’ off the business.”

“Thought so.”

“I know it makes sense. If this land trade-off goes ahead like it’s supposed to, by this time tomorrow the van der Hoeven wood lot is gonna be off-limits to lumbering. By this time next week, the crew and I’d have to head fifty miles north to the nearest open woods. A hundred extra miles a day. Six hundred a week. With fuel prices the way they are, Suze—”

“I know.”

“Not to mention the increase in the insurance premium once we start putting that many open-road miles on our trucks.”

“I know.”

“And we’ll be getting hit with more maintenance on the trucks.”

“I know.”

“I just don’t see how we can take the increased cost and survive.” He looked down at the rifle resting in his lap. It had been his dad’s, along with the timber business. For a moment, he felt cut loose in time, unsure if he was sixty or sixteen. The gun, the woods, the coffee, even. All the same in his father’s time. In his grandfather’s.

“I always hoped to keep it in the family somehow. Maybe leave it to Bonnie’s boys. They love the woods.”

She nodded. “They do. On the other hand, do you want them risking their necks sixty hours a week to bring home twenty-five thousand a year?”

He looked at her, surprised. “You never complained.”

She laughed quietly. “I was a lumberman’s daughter. I knew what I was getting into when I married you.”

He put down his coffee and took her hand. The feel of her skin under his thumb was another bright spot against time and the dark. “I called the boys on the crew yesterday. Told ’em I wasn’t going out this winter. It’s a hell of a thing to do, to tell a man he ain’t got the job he’s been counting on. But if I sell out now to one of the larger companies, I can get a good price for the equipment. Not great, not with fuel prices high and interest rates low, but decent. Good enough so’s we could get a place in Florida. Become snowbirds. Would you like that?”

He watched her roll the thought around in her mouth, tasting it. “It’d be nice,” she finally said. “Wearing short sleeves all the time. Gardening year-round.”

“No more dark mornings,” he said.

She smiled a bit at that. “I’d miss seeing Bonnie and the boys, though. And it would be odd having Christmas where it’s sunny and warm.” She looked at him more closely. “What are you going to do? I can’t imagine you not timbering.”

He glanced down at the old rifle in his lap. That was the question, wasn’t it? “Man and boy, I’ve hauled wood out of those mountains forty years now. I don’t know what I’ll do if I’m not a lumberman. But change is coming, Suze.” He rubbed his thumb over her hand again. “And if we don’t change with it, we’ll get left behind.”

Copyright © 2005 by Julia Spencer-Fleming

The quotes at the beginning of each section are from The Book of Common Prayer, 1979 ed., published by the Church Publishing Company.

Table of Contents

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To Darkness and to Death (Clare Fergusson Series #4) 4.2 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 55 reviews.
gloriafeit More than 1 year ago
The fourth book in the Clare Fergusson Russ Van Alstyne series describes a very eventful day in the Adirondack Mountain town of Millers Kill, New York. That may be a gross understatement. As one character states: “A murder, a missing person, and an assault case all in one day? It’s like one of those signs of the Apocalpyse.” As the book, and the day, begins, the only event of major import is that it is Police Chief Van Alstyne’s 50th birthday. He is doing some serious soul-searching, as he and Reverend Clare Fergusson are coming to terms with their strong mutual attraction, and Russ has to make a decision on whether to tell his wife about his love for another woman. But that is pushed to the background as sinister events occur. There is a land buyout about to come to fruition, 250,000 acres of timberland involved, affecting as it will the lives and livelihoods of many of the townspeople. Tempers flare, things get horribly out of hand, and violence ensues. A more traumatic and fateful birthday for a protagonist would be hard to imagine. The concept of stewardship of the land (and the local businesses) comes into play. Generations of landowners find that their values may no longer be shared by their children and grandchildren. Russ and Clare find that they have to go beyond their primary vocations to smooth the troubled waters, and try to find out what, and who, is behind the crimes. It is hard to find a sympathetic character among these people, most of whom have known each other – or their families - all their lives. As always, the author lays out the lives and backgrounds of the Millers Kill inhabitants very thoroughly, and in interesting fashion, and as the book approaches its denouement, the suspense increases immeasurably. (Parenthetically, I loved the tip-of-the-hat to Lee Child and his protagonist, Jack Reacher.) The constantly shifting p.o.v. did make the read difficult at times, but the good writing and intriguing plot made it worthwhile, and the book is recommended.
iPodReader More than 1 year ago
It twists, it turns, it makes you laugh, it makes you sad. The relationship between Russ and Clare is on the back burner, at a low simmer and we finally get to meet Russ's wife Linda. Meanwhile urgent business keeps all three of them on their toes. Another winner in the series.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Where are the main characters? I LOVED this series until now. The lead characters I care about have only made cameo appearances as of the first 110 pages. I don't like any of the characters the author is introducing us to. Not sure if I'll finish the book. I should be at least interested in the story by now. Disappointed.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
While I have been enjoying this series, the plot and characters in this book were not even close to believable. I skimmed through a good part of the book because of this. I do intend to read other books in this series and hope that they stick more to the " who done it" style that I have enjoyed from this author.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Can anyone write a review without providing an entire synopses of the plot?????? All I want to know is if you liked it! Spare me the quick notes version people, please!!!!
cyderry on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Clare Ferguson, Episcopal priest, ex-army copter pilot, is called in to help with a search and rescue when Millie van der Hoeven is reported missing by her brother, a recluse at Haudenosaunee, the van der Hoeven estate. Millie is expected at the big event that evening to sign over the van der Hoeven estate for preservation. The impact to the environment is highly beneficial but the effect on local logging will effect the employment of many in Millers Kill.The reader is supplied with all the information - what happened and where is Millie, the specifics of an assault and exactly who's to blame. But certain details are left for Clare and Russ to unravel along with the frustration related to their relationship.Definitely a good addition to the series.
brenzi on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This is the 4th book in the Clare Fergusson/Russ Alstyne series and this one was written differently. The story is related by various narrators and for the most part the reader knows what's going on long before Clare and Russ do, which sets this book apart from the previous ones in the series. The other difference , and this one I didn't like at all, was that Russ and Clare really had a very small role in the narrative and pages and pages went by without hearing from either of them. I hope this is not a trend that the author continues beyond this book because they are the heart and soul of this series.Still, it was well-written and a good mystery. Even though the reader knows who the bad guys are and why they are doing what they are doing, it in no way prepares you for the shocking ending. Well done Ms. Spencer-Fleming. On to #5.
ffortsa on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This mystery is a little more complicated than her previous ones, and - dare I say it - with too many good people doing bad things. People get desperate a bit unnecessarily, and mess themselves up. It comes untangled in the end, of course, but requires more than the usual suspension of disbelief.As for the romantic angle - things proceed apace, of course.
lauralkeet on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This is the fourth in the Clare Fergusson/Russ Van Alstyne mystery series. This is one of the few series I read, and I enjoyed this just as much as the earlier volumes. As always, the action takes place in Millers Kill, a town in New York's Adirondacks region. Clare (an Episcopal priest) and Russ (the police chief) inevitably find themselves working together on a situation affecting the community, and equally inevitably the romantic sparks fly, but the dramatic tension remains.This book differs from the others in that it takes place in a 24-hour period. Clare is called out early one morning to volunteer for a a search and rescue operation. Millie van der Hoeven, a young heiress and environmental activist, has gone missing. Haudenosaunee, the van der Hoeven estate, is being sold into preservation. A banquet and dance are planned for the evening, to sign official documents and celebrate the handover. But the environment benefits are offset by impact on local industry, since the property will no longer be available for logging. It's never simple, and emotions run high.Russ gets involved a couple of hours later, as the missing person case develops into something more complex. Interestingly, the reader knows more details than either Russ or Clare. We know what's happened to the missing person. We know the details of an assault, and a mistaken identity. We know exactly who the good guys and bad guys are, and can only watch as Clare and Russ work it out. So of course, this had me wondering how Julia Spencer-Fleming would wrap things up. I mean, if I already knew everything there was to know, then where was the mystery?Well of course there is one, and it sure did sneak up on me, delivering the "oompf" one comes to expect from a good mystery novel. And it left me eager to read more from Julia Spencer-Fleming.
TerriBooks on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
What did they put in the water in Millers Kill? More mayhem in one day than a large city would this rate they'll depopulate the town! For the first half of the book I was going to give it 5 stars, I enjoyed it so much. But then it seemed like we just got too many ordinary people suddenly acting like mass murderers, to the point I just couldn't buy it. I liked the idea of the whole story in one day, but it just got beyond believability. On the other hand, I still just love Clare and Russ and am enjoying their relationship. So I didn't go all the way down to 3 stars. Quite.
jfe16 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Fourth in the series, and it holds up just as well as the first books. Exciting mystery filled with plot twists and turns and the characters we have come to love. A must-read!
PilotBob on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This book was a bit strange as a mystery... because you know who did what the whole way through.
annbury on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
The saga of Miller's Kill continues. In a small Adirondacks town, Episcopal minister Claire Fergusson and police chief Russ Van Alstyne continue to fight their strong mutual attraction, and continue to stumble into one mystery after another. This one begins when a young woman, one of the heirs to an old estate, is reported missing. It quickly devolves into a series of interlocking mysteries. The atmosphere is strong and the two central characters interesting. Enjoyable.
jepeters333 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
In the small Adirondack town of Millers Kill, an old lumberman sits in the dark with his gun across his knees. Not far away, an unemployed logger sleeps off his bender from the night before. The owner of the town's last paper mill tosses in his bed. And a young woman, one of three heirs to the 250,000-acre Great Camp, wakes alone in darkness, bound and gagged. What begins as a simple case of a woman lost in the woods leads to a tangle of revenge, blackmail, assault, kidnapping, and murder.
MusicMom41 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This fourth entry is my least favorite of the series. In fact at one point I seriously considered chucking it but I was afraid I might miss something that I would need to know in the next book. I think this might be the one that Melinda, the friend who introduced me to the series, said she didn¿t finish. The story has to do with a large piece of woodland property that will be bought by an environmentalist group in order to return it to its original ¿pristine¿ condition. Many jobs will be lost because there will be no more lumbering there and a family business in its third generation of ownership will be wiped out because there will be no pulp to make the paper that this business produces. There was a mystery involving a missing girl at the very beginning of the story but I figured out the answer to that one very quickly and the author let every in on the answer before the middle of the book. After that it was more like a crime novel--except that it wasn't criminals who were committing the crimes¿it was regular people who unintentionally cause the crime and then commit criminal acts to cover up. Notice--it's more than one! How many stupid people do we have to deal with in one story? The first one made sense--you knew he was stupid to begin with. The second one--too much already! The main story line wasn't that interesting and most of the characters (except for the continuing ones in the series) either weren¿t interesting or they weren¿t likable. However, I¿m glad I finished it because I was right about needing to know some things for the next book and there were some moments in the denouement that were worth the schlog. My favorite part of this book was the poem she used that provided the title: ¿The Day Is Gently Sinking to a Close¿ by Christopher Wordsworth (1863). I will be looking for more of his poetry!
tmbcoughlin on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
A good book. The jacket is a little misleading. Clare, an unmarried reverend, lives in a small town and is called for a search an rescue mission. As with all small towns, everbody knows everybody. The search begins and the story unfurls. The missing woman's family is selling their land to a paper company that will then lease it out to a conservancy. In this small logging town, the impact is significant. The characters are flawed and make mistakes pushing the story along. I really did not expect the ending which made the book that much more enjoyable.
Jim53 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
The fourth Clare Fergusson-Russ Van Alstyne mystery takes place in the course of a single day, which begins with Clare being called before dawn to assist in a search for a missing woman. Once we learn what's happening with that, it's a somewhat odd mystery in that there's no whodunnit--we see everything happen and know who did what to whom well before the end. We can watch Russ and his team figuring out what happened, but we can't work with them because we already know. We can speculate about each character's motivation, but even that is a bit murky. It's more a story in which to illustrate more of the intertwined web of life in Miller's Kill and to develop the story of Clare and Russ's relationship. They're slightly different at the end from the beginning. A good read but less satisfying as a mystery than its predecessors.
Joycepa on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
4th in the Clare Fergusson/Russ Van Alstyne series.An heiress who has decided to sell her large estate to a conservancy group suddenly goes missing on the morning of the finalization of the sale. Clare, as someone who has signed up with a search-and rescue team, is called early in the morning to assist in the search. Not a good time, since this is the day of the bishop¿s annual visit, and Clare is in more than enough trouble because of some of her past actions. Also, inevitably, she will be working with Russ, adding more stress as the two continue to struggle with their attraction to one another.This is by far the best in a really exciting series. The writing continues to intrigue me¿it¿s not world-beating, but it seems perfect for the characters and the locale. The plot is excellent¿nice twists and a page-turning denouement. Good characterizations throughout¿very believable and they act in a believable manner as well. Russ and Clare are caught, throughout the book, in their dilemma. But even that takes an unusual twist. Relationships such as theirs tend to stall in a series as many authors have a hard time figuring out what, if any, resolution to take up. But Spencer-Fleming has added an interesting development, and I¿m looking forward to seeing how it all works out.Highly recommended.
Kathy89 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Rev Claire is called out on a search party for a missing young woman while preparing for the Bishop's annual visit. Working with Sheriff Russ Van Austyne deepens their feelings for one another while trying to solve the case, ward off eco-terrorism threats for the lumber industry and stop an explosion.
tututhefirst on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Ingredients: Ex Army helicopter pilot now Episcopal priest (oh yeah- she's female); retired Army MP, now Police chief, lots of illicit romantic tension, no sex, a couple of Forrest Gump level criminals ("stupid is as stupid does"), a small town very professional police force, a giant conglomerate taking over bazillions of acres of pristine woodlands, a flawed recluse harboring a grudge, a priggish British suitor, a pompous Episcopalian deacon, several disenchanted businessmen watching their life dreams disappear under the onslaught of 'progress', loggers, mill-workers, and do-gooders.Spencer-Fleming's ongoing series continues to build the romance between Rev. Clare Ferguson and Police Chief Van Alstyn, this time giving us more of a glimpse of the Chief's wife Linda. The story opens with a reported missing person, and Clare's being called out on the search and rescue mission (she wants to keep her Army skills honed). The ensuing tangled story that emerges from the results of the impending sale of acres of property by the Van der Hoeven family has many subplots. The criminal characters are run-of-the mill criminals...they're ordinary townspeople who have not learned to deal with their emotions, their greed, and their longing to keep things from changing. I did think Spencer-Fleming went a little over the edge though on some of the scenes. I mean really! How stupid can people be and still be believable?I enjoy this series, and plan to spend several hours this summer reading #3, which I skipped because it wasn't available at the library, and then 5, 6 and 7. Like a good soap opera, they hook you into continuing so you can see what happens to the star-struck lovers. Worth a read.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I really enjoyed this book. I can't wait to read the next one in the series.
OldReader43 More than 1 year ago
I have read all of the books in this series and I think they only get better as the author expands her narrative. It is difficult to write a review of any of these books without giving too much away. But, if wrongdoing, life in a small town, the difficulty of being a clergy woman in present times, and the meanings of life and love interest you, this is a must read. It will be especially relevant to those of the Protestant faith who attend church administered by a local vestry or council. You don't have to believe in God for this book to be relevant to you but it helps if you believe in imperfect humans who are doing their best to heed what their individual consciences are telling them what is right. Ms. Fleming formats her books as crime novels but they really are much more. Not all of her plot elements are completely realistic but they are close enough to reality that you will recognize parallel story lines in your own life.
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