The Married Cop & the Priest. Small Town Life in the Adirondacks

Please do not laugh too loudly at my failed attempt at a clever title for this post. The fact is, I’m a big fan of mystery writer, Julia Spencer-Fleming. That’s my own personal collection of her books you see there in the picture. Her cozies have mystery + romance in them. It’s a winning combination in my book. I find that the author does an excellent job of writing both. The series stars Reverend Clare Fergusson, an Episcopalian priest, in her 30’s, who has retired from the military as a helo pilot. She moves to the Adirondacks and befriends the chief of police there, Russ Van Alstyne, who is happily married. The two often work closely together and also each of them spend most of the series trying to fight off a strong, mutual attraction. The two have been solving crimes together and dancing around each other for the last five books (it gets resolved) and it makes for a nice, taut, tension-filled read. As for the mystery, yes, there’s one of those in there, too. What I love about this author is her willingness to incorporate controversial topic(s) in her books. She’s taken on the autism debate, gay bashing, environmentalism and the invisible migrant community.

With so many of my favorite writers disappointing me of late, Julia Spencer-Fleming continues to entertain me. I love the church politics and the quirky folks of Miller’s Kill, New York. Don’t be put off by the heroine wearing a clerical collar. Most of the stories are set outside the church and Clare’s role as a priest is viewed or treated like a profession. In fact, we see Clare as a woman, with the same needs and wants like everybody else. There isn’t much in the way of theological discussion to me. There are a total of six books in the series that are out right now (see end of article for reading list order) and she has a new book coming out April 26, One Was A Soldier, in hardcover.

The author has been visiting several reader blogs, promoting her books. This is an author I don’t mind getting behind and supporting. Well, to be honest, she’s about the only one I feel moved to recommend these days. I strongly recommend her books to those who enjoy character driven mysteries who don’t mind a little romance in them as well. Her books are the strongest and most consistently well written mystery series out there right now.

Reading order (unaffiliated links):

#1 In The Bleak Midwinter
#2 A Fountain Filled With Blood
#3 Out of the Deep I Cry
#4 To Darkness and To Death
#5 All Mortal Flesh
#6 I Shall Not Want
#7 One Was A Soldier *

*Coming out April 26, 2011
Updated: links to books and author’s homepage and another reader link

About Keishon

Romance reader now mystery reader. I enjoy all types of fiction but for the past 5 years I've enjoyed reading crime fiction. Please email me with recommendations or gush about your favorite writer! I love to hear from readers!
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5 Responses to The Married Cop & the Priest. Small Town Life in the Adirondacks

  1. Maxine says:

    Interesting post, thanks. Cosies are not my thing but I might well check out this author in view of your reccommendation. (Though it is a bit off-putting to me that there is a personal situation that has not developed in one way or other for six books, I like things to happen!).
    Have you read Asa Larsson? Her first two books, Sun Storm and The Savage Altar, are both about churches and specifically, pastors. The second one is about a woman pastor. The church is huge business in Sweden and the protag of these books, Rebekka Martinson, works as a lawyer for one of the big companies that looks after church finances. She gets dragged into the two cases in the books. They are not cosies! I love the series – three translated into English so far. (The third, The Black Path, is also wonderful but does not have a church theme – has some Sami mysticism though.)


  2. Keishon says:

    Hey Maxine, that personal situation does get resolved in book six. Sorry. Will update that in my post. Have not read Asa Larsson yet and I did buy Sun Storm from your list of recommended reads. From your description of it, this sounds really good! Thanks.


  3. Darlynne says:

    I’ve never thought of this series as “cozy” per se. In my head, that appellation sounds rather lighthearted, sort of like the cooking, sewing, hobby mystery series (not that there’s anything wrong with them). The crimes and situations Claire and Russ deal with are anything but lighthearted; they make me think, long after the last page is read, which is the highest praise I can give.


  4. Keishon says:

    @Darlynne – I know exactly what you mean and feel the same way but that’s how she describes her books on the her author webpage (I think).


  5. Pingback: Book review: In the Bleak Midwinter by Julia Spencer-Fleming | Petrona

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