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The Quilty Reader

Lawyer, mother, avid reader. Game host extraordinaire! Partner in crime to Obsidian Black Plague! My bookish weaknesses include classics, fantasy, YA, and agreeing to read more books than is even remotely possible.

In the Bleak Midwinter - Julia Spencer-Fleming I bought this book for a whopping 2.99 back in February, when it was on sale. It's taken me this long to read it, but I've been in a bit of a mystery frame of mind recently, and my mom recommended it to me, so I thought I'd give it a try.

This is the first in a series of books about Russ Van Alstyn, the police chief of the small town of Millers Kill in upstate NY, and Reverend Clare Fergusson, Episcopal priest and former helicopter pilot. Millers Kill is her first parish, and the story begins when someone leaves a newborn baby boy on the steps of the church on a dark winter's evening in December. The bodies quickly pile up after the police launch an investigation into the identity of the baby's parents.

In this book, the mystery took a bit of a backseat to the character development and to the rapidly developing relationship between Russ and Clare. Clare is single, but Episcopal priests are, of course, able to marry. Russ is married, and wife hovers at the fringes of this book, but never makes an appearance. The attraction between them is nearly immediate. I also love a good cold weather mystery set in a small town. Millers Kill is an appealing setting.

The mystery was interesting albeit predictable. I don't necessarily object to predictability in a crime novel, since most murders are, in actuality, fairly predictable events. A convoluted plot relying too much on coincidence does not, in my opinion, make a compelling crime story. I have the second and third books in this series already loaded onto my kindle, as they also went on sale in March and April, and look forward to reading them.