In the Bleak Midwinter by Julia Spencer-Fleming

A newly ordained Episcopalian minister, Clare Fergusson, gets involved when an infant is left on the rectory doorstep one cold winter night in upstate New York.  The note pinned to his blanket says his name is Cody.  The note goes on to explain that the child should be adopted by a couple who belong to the Church and had been trying to adopt a child. Clare pushes to make this happen, exasperating both the chief of police, Russ, and the social worker who know that there are procedures that must be followed in cases like this.

Clare decides to ask the police chief if she may ride along with him in order to get a feel for Millers Kill.  Clare is also an adrenaline junkie; she was an Army helicopter pilot prior to becoming an ordained priest.  The police chief agrees, but soon there is tension between them.  While Russ believes Clare is an intelligent woman, he also thinks she may be just a little too naïve for her own good.

A case in point for Russ is Clare’s insistence on getting involved in Cody’s case.  During what should be a routine Friday night patrol in Millers Kill, the worst happens; the body of a young girl is found.  During the autopsy it is discovered that this young woman had recently given birth.  Could this poor woman be Cody’s mother?  Who is Cody’s father and where is he?

These are the questions Clare struggles with as she tries to make sense of the young woman’s murder, as well as adapt to her new parish.  Six more books follow in this award winning and highly recommended series.

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