In The Bleak Midwinter by Julia Spencer-Fleming
After a meeting at St. Alban’s, Clare Fergusson finds a newborn baby by the back door. Clare is the new priest at the Episcopal church in upstate Millers Kill, New York. She gets to ride along with Police Chief Russ Van Alstyne one night, and gets involved when they find the body of the baby’s mother. A note with the baby indicates that Geoff and Karen Burns from St. Albans are the parent’s choice for adoption, and they are annoyed when they don’t get to foster the baby boy. Another death occurs, and there are multiple suspects. Clare learns too much and is tricked into driving into the Adirondacks for an encounter with the murderer. Clare’s background as an Army helicopter pilot helps her survive the encounter, and the race is on to stop the killer. Clare and Russ are flawed, real characters, and their quickly developing friendship is convincing. The wintry setting of Millers Kill is more gritty than the typical charming village of so many mysteries, and it’s a refreshing change. Winner of multiple awards, In the Bleak Midwinter is the first in a seven book series.