Sunday, February 3, 2013

All Mortal Flesh-Julia Spencer-Fleming

All Mortal Flesh

Julia Spencer-Fleming

Minotaur, February 19 2013, $14.99

ISBN: 9781250018557

In Millers Kill, New York Episcopalian Priest Clare Fergusson and Police Chief Russ Van Alstyne feel guilty over falling in love with one another as he is married to Lindy, who lovingly has been at his side every step of the way for his twenty-five years army career. Neither Clare nor Russ wants to hurt the kind caring Lindy, but they failed to hide their needs and finally he dropped the bomb on her. Linda (Lindy was that naive army spouse) is divorcing Russ and moving on symbolized by her buying her first cat.

However, her friend Meg Tracey, having not heard from Linda in a few days, visits the Van Alstyne farmstead only to find Linda murdered. State Police take over the investigation to insure there is no conflict of interest in the homicide investigation of a local officer's wife. The case seems obvious: a disaffected uncaring husband eliminated his unwanted wife to be with his paramour. Adding to that theory is the Archdiocese has assigned a permanent deacon to "assist" meaning watch over Reverend Fergusson. Clare and Russ share culpability, but not that of the murder as the Episcopalian Church comes down on her for her transgression and the law on both of them while the townsfolk condemn the duo as much for betraying Linda and their positions as for believing they killed her.

This reprint of a 2006 Fergusson-Van Alstyne investigative tale takes a personal spin with the death of Lindy as Clare and Russ feel anguish over what happened to her. The story line is filled with twists and turns that will shock readers yet seems plausible as Julia Spencer-Fleming is at her best with this terrific thriller. This is must reading for series fans while newcomers will find this tale a delightful standalone yet enhanced by reading previous novels (see OUT OF THE DEEP I CRY) to gain a tastier flavor of the triangle.

Harriet Klausner

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