Rev. Clare finds mystery in online serial story

June 7, 2008
Books & Authors ,The (Batavia, N.Y.) Daily News
By Ben Beagle

Readers eager to find out what really goes on during one of those Wednesday lunches between the Rev. Clare Fergusson and Millers Kill Police Chief Russ Van Alstyne should head over to the Web site,

Julia Spencer-Fleming, the 2005 author in the “A Tale for Three Counties” community read project, has been serializing an original story all week on the site featuring characters both old and new from her Clare Fergusson mystery series.

“I’m literally writing each day’s section in the morning that I put it up,” Spencer-Fleming tells us. “It’s not as a gimmick, just because I’m so overloaded that I don’t have time to get out ahead of myself.”

The sixth book in the series, I Shall Not Want, arrives in bookstores Tuesday.

“Moments in Crime” site is a blog, or Web log, that features a new St. Martin’s author each week.

Spencer-Fleming began her run Monday. After an introductory post she has been publishing the story “Collecting for a Noonday Service.” New installments will be added daily through Sunday.

The story, set a few weeks before events of the series’ fourth book, To Darkness and To Death – “to avoid spoilers,” Spencer-Fleming said – brings back some faces from the author’s first book, In the Bleak Midwinter. Among them is Kristen McWhorter, whose sister and father were both murdered in the book. Kristen’s sister was also the mother of Cody, the baby abandoned and St. Albans and which set Clare out on her first mystery. These days, McWhorter is working as a certified public accountant.

As the story opens, Clare is waiting for Russ for one of their semi-regular Wednesday lunches at the Kreemie Kakes Diner. A number of town folks seek their attention, and the most recent installments have set in play a mystery: is someone poisoning a well-to-do resident of the local nursing home?

Spencer-Fleming’s forthcoming novel, I Shall Not Want, reveals more of Russ’ family, how joining the New York State National Guard affects Clare’s life and ministry, a new officer to the Millers Kill force, and a series of murders that spark rumors of a serial killer.

In the Bleak Midwinter was the third selection for “A Tale for Three Counties.” The community reading project, which completed its sixth year in March, is organized by public libraries in Genesee, Orleans and Wyoming counties, and Genesee Community College.

On the Net:

Moments in Crime Blog:

Julia spencer-Fleming Web site:

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Courtesy of Batavia Newspapers Corporation

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