Wednesday, August 14, 2019

Book Review: A Fountain Filled with Blood by Julia Spencer-Fleming

A Fountain Filled with Blood 
Author: Julia Spencer-Fleming
Series: Clare Fergusson/Russ Van Alstyne Mysteries (Book 2)
Publication: St. Martin's Paperbacks; 1st Edition edition (April 19, 2004)

Description: Nestled in the heart of the Adirondacks, Millers Kill, New York is about as safe as it gets. That's why Episcopal minister Clare Fergusson is shocked when the July Fourth weekend brings a rash of vicious assaults to the scenic town. Even Clare's good friend, police chief Russ Van Alstyne, is shaken by the brutality of the crimes―especially when it appears that the victims were chosen because they are gay. But when a third assault of an out-of-town developer ends in murder, Clare and Russ wonder if the recent crime wave is connected to the victim's controversial plan to open an upscale spa in Miller's Kill. Not all things in the tiny town are what they seem―and soon, Clare and Russ are left to fight their unspoken attraction to one another even as they uncover a labyrinthine conspiracy that threatens to turn deadly for them both...

Julia Spencer-Fleming follows up her award-winning debut mystery, In the Bleak Midwinter, with the equally riveting A Fountain Filled with Blood.

My Thoughts: This is the second book in the Clare Fergusson/Russ Van Alstyne mystery series. Clare and Russ are trying to stay away from each other until the inappropriate feelings they are having for each other subside. Clare, as an Anglican priest, can't fall in love with very married Russ Van Alstyne despite the fact that they have so much in common and communicate so well and Russ's wife really doesn't understand him or care to try.

When the gay medical examiner is stopped and beaten nearly to death and the gay owner of a video store is also beaten, the idea of Millers Kill being an idyllic small town is showing its hidden darker side. But when the gay developer of the new Adirondack health club/spa that is promising jobs and prosperity is murdered Clare wonders if there is more to it than a few redneck homophobes. Russ doesn't want to publicize the possibility of hate crimes for a number of good reasons.

Clare and Russ keep running into each other as each pursues their investigations in their own ways. It just so happens that the niece of the local woman who is developing the property is about to be married at Clare's church which gives her an in to investigate.

The story centers around the murder investigation which has them looking into the new development which is bringing out a number of environmentalist protesters including Russ's mother Margy. He even arrests her and she spends the night in jail rather than letting him post her bail. This little episode added some humor to an otherwise tension filled story.

Speaking of tension, Clare needs to fly a helicopter to bring an accident victim to help as soon as possible. Russ has major issues about helicopters since a crash when he was in Vietnam but goes along despite his fears because it will take the two of them to get the victim to help. And then the helicopter crashes. Wow! Tension on tension and danger too.

This was another excellent mystery with intriguing characters and a great setting.

Favorite Quote:
"Yeah, but that's not as sexy as a young hip priest with--" Bensen broke off, his eyes thoughtful. "You aren't a lesbian, by any chance?"

"No!" she said, and immediately regretted denying it so fervently. "What I mean is, my sex life is private." Bensen looked very interested. She felt her cheeks getting pink. "That is, if I had a sex life. Which I don't. I'm practicing celibacy."

"I hate to interrupt this fascinating conversation, but I need to as Mr. MacPherson to spend a little time with Ms. Nguyen from the district attorney's office." Clare spun around and discovered she had been right to expect the police to be here. Chief Van Alstyne was standing in the doorway, eyebrows raised.
I bought this one March 25, 2009. You can buy your copy here.

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