Sunday, August 25, 2019

Book Review: Out of the Deep I Cry by Julia Spencer-Fleming

Out of the Deep I Cry
Author: Julia Spencer-Fleming
Series: Clare Fergusson/Russ Van Alstyne Mysteries (Book 3)
Publication: St. Martin's Paperbacks; 1st edition (May 3, 2005)

Description: Award winning author Julia Spencer-Fleming does it again in this third mystery featuring Rev. Clare Fergusson and Sheriff Russ Van Alstyne in the small town of Millers Kill, N.Y. As the small town's gossip increasingly speculates about the Rev.'s ambiguous relationship with the married Sheriff, a more urgent problem is the disappearance of the doctor of Millers Kill's free clinic, a town institution with roots in events from the 20s and 30s. Digging into the roots of these disturbing happenings, Russ and Clare find that painful events from the town's past can still roil the peace of Millers Kill.

My Thoughts: This one starts with a leaky roof at St. Alban's Episcopal Church. Clare is the new pastor. When the vestry gets together to figure out how to fix a problem they have been debating for a number of years, Clare is surprised to learn that one of the vergers is Mrs. Lacey Marshall who controls a trust that she can liquidate as she wishes. Currently the trust is funding a free clinic that is named for her father. If she liquidates it and donates it to the church for roof repair, that will cut into the clinic's funding.

Clare has just become aware of the clinic. She passed it by one day on her way to volunteer for the historical society and walked into the middle of a very small protest. Debba Clow is protesting because she believes her son became autistic after receiving a vaccination at the clinic. Dr. Allen Rouse has been running the clinic for more than 30 years. He began after Mrs. Ketchum, Mrs. Marshall's mother, paid his way through medical school and his residency.

This story has a number of flashbacks going back to the 1920s and 1930s and tracks the story of Mrs. Ketchum whose first contact with the police was when her husband Jonathan went missing. It also has a brief flashback to when young Russ Van Alstyne saved Mrs. Ketchum from drowning herself just before he went off to join the Army. The flashbacks tell about the loss of four of the Ketchum's children to diphtheria within days of each other in 1924. It talks about rumrunners and the buying up of lots of farmland, including the Ketchums, to put in a flood control reservoir.

These stories all weave together and come to a head when Dr. Rouse goes missing and Debba Clow becomes a suspect in his disappearance. Meanwhile, people have begun talking about Russ Van Alstyne and Clare's relationship even though they are trying to be above board and open about their friendship. Both are still in denial that they love each other since he's a very married man.

This story was intriguing and suspenseful. It is a great addition to an already strong series.

Favorite Quote:
He groaned. "I shouldn't have told you that, should? It's like showing a dog raw meat. You'll take her under your wing, give her anger-management counseling, get up a committee to send her to art school, and do her picketing for her while she's in class." She laughed. He went on, his voice more serious. "Just try to cool it a bit and get a sense of what's going on before you leap into someone else's life. Okay?"
I bought this one March 27, 2009. You can buy your copy here.

1 comment:

  1. The title reminded me of a prayer initially. "Out of the depths I cry unto thee".
    Intriguing for me.


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