Through the Evil Days by Julia Spencer-Fleming

9780312606848_p0_v3_s260x420While my East Coast friends have been experiencing a harrowing snow storm, I have been wallowing through the ice and cold with Clare Fergusson and Chief Russ Van Alstyne in Julia Spencer-Fleming’s latest adventure – Through the Evil Days. Clare and Russ are married with Clare 5 months pregnant when the kidnapping of a young girl and a meth gang upturn their ice-fishing honeymoon at a deserted cabin in the woods. Those problems may be not as dire as the threats to close down the Milllers Kill police department and to relieve Clare of her duties as pastor of St. Alban’s. Both Clare and Russ might face a changed future – if they can escape from the criminals and save the little girl’s life.

Another daring adventure in the Clare Fergusson/Russ Van Alstyne mystery series – good to read around the fireplace. But I’m happy to be only reading about the icy winter.

House At Sea’s End

Feisty women detectives who can solve crimes, but have trouble handling their personal lives seems to be a good formula for mystery.  Before I got hooked on Julia Spencer Fleming’s Clare Ferguson series, I had found Elly Griffiths’ Ruth Galloway, the British  forensic archeologist.  The cliffhanger at the end of the second book included the results of a romance with the local handsome  – and married – detective. Thanks to a friend who reminded me of the third book in this series – The House at Sea’s End is offering the next installment to the personal drama, and with more murders to be solved.

With the backdrop of the cold British cliffs of Norfolk, Ruth leads an investigation of six dead bodies, but this time she’s a single mother, juggling “babyminders”  and her career.  Griffiths fills in the backstory with references to her first two books, but the relationships are easy to decipher without reminders of past crimes solved.  Solving the many murders is fun with World War II espionage and a secret message Ruth cracks by deciphering a dead man’s code – but the romance is better.

Not a long wait to find out what happens next with Ruth Galloway and Harry Nelson – Griffiths has another mystery in the series to be published soon – The House of Bones – more progress on the romance and more murders to be solved.  If you like Clare’s mystery/romance escapades, you might enjoy Ruth too.

Read my reviews of Elly Griffiths’ first two books: