Select one of the keywords
All Mortal Flesh: A Clare Fergusson and Russ Van Alstyne Mystery    by Julia Spencer-Fleming order for
All Mortal Flesh
by Julia Spencer-Fleming
Order:  USA  Can
Minotaur, 2006 (2006)

Read an Excerpt

* *   Reviewed by Tim Davis

In Julia Spencer-Fleming's latest addition to an already popular and intriguing series, readers are taken back to rustic Millers Kill, New York. Chief of Police Russ Van Alstyne, because of marital problems, has recently moved out of the house he had shared with his wife. Meanwhile, Reverend Clare Fergusson of St. Alban's, the woman with whom Russ had been having an affair, is having her own share of problems: the bishop has heard about goings on in Millers Kill, and he has assigned a new deacon who ostensibly will be helping Clare with her responsibilities at the church. Actually, as Clare knows only too well, the new deacon, Reverend Elizabeth de Groot, has been sent to keep an eye on the troublesome reverend who the bishop suspects has been inappropriately wayward in her personal life.

With that as the deceptively simple background for All Mortal Flesh - a preliminary plot that sounds a bit too much like soap opera - the author shrewdly redirects the plot and turns everything on its head when Russ's estranged wife, Linda, is found brutally murdered in the kitchen of the Van Alstynes' home. The chief of police is eager to find out who murdered his wife, but the state authorities, and even some of Russ's colleagues, have problems with Russ's alibi for the time of the murder. As the harsh, unforgiving light of suspicion shines increasingly on Russ, he knows that he must move quickly to find the killer - and exonerate himself.

Problems, however, begin to accumulate. One possible witness - a teenage boy who saw a strange car parked in the Van Alstyne driveway at or about the time of the murder - seems to be credible, but some of what he says doesn't make sense. Then Russ makes a discovery about secrets that his dead wife had never shared with him; if she had been forthcoming with those secrets, their marriage and Russ's departure from their house might have had very different outcomes. Meanwhile, as Russ doggedly pursues the tenuous clues in the case - with Clare offering him support, assistance, and companionship - the murder case is further complicated by a seemingly unrelated case involving computers and identity theft, and Russ and Clare soon reach a point in the investigation where nothing seems to make sense.

Filled with finely crafted characterizations and driven by a meticulously constructed plot that is enriched by some breath-taking surprises, Julia Spencer-Fleming's All Mortal Flesh features Clare Fergusson and Russ Van Alstyne at the most exciting and most pivotal moment in their complicated lives. Dark and brilliant, subtle and tough, All Mortal Flesh delivers a fast-paced mystery that will keep readers guessing until the final, exciting paragraphs.

Note: Opinions expressed in reviews and articles on this site are those of the author(s) and not necessarily those of BookLoons.

Find more Mystery books on our Shelves or in our book Reviews