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A Fountain Filled with Blood (Reverend Clare Ferguson Mystery) [Mass Market Paperback]

Julia Spencer-Fleming
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
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Book Description

30 April 2004 Reverend Clare Ferguson Mystery (Book 2)
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 were gay. But when a third assault on an out-of-town develo0per end 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 Millers Kill. But 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...

Frequently Bought Together

A Fountain Filled with Blood (Reverend Clare Ferguson Mystery) + Out of the Deep I Cry (Clare Fergusson/Russ Van Alstyne Mystery) + All Mortal Flesh (Clare Fergusson and Russ Van Alstyne Mysteries)
Price For All Three: 14.32

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Product details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 400 pages
  • Publisher: St Martin's Press (30 April 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0312995431
  • ISBN-13: 978-0312995430
  • Product Dimensions: 2.7 x 10.2 x 17.1 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 697,723 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description


"[Spencer-Fleming] pulls it off again." -Chicago Tribune "Spencer-Fleming's second cozy-cum-thriller to feature the Reverend Clare Fergusson...is every bit as riveting as her first...with eloquent exposition and natural dialogue, the precisely constructed plot moves effortlessly to its dramatic conclusion." -Publishers Weekly (starred review)"The plot is complicated, and the ethical issues are even thornier. Wisely, Spencer-Fleming treats them with the same delicacy she extends to Clare's forbidden love."-The New York Times"Despite the brutal crimes, this is a quiet and civilized story just right for those who enjoy a modern take on the old-fashioned whodunit."-Rocky Mountain News"Serious issues...add depth to the story. An exciting mountain rescue keeps the pages turning as the pace picks up at the end."-Booklist"Even more action, more plot-twists, and more unconsummated romance than in Clare and Russ's notable debut."-Kirkus Reviews

About the Author

Julia Spencer-Fleming's first book, "In the Bleak Midwinter," won the 2001 St. Martin's Press/Malice Domestic Contest for Best First Traditional Mystery. Born on Plattsburgh Air Force Base, Julia spent most of her childhood on the move as an Army brat. She studied acting and history at Ithaca College, and received her JD at the University of Maine School of Law. She lives in a 180-year-old farmhouse outside of Portland, Maine, with her husband, three children, and beloved big dog.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Keeping up the Pace 18 Sep 2008
I recently read Julia Spencer Flemings first book and enjoyed it, and have also enjoyed this one. It is not a fast paced thriller by any means but the storyline is good and the characters well drawn. In Clare we have a priest who manages to combine maintaining her Chrsitian faith along with human qualities that we can all identify with. The interplay between her and the chief of Police is good and I am sure this will be developed further in future novels. The plot moves along at a fast enough pace to keep you interested and the ending is good. I didn't guess a thing. I think I will be reading more by this author. I would recommend this book.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Very Pleasant Discovery 21 Nov 2008
By Panic
Format:Mass Market Paperback
I'd never heard of Julia Spencer-Fleming until I read 'A Fountain Filled With Blood' now I've bought all the books in the series. It raises the question of how a first-rate author can get exposure other than through word-of-mouth. The Rev Clare Ferguson mysteries are extremely well written and plotted which left me guessing - not something I can usually say as most 'mysteries' are anything but!! This is an author that deserves a look, I doubt that any new reader will be disappointed.
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Amazon.com: 4.2 out of 5 stars  100 reviews
27 of 29 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A traditional mystery that is quite likely to entertain many 10 May 2003
By Bookreporter - Published on Amazon.com
Despite its title, which was taken from an old hymn by the English poet Thomas Cowper, A FOUNTAIN FILLED WITH BLOOD is neither grisly nor especially violent. This book, the second in a series by new author Julia Spencer-Fleming, is a traditional mystery that is unlikely to offend anyone and quite likely to entertain many.
Clare Fergusson is a former Army helicopter pilot, now an Episcopal priest in the small upstate New York town of Millers Kill. In her late 30s and unmarried, she has in general a healthy, no-nonsense attitude toward life and a particular calling toward her religion, which is also now her livelihood. Her faith is strong but unobtrusive --- there's no proselytizing here. Rather, the author uses the occasional inclusion of a prayer or a bit of ritual to add atmosphere while also providing insight into Clare's character.
Here, as in the first book in the series, IN THE BLEAK MIDWINTER, Clare partners up with Sheriff Russ Van Alstyne to solve a crime into whose path she, literally, stumbles. It seems someone around Millers Kill doesn't like gay men. Two are badly beaten in a manner that suggests a hate crime and then one more is found dead; he's the body Clare stumbles into. There happens to be a connection between the dead man and a young couple whose marriage she is to perform in a couple of weeks, which gives Clare opportunity to learn some things Russ and his deputies might not. Because of her military training and a healthy dose of curiosity --- of the sort that amateur detectives must have or these books would never go anywhere --- Clare doesn't hesitate to learn all she can, though at some cost to herself.
The small-town setting will feel familiar to a large number of readers, regardless of the specific upper New York State locale; there is a sort of comforting togetherness going on. There's a Fourth of July celebration in the park and a town meeting where a new development is opposed on environmental grounds. There's a big old Victorian house on the edge of town that has been turned into a bed and breakfast and is run by a pair of openly gay men who are life-partners. There are summer tourists with their stiff, new city-bought leisure clothes, necessary to the fragile economy but getting in the way. Even the nature of the crimes and their impact on the community seem familiar, especially when Clare proposes to her vestry that their church should show support for the victims of a crime that the older, uptight vestry members would rather pretend had no connection to sexuality.
An interestingly different thread of tension runs through the entire book, in the form of a strong sexual attraction between the priest and the sheriff, who not only is a very married man but also loves his wife --- and they both know it. These two characters are extremely well drawn, real people in a very personal conundrum.
Spencer-Fleming is at her best with action scenes --- most interesting in that she portrays them vividly yet without gratuitous violence. She writes so well that she doesn't need blood and gore to get our attention. In the latter half of the book, there is an extended episode in which Clare uses her helicopter pilot skills, honed during the Gulf War, that will have you breathless as you await the outcome, unable to guess what it will be.
For readers who prefer conventional mysteries --- and for anyone who might like a change of pace from the tougher, darker thrillers --- A FOUNTAIN FILLED WITH BLOOD would be a good choice. Especially since, if you like it, the author's previous novel, IN THE BLEAK MIDWINTER, is now out in paperback.
--- Reviewed by Ava Dianne Day
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Intricate and enjoyable fast-paced read 27 Sep 2006
By R. Kyle - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Mass Market Paperback
"Fountain" starts with an attack on a gay physician and keeps the pace going from there.

The town is in an uproar because PCBs are found at the proposed site of a high dollar resort. Economic advocates want the jobs and tourism the resort will bring. Liberal 'tree huggers' want the resort plans shelved.

Unfortunately, this controversy pits Police Chief Russell Van Alstyne against his 70-ish Mom, Margy. When she lands in jail, it's no surprise to anyone that her son was the one arresting her!

A second attack on a gay man, this one a video store owner, has the Chief now pitted against the story's other protagonist, Anglican Priest Reverand Clare Fergusson.

And if that wasn't enough--the Chief and the Reverand are in love. One big complication is that the chief has a 'beautiful wife of 25 years'. This second novel shows the chink in the chief's marriage. Linda doesn't show much interest in police work--and Russ' Mom doesn't like Linda, either.

Things are definitely going to be interesting when I read the third book--and have no doubt I will!
11 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent Follow-Up to "Bleak Midwinter" 3 April 2003
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
As both "Publishers Weekly" and "Booklist" indicate, "A Fountain Filled With Blood" is a compelling and exciting follow-up to the author's debut novel, "In a Bleak Midwinter." In this book, Clare Fergusson, an Episcopal priest, and Russ Van Alstyne, the local police chief, must deal with such serious issues as gay-bashing and environmental protection vs. community development to solve the murder of a local developer. The book has realistic characters, a great sense of setting, and some page-turning action. Highly recommended. And when you are finished with the book and want more of Clare and Russ, go back and reread "In the Bleak Midwinter" and see things that you didn't catch the first time around. Can't wait until the next installment.
9 of 11 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Better than the first 20 Aug 2003
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Many times an author's second book is not quite as good as the first one, but this one is better. Fleming seems to be settling into her setting and characters, and does a fine job of maintaining the tension between the protagonists. This is an adult romance that seems entirely believable. Russ is drawn to Clare's vitality and intelligence, but is also a responsible husband in love with his wife. The helicopter incident is well done with what seems to be knowledgeable detail. The bigotry of a ordinarily decent people is handled well. The writer does not beat the drum, but lets us know her stance. (I really dislike writers with an agenda.) I wait for the next one with impatience.
8 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I liked this second book better than the first 23 Jun 2004
By M. C. Crammer - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Spencer-Fleming is, I think, one of those writers who will get better as she continues, not one of the writers who has one good book and then it's all downhill from there. This book had few of the problems that bothered me with the first.
The "detective" of this series is Claire Fergusson, former Navy helicopter pilot turned Episcopal priest and living in a resort area in upstate New York. Claire is a brave, gutsy priest -- perhaps too much -- who doesn't back down. She can't help but get involved in a series of attacks when she herself discovers one of the third person to be attacked -- and he's dead. Since all the victims are gay, the murder appears to be a hate crime, but perhaps not -- perhaps there's another explanation for this similarity. Maybe it has something to do with a resort that's being built in the community.
Claire is ably abetted in her detective work by the Chief of Police (Russ Van Alstyne), with whom there is considerable sexual tension. He is, after all, married, and she is, after all, an Episcopal priest. This time around, they are making more of an effort to stay out of too much proximity with each other and any compromising situations. You can't help but wish she's find someone more available and wonder why the author set up such an apparently hopeless situation to begin with (maybe something unfortunate will befall the Chief's wife?).
The plot moves right along -- hardly a dull page in this book -- and although I wasn't particularly surprised at the outcome, it was an entertaining trip to get there. Spencer-FLeming describes location very well, so well that you could imagine being there, but some of the helicopter stuff was a bit too involved for my taste.
I look forward to reading the third book in the series.
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