Two Women - A PI and A Vicar - Two Mysteries

Here are two more books that I bought at Once Upon A Crime in Minneapolis.
In the Bleak Midwinter, by Julia Spencer-Fleming, is a first crime novel, featuring one of those unlikely buddy pairs that can make detective stories either really entertaining or cringingly bad, depending mostly on the writer's skill with dialogue and narrative touch with relationships. (There is an obvious intention to start a "series" here, including a taster of the forthcoming second novel.) This writer is neither the best nor the worst I have encountered, but nearer the top than the bottom, so, so far so good. The pair is a newly appointed female Episcopalian priest and a married, male, non-religious local police chief. The scene is set to bring them together by a newborn baby being left in the church porch, and the attempts to find the mother, the father or the truth about what happened to them. Extra tension is added to the relationship by a small romantic attachment on both sides, and needs to be filled that are not being met by the wife on one hand or the vocation on the other. Not at all bad for a first timer.
The Big Dig, on the other hand, is one in a long-established and well-respected series by crime author Linda Barnes. The female PI, six-foot tall, red-headed, ex-cop Carlotta Carlyle of Boston, is very much in the V. I. Warshawski/Kinsey Mullhone vein. The Big Dig is a real project, the massive engineering feat of putting all the freeways in downtown Boston underground, the "central artery tunnel", which is the largest modern engineering project in the world. And a great setting for a mysterious death that may be a murder.

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