Synopses & Reviews
Introducing Father Tom Christmas, the wise, warmhearted new vicar of a picturesque English village that seems to be a haven of peace. But appearances can be very deceiving. . . .
Thornford Regis has never been lovelier: larks on the wing, lilacs in bloom, and the May Fayre in full swing. But inside the empty village hall, the huge Japanese o-daiko drum that’s featured in the festivities has been viciously sliced open—and curled up inside is the bludgeoned body of Sybella Parry, the beautiful nineteen-year-old daughter of the choir director.
That she was too young to die, everyone agrees. But did Sybella’s apparent affinity for Goth and the black arts, and her rumored drug use, attract a shady element that led to her distressing demise?
Father Tom Christmas, still haunted by the tragedy that has left him a widower and his nine-year-old daughter motherless, soon realizes that this idyllic village is not the refuge he’d hoped for. He also comes to a disturbing conclusion: Sybella’s killer must be one of his parishioners. No one is above suspicion—not Sebastian John, Father Tom’s deeply reserved verger, nor Mitsuko Drewe, a local artist, nor irritable Colonel Northmore, survivor of a World War II prison camp. One by one, infidelity, theft, and intrigue are exposed. And over all, like an approaching storm, hangs the long-unsolved mystery of a sudden disappearance, one that brought Father Tom to a picture-perfect place to live—or die.
Smart, funny, edgy, and packing a terrific emotional charge, Twelve Drummers Drumming is a brilliant launch for C. C. Benison’s series starring Father Tom Christmas, an appealing new detective on the mystery scene.
"This splendid first in a new whodunit series from Canadian author Benison (Death at Windsor Castle) introduces the Rev. Tom Christmas, the new vicar of St. Nicholas Church in the English village of Thornford Regis. Five months earlier, Christmas lost his wife to an unknown murderer in London. Soon after this tragedy, while visiting Thornford, he stepped in to officiate at a funeral service after the incumbent vicar, Peter Kinsey, failed to show. He subsequently replaced Kinsey, who has vanished. Christmas hopes bucolic Thornton will be a good place to rear his nine-year-old daughter, but once again he must deal with a violent death that of Sybella Parry, the choirmaster's grown daughter, whose body he finds inside a large drum. Rejecting the easy explanation, that something in Parry's drug-addicted past led to her demise, Christmas begins to dig, and discovers that Thornford's placidity is only skin-deep. An intelligent and empathic protagonist and skillful prose make this a winner. (Nov.)" Publishers Weekly (Starred Review) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
About the Author
C. C. Benison has worked as a writer and editor for newspapers and magazines, as a book editor, and as a contributor to nonfiction books. A graduate of the University of Manitoba and Carleton University, he is the author of four previous novels, including Death at Buckingham Palace. He lives in Winnipeg.