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.
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.
Advance praise for Twelve Drummers Drumming
“C. C. Benison has concocted a charming and deliciously convoluted mystery for the Reverend Tom Christmas, new vicar of Thornford Regis, which is an updated version of St. Mary Mead. Indeed, Twelve Drummers Drumming is a crime novel that Agatha Christie might have been justly proud to claim as her own.”—Margaret Maron, New York Times bestselling author of Christmas Mourning
“C. C. Benison brings the English village mystery into a more demanding era, crafting a story with dimension and subtlety, in which resoundingly real characters grapple with loss and danger and matters of immortality—without losing the whimsy, the tight plotting, and the palpable delight in Traditional England found in his predecessors.”—Laurie King, New York Times bestselling author of God of the Hive
“Twelve Drummers Drumming is a beautifully written mystery set in an enchanting English village. May Father Christmas (he prefers Tom) long share his wisdom and goodness.”—Carolyn Hart, nationally bestselling author of Dead by Midnight
“The Reverend Tom Christmas is an intriguing sleuth, a dedicated vicar with admitted shortcomings that render him entirely human. Steeped in the aura of English village life, with a cast of entertaining characters, and blessed with a touch of humor, this delightful series will keep you charmed, intrigued, and guessing right up to the end.”—Kate Kingsbury, author of Herald of Death
“An atmospheric, engaging, and well-crafted story.”—Anne Perry, New York Times bestselling author of Treason at Lisson Grove
“It’s rare that a novel is both a charmer and a page-turner, but C. C. Benison has done it. I can’t wait to visit Thornford Regis again.”—Charles Finch, author of A Burial at Sea
“The traditional British village cozy has never looked better. The Reverend Tom Christmas is an irresistible addition to the ranks of clerical sleuths. Fans of M. C. Beaton, Rhys Bowen, and G. M. Malliet will relish C. C. Benison’s layered, exceptionally well-written new series.”—Julia Spencer-Fleming, author of One Was a Soldier