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Twelve Drummers Drumming: A Father Christmas Mystery Hardcover – Deckle Edge, October 25, 2011

103 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews


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

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.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Delacorte Press (October 25, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0385344457
  • ISBN-13: 978-0385344456
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 1.2 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (103 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,396,927 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

C. C. BENISON is the nom de plume for Arthur Ellis Award-winning author Doug Whiteway. He studied comparative religion at the University of Manitoba and journalism at Carleton University, in Ottawa, and has worked as a writer and editor for newspapers and magazines, as a book editor, and as a contributor to nonfiction books. He is the author of the Her Majesty Investigates series of crime novels, a stand-alone novel, Death in Cold Type, and, more recently, the Father Christmas series, which includes Twelve Drummers Drumming (2011), Eleven Pipers Piping (2012) and Ten Lords A-Leaping (2013). He lives in Winnipeg.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

29 of 30 people found the following review helpful By Harriet Klausner #1 HALL OF FAME on October 29, 2011
Format: Hardcover
Several months after his wife's still unsolved homicide in London, Reverend Tom "Father" Christmas accompanied by his nine year old daughter Miranda, fans of the French version of Nancy Drew, visit his sister-in-law Julia Hennis the music teacher and her husband Alastair the physician Thornford Regis. When Vicar Peter Kinsey failed to arrive to lead the services for the late Ned Skynner at St. Nicholas Church, Father Christmas conducts the ceremony. Tom takes over the vacated position of village vicar

The Christmas pair finds life in the village soothing as they heal from their loss. However, at the fair, someone murders the daughter of the choirmaster; Sybella Parry's body is found inside a large drum. Although most locals assume drugs were involved in the homicide, Tom thinks otherwise. As he makes inquiries and uses the confessional to gather information, Tom finds several suspects who could easily have killed the teenager.

This is an enjoyable English village mystery that stars a fascinating widower who employs a unique way to gather data. The story line starts slow to establish the cast and setting, but once done accelerates into a fast-paced entertaining whodunit with a great surprising final spin.

Harriet Klausner
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40 of 44 people found the following review helpful By Holly TOP 1000 REVIEWER on December 15, 2011
Format: Hardcover
I am a huge fan of mysteries and particularly enjoy the series written by Louise Penny and the first installment of G. M. Malliet's new series call "Wicked Autumn". I saw this mystery listed in the newspaper recently and thought it sounded similar to those - plus, the author endorsements on the product description are some of the most respected people currently writing in the mystery genre. Tack on the fact its title is "Twelve Drummers Drumming" and the main character is a vicar by the name of Father Tom Christmas and I was sold. Just to be clear, the novel has nothing to do with Christmas and is not set during the holiday season, even though that was my first impression.

Father Christmas has recently moved to the small village of Thornford Regis with his 9-year-old daughter, Miranda. The move was prompted by a desire to leave London after his wife's murder and settle into a more safe, comfortable environment. His sister-in-law is a resident of the village, and the church organist as well, so the pull of family also played a part in the decision. The title gets its name from a musical group performing during the May Fayre as well as the connection to drumming when a village resident is found dead inside the largest of the drums. Trying to figure out what happened to the young woman and why forms the basis of the mystery. Not everything is as idyllic in this charming village as would first appear and some of the residents have incidents in their past that challenge the tranquility Father Christmas was hoping to find.

There is a large cast of characters, all listed at the front of the book which I needed to refer to often. To be frank, there were too many in my opinion and I found myself mixing up characters since some of them blended together versus being distinct.
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25 of 28 people found the following review helpful By Luanne Ollivier TOP 500 REVIEWER on October 26, 2011
Format: Hardcover
I was off sick one day last week, cuddled up under a quilt on the couch, just waiting for it to pass. I picked up C.C. Benison's latest book Twelve Drummers Drumming to spend the day with me. What a perfect choice this cozy little mystery was!

The Reverend Tom Christmas takes a new posting in the village of Thornford Regis after his wife was murdered in the city. He hopes this English village will offer a place to heal and and a chance to move on for both himself and his nine year old daughter Miranda. But the new vicar is not long into his new posting when one of his young parishioners turns up dead - stuffed in a large drum at the local May Fayre. Father Tom's natural curiosity has him quietly asking questions and discovering that this sleepy little village is not as idyllic as he had hoped.

Father Tom is a great character - very likable and real. He's struggling with coming to terms with his grief and trying to move on. Yes, he's a vicar, but the book never gets overly 'preachy' at all. I enjoyed his honest and thoughtful observations on life and people. The village is populated with many, many characters - a 'who's who' list is at the front of the book. Quirky, suspicious, friendly, nosy, secretive, helpful - there's no lack of suspects in this parish! The whodunit has many possibilities.

There are actually a few mysteries tucked into the pages of Twelve Drummers Drumming. The plot kept me engaged and I enjoyed following the vicar as he pieced together the clues.

But the real strength of this book is in the village, the inhabitants and this great new protagonist. I look forward to seeing what happens next in Thornford and seeing the residents again. Benison has nicely set up the framework for future books in this new series featuring Father Christmas. Care to garner a guess on what the next one is called?!
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20 of 22 people found the following review helpful By J & L Rigod on December 16, 2011
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This book is a perfect example of not judging a book by it's cover. The cover shows us a depiction of a favorite Christmas holiday song. The only connection to Christmas is the sleuth's last name. He is Tom Christmas, who along with his nine year old daughter, Miranda is new to his position of, Vicar to the sleepy village of Thornford Regis in England.

The drums suggested in the title are actually Japanese Taiko drums. The book opens at the village fair where a group of male students are going to perform with the drums. We learn not everyone is happy about this. This becomes evident when the largest drum is found with a body of a young woman inside.

In this village lies deception, marital discord, memories of a war that won't ease, and strongly held views of the world. Nothing is exactly as it first appears.

What secrets are being held and why does Sebastian John hide his past so tightly? Where did the previous Vicar go? Why was the girl murdered? What is wrong with the marriages of Tom's Sister-In-Law, and the village Bistro owner? What and Why is the Colonel so filled with hatred of all things Japanese and how far would his hatred go? Who may be next in harms way?

This book is a complex but fascinating read. I will look for more works by this Author.
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