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Twelve Drummers Drumming: A Mystery Hardcover
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Tom Christmas recently relocated to Thornford Regis, where he serves as the vicar at St. Nicholas Church. His wife was murdered two years ago (still unsolved) and he believes that moving from Bristol to a country town will provide a safer environment for his 9 year old daughter, Miranda. His wife’s sister and her husband live in Thornford, so there will also be family support for Miranda. Christmas is able to take the position of priest at St. Nicholas because of the mysterious disappearance of the former priest. But Christmas hasn’t been in Thornford too long when a young girl is found murdered, and stuffed in a Japanese drum that is part of a May Fare Celebration. There are many possible suspects and Christmas finds himself in the middle of the investigation. And it is just possible that he will discover the identity of the murderer before the bumbling investigators that have been assigned to the case.
I really enjoyed Benison’s writing style and reading about small town English life was fun. Thornford has just as many strange and entertaining characters as city life, and often the same problems. Also, there are characters who seek out a small town because they have secrets to hide. I also liked the character, Tom Christmas, and Benison has already started a series of books using the country vicar. I will definitely try to read more of them.
Anyway, it's not bad. It's got some interesting characters. Tom Christmas, the vicar who is a former professional magician who moves to the village, along with his 9-year old daughter, after his wife was murdered. Christmas tries to solve several village crimes at one time, making the plot somewhat interesting.
The book does go on and on, though. I think better editing would've been helpful. Perhaps a quarter of the book could've been cut.
Nonetheless, I liked it well enough to continue with the series.
As might be expected, there are some unusual villagers and several murders involved. The book is much too long, and every other page, or so it seems, Tom (as he prefers to be called) dwells upon the circumstances of his wife's death. The reader can only hope that the author doesn't intend to drag out that plot line until "the partridge in a pear tree" makes his appearance.