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Showing 1-10 of 110 reviews(Verified Purchases). See all 140 reviews
on December 7, 2014
This is a little more hard-edged than the usual cozy mystery. The characters are more complex and the story really kept my interest unti the very end. I was excited to find this was the first in a series so I went to Amazon to pick up the second . Unfortunately, I discovered that all subsequent books in the series cost $12.99. The author has published a number of other books and this is obviously the publisher's price. However, I refuse to pay that much money for an e-book. The publishing industry just doesn't seem to understand that their world has changed with the advent of e-readers. I will wait for the price to come down, or I'll just have to deprive myself of the pleasure of reading any subsequent books in the series. That's too bad for the author, because he's the victim as well as we are . I know he doesn't get that much money out of each book.
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on November 2, 2013
I thought this first in a new cozy series would be a Christmas mystery. It isn't. It features a vicar in a British village. The Christmas-sounding title is due to the fact that the vicar's name is Tom Christmas, not to mention the title is taken from the song, The Twelve Days of Christmas.

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.
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on November 18, 2015
Father Thomas Christmas and his young daughter, Miranda, have moved to a (seemingly) idyllic English village after the murder of his wife. As the reader meets the cast of characters, and there are many, mysteries pop up along the way. First the prior vicar is missing, then another villager is murdered, the virger of the church disappears, and finally a patriarch of the village dies under suspicious circumstances. Thomas is involved as both a priest and as a member of the community. He confesses to himself that he can be a "nosy parker." While this book meets the criteria of a "cozy" mystery, there is a bit more meat to the characters and the story as well. There is no graphic violence or foul language, and while police are involved, it is the amateur sleuth who solves the mysteries. Mostly, the proofreading was adequate except for a number of peculiar instances where words are repeated several times in a row, spelled differently each time; it's as though the writer was experimenting with spellings. The ending pulls the threads of the story together but leaves a big, wide opening for the next installment. I find that a bit of trickery. There are two more Father Christmas books. I may or may not continue....
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on November 29, 2014
Father Christmas, widower, devoted dad, and part-time solver of mysteries is a well-drawn, human hero. This tale of murder in a quiet (?) English village had a full cast of interestingly detailed characters. Among them, Miranda, a French-speaking nine-year-old who reads the European equivalent of Nancy Drew and daughter to the Father; a rector gone missing; a survivor from a Japanese prison camp; the daughter of a musical celebrity; and local villagers whose darker pasts could no longer be kept out of sight. The intertwining of the major players was written with a deft hand. The reasons for subterfuge on the part of each of the various suspects was thoroughly confusing and beautifully muddled. The descriptions of place and time, of light and shadow, evocatively and appropriately bracketed each moment of insight. This tale evoked the skill of my favorite author, Dame Agatha, herself, and while the ending was quite satisfying, left tantalizing clues that hinted at other cover ups, other stories yet to be told. There will be more, I hope. Until then, enjoy!
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on December 31, 2014
A good read - likable cast of characters, including "Father Christmas", well written for the most part, although I didn't care for the ongoing use of letters to advance the plot. A nice change of pace to NOT find that a character who can be expected to appear in future books is quite annoying in some way. Quirky is OK, pain-in-the-neck (or elsewhere) isn't. Also nice that there is enough detail to actually get a feel of time, place, and people. I read British cozies as much for atmosphere as for story; this one is a keeper.
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on July 5, 2012
This is the first in a new series by C. C. Benison and I look forward to reading more!

I didn't enjoy it as much as Benison's other series - Death at Buckingham Palace: Her Majesty Investigates,Death at Sandringham House: Her Majesty Investigates and Death at Windsor Castle: Her Majesty Investigates - I really enjoyed these!
However this book had some very interesting aspects in an overall fun story.

This book features Father Tom Christmas - a Church of England vicar - living in a relatively small English village with his daughter. A seemingly peaceful place until he finds the dead body of the local rich guy's daughter.

This book blends a good story with some of the humor I've come to expect from C C Benison and some nice twists. It was slightly more predictable than his other books but still had some nice side plots and I look forward to reading more.
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on December 6, 2014
This was a good typical British mystery. There are characters to like, including some rather quirky ones. Most have a past that helps define them and the story makes sense. Warning: this is a cerebral mystery, not a fast moving, thrill a minute ride. It's enjoyable but won't keep you up at night.
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on November 22, 2015
I wanted to like this book. The hero was certainly a likable guy and the premise was good. The problem was the author's need to over contrive situations. For instance the hero is a minister who was married to a Jewish woman, who (before this book starts) was murdered in his church. Then we have multiple back and forth (non sequential) scenes - which can work -but in this case just seemed unnecessary. Actually, the subplot concerning a different puzzle surrounding a secondary character (Sebastian) was more interesting then the main plot though, unfortunately, there was no resolution to this more compelling mystery. I would try another book by this author, as he certainly has talent and promise, with the hope he feels less compelled to add contrivances which have no bearing on the plot.
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on March 5, 2016
First in the "Father" Tom Christmas cozy mystery series, and a great start to a promising series. Albeit a cozy mystery, it is by no means a "fluffy" one. The Vicar, preferring "Tom" over "Father Christmas", wrestles with trying to keep his precocious 9 year old daughter as innocent as she deserves, in what was mistakenly thought to be a bucolic village. Being of the cloth, he is naturally trusted and quickly has the pulse of this small town, which he finds in turmoil. With a desire to return Thornford Regis to stasis, the good Vicar deftly unravels the intertwining deceits, mistaken identities, and harbored resentments. This is a thoroughly enjoyable read and highly recommended.
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on November 26, 2015
This could have been a good mystery, but instead it turned into a big disappointment. Recently, it seems that mysteries require two things: an amateur detective who is a widower and has a precocious daughter. Tom Christmas is just such a man, and he is also a vicar. He has settled in Thornford Regis with his daughter, Miranda, to get away from the horrors of his wife's murder.

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.
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