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?!
Read an excerpt of Twelve Drummers Drumming. You can find Benison on Facebook.