Twelve Drummers Drumming by C.C. Benison
5th Canadian Book Challenge; review copy from Randomhouse
Reverend Tom Christmas (not surprisingly, he doesn't like Father Christmas) is trying to get a new start to his life. After his wife was murdered, he moved with his young daughter to a small village, Thornford Regis, to be nearer his sister-in-law. A delightful English village, full of characters, until Sybella, a nineteen year old troubled girl, is found murdered during the May Fayre. Tom becomes a bit of a detective, as he seems to confuse his role as confidante to his parish with the nosiness needed to solve the crime.
Cozy little mystery, with the delightful village setting, Benison is touted as a choice for fans of Alan Bradley, Louise Penny, and Alexander McCall Smith. As a fan of all of those authors, I would say Benison has a place on the shelf with them. He has set up a village with some great characters, and some ongoing mysteries that aren't completely solved with this first book. The second book will obviously be Eleven Pipers Piping. His writing isn't quite as tight as Penny's, nor quite as relaxing as McCall's but I did like a lot of the supporting characters, and while Tom himself is not a perfect character, he is trying hard to be a good father. He is still grieving his wife, but starting to be interested in women. I'm looking forward to seeing what happens next in Thornford Regis.