Father Tom Christmas moves to the picturesque English hamlet of Thornford Regis to become its new vicar and to seek a peaceful haven. But inside the empty village hall, the huge Japanese o-daiko drum that’s featured in the May Fayre festivities has been viciously sliced open—and curled up inside is the bludgeoned body of Sybella Parry, the daughter of the choir director. Realizing this village is not the refuge he’d hoped for, Father Tom comes to a disturbing conclusion: Sybella’s killer must be one of his parishioners. No one is above suspicion—not Sebastian John, the deeply reserved verger, nor Mitsuko Drewe, a local artist, nor Colonel Northmore, survivor of a World War II prison camp. And over all hangs the long-unsolved mystery of a sudden disappearance, one that brought Father Tom to this picture-perfect place to live—or die.
BONUS: This edition includes an excerpt from C. C. Benison's Eleven Pipers Piping.
This splendid first in a new whodunit series from Canadian author Benison (Death at Windsor Castle) introduces the Rev. Tom Christmas, the new vicar of St. Nicholas Church in the English village of Thornford Regis. Five months earlier, Christmas lost his wife to an unknown murderer in London. Soon after this tragedy, while visiting Thornford, he stepped in to officiate at a funeral service after the incumbent vicar, Peter Kinsey, failed to show. He subsequently replaced Kinsey, who has vanished. Christmas hopes bucolic Thornton will be a good place to rear his nine-year-old daughter, but once again he must deal with a violent death that of Sybella Parry, the choirmaster's grown daughter, whose body he finds inside a large drum. Rejecting the easy explanation, that something in Parry's drug-addicted past led to her demise, Christmas begins to dig, and discovers that Thornford's placidity is only skin-deep. An intelligent and empathic protagonist and skillful prose make this a winner.
Customer ReviewsSee All
Twelve drummers drumming
Likable characters, good plot,verrrrry sloooow read. Lots of unnecessary verbiage.
I loved this book. I felt like I was watching Father Brown and Mid Summers Murders. These are both brilliant shows and this book is right there with them. I'm getting ready to start the second one. The characters are wonderful and I love the letters to Madruns mom. If you like mysteries, especially British ones, you'll love this.
A Slow Read
Though the plot was interesting, the book is just too slow and overburdened with the main character's musings. I almost gave up on it at one point but was curious enough about who dunnit to finish reading it.