The delightful Father Tom Christmas returns, and the cozy hamlet of Thornford Regis comes to life, in C. C. Benison’s witty, beautifully written series that is “a must-read for lovers of classic English mysteries” (Kirkus Reviews).
Although Father Tom Christmas serves his little church in enchanting Thornford Regis with a glad and faithful heart, he never expects to find himself skydiving to raise money for it. Nor, safely back on the ground, to see two of the other divers leap from the plane, then tangle in a midair punch-up and begin falling to the earth.
To say that there is tension between the men in question—Oliver, the 7th Marquess of Morborne, and his brother-in-law Hector, the 10th Earl of Fairhaven—would be an understatement. But the trouble among this ancient landed family really began a generation ago, when a marquess divorced his first spouse to marry his brother’s wife, fathering in his two marriages a viper’s nest of arrogant young aristocrats. Now they have all turned up for the show to witness this shocking event in the sky.
Thankfully the men land safely, but death will not be slighted. Much to Father Tom’s dismay, he later discovers Lord Morborne lying deceased on castle grounds. Rumors of bigamy, art forgeries, and upstairs/downstairs intrigue fly. So do whispers of unvicarly behavior between Tom and Oliver’s beautiful half-sister, Lady Lucinda. In fact, the vicar may be headed for a very hard landing of his own.
C. C. Benison gives a virtuoso performance in this gripping new puzzle, a compelling and wise holiday mystery with the irresistible allure of hot tea and warm scones on a cold winter’s day.
Praise for C. C. Benison’s Father Christmas mysteries Ten Lords A-Leaping “A strong mystery reminiscent of P. D. James, with many well-developed characters, local color and a sensitive, intelligent investigator.”—Kirkus Reviews “An affable lead with a sympathetic backstory anchors Benison’s carefully crafted third Father Christmas mystery. . . . Readers will hope that Christmas will keeping detecting past the partridge-in-a-pear-tree volume.”—Publishers Weekly “This leisurely paced, English-country-house mystery has multiple plotlines and plot twists as Tom finds a long-lost relative of a friend and solves several mysteries.”—Booklist Eleven Pipers Piping
“Benison uses the claustrophobia of village life to great effect, making the series a psychologically astute pleasure for fans of traditional cozies.”—The Washington Post “Smashingly clever . . . Readers will be crazy about this vicar.”—Library Journal
“A great whodunit in the best British tradition.”—The Globe and Mail Twelve Drummers Drumming
“A crime novel that Agatha Christie might have been justly proud to claim as her own.”—Margaret Maron
“Benison does an admirable job balancing humor with suspense. . . . Father Christmas’s first case leaves you eager for his next.”—The Wall Street Journal
“Splendid . . . an intelligent and empathic protagonist and skillful prose make this a winner.”—Publishers Weekly (starred review)