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Twelve Drummers Drumming (Father Christmas Mystery #1)
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Twelve Drummers Drumming (Father Christmas Mystery #1)

3.52  ·  Rating Details ·  1,410 Ratings  ·  268 Reviews
Introducing a series utterly perfect for cozy fans of Alan Bradley, Alexander McCall Smith, and Louise Penny. The Reverend Tom "Father" Christmas, the newest vicar of Thornford Regis, an idyllic rural town in England, turns detective when one of his parishioners turns up dead in a drum, and everyone in town seems to have something to confess. Tom Christmas came to pictures ...more
Hardcover, 374 pages
Published October 25th 2011 by Doubleday Canada (first published January 1st 2011)
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Aug 29, 2012 rabbitprincess rated it did not like it
Recommended to rabbitprincess by: Quill and Quire
* 1/2

Low ratings always make me sad, especially for authors whose previous work I have enjoyed. (In Benison's case, it's the "Her Majesty Investigates" series.) But I should have listened to my inner skeptic when it thought the idea of a vicar surnamed Christmas and nicknamed Father was just a little bit twee. In the end, the book did not suffer from twee so much as it did First in Series Syndrome: lots of backstory to introduce, and a hell of a lot of backstory for one character. The protagonis
Luanne Ollivier
Oct 26, 2011 Luanne Ollivier rated it really liked it
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 Mi
Oct 31, 2011 Larraine rated it it was amazing
I read about this book in a one line post on the Cozy Mystery Blog,a blog, on which I rely, to keep me informed about the new books coming out in the next month. I took for granted that it was a Christmas-themed mystery. So when it arrived at the library for me, I almost deferred reading it.

I'm glad that I didn't. It is NOT a Christmas mystery at all. It actually takes place in the spring in an English village called Thornford Regis. It's the first in a new series that features Father Christmas
Feb 21, 2012 Marie rated it really liked it
In Twelve Drummers Drumming, Tom Christmas, magician-turned-vicar, seeks refuge in Thornford Regis, a seemingly idyllic village, after the death of his wife. During the May Fayre, the body of Sybella Parry, the choir director's daughter, is discovered in the village hall in the base of a Japanese o-daiko drum. Father Christmas soon realizes that there are lots of suspects and the village is chockfull of secrets. It's especially unsettling when he realizes that one of his parishioners is likely t ...more
Dec 28, 2014 Lori rated it it was amazing
Shelves: crime-fiction
What a treat of a book. Very excited to find a new series to dive into. Twelve Drummers Drumming, like traditional British mysteries, is set in an Idyllic English country village but, set in modern times with modern characters (aging rock star and goth daughter, part time organist in an increasingly unhappy marriage and a retired army officer still struggling with his life as a POW ) with modern problems (drug abuse, gambling debts and shady pasts). Father Tom Christmas, the protagonist in this ...more
Dec 21, 2011 Lauri rated it did not like it
Normally, if you give me a mystery set in a quaint English village with quirky English villagers, this is a sure hit for me, but I could never get into this one and gave up about a third of the way through.
Jul 09, 2015 John rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Not sure what to think here ... it had the promise to be be a good story, but I could never become invested in the characters or the outcome really.
Aside from the cute gimmick of a minister called Father Christmas (although he usually insists on "vicar" if not just "Tom"), there was the issue of his wife's murder, with no clues a year or so earlier, and his carrying on with raising their daughter as Jewish; his wife's sister takes her to services in the nearby city of Exeter. And there's his hav
Oct 08, 2012 Scott rated it did not like it
First of all, this is NOT a Christmas story. Although the title alludes to the 12 days of Christmas poem/song this story has nothing to do with Christmas with the exception of the leading character being Vicar, or Father Tom Christmas. The story actually takes place in the month of May. As to the story itself, about two thirds of it is philosophical rambling by the author and has little to nothing to do the story/plot line. Take away all of that and you have a barely passable short story that mi ...more
Mary Ronan Drew
Feb 02, 2012 Mary Ronan Drew rated it it was amazing
The discussion about being seduced by book covers continues. I have to add to it the seduction of the blurbs.

A couple of months before a book is published the author and publisher have to solicit comments from other authors and reviewers. Not much fun, I'm told, even if your book is really good. And the results are usually mixed.

Well, the testamonials for Twelve Drummers Drumming can't have been hard to scare up, judging from how wonderful this mystery is, and from who chippped in.

Laurie R King:
Apr 22, 2012 Mandy rated it it was amazing
Twelve Drummers Drumming was one of those books where I kept looking at how much more I had left to read because I didn't want it to end. Father Tom Christmas is a widowed vicar who retreats to a charming, quiet village to raise his daughter and recuperate from the murder of his wife in their former urban parish. Unfortunately, the quiet is shattered by an untimely death, and the suspects start to pile up. The cast of characters assembled in the novel range from a dottering old POW, a has-been ...more
Sep 23, 2012 Jeff rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery
Pretty fun book. I liked it but did not love it. I liked the dry humor of the author and the main character. But the story was a little cliche, following pretty much every other story about an amateur detective happening to solve the crime because everyone else is just not getting it. The author did put in several new twists that made the book fun. My biggest problem however was the time that the author took to get the main story going. He kept going back into time to introduce the main characte ...more
Nov 30, 2012 Tina rated it really liked it
Shelves: audio
With a protagonist named Father Christmas, and a cover touting a line from the famous holiday carol, you'd think this was a Christmas story. However, C.C. Benison has simply used the naming devices to open a delightful British cozy mystery series. Having answered the call to a vocation after an earlier career as a magician, Father "call me Tom" Christmas is still reeling from the recent brutal murder of his wife. He jumps at the chance to move himself and his 8 year old daughter to the quiet rur ...more
Jan 08, 2013 Carol rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery, audio-book
Like any good fictional small town, Thornford Regis is home to an assorted cast of characters, from an artist to a former rock star, nosy old-women to a rather secretive, if attractive, church caretaker. And almost everyone has a secret to hide: theft, past murders, affairs. It’s a traditional mystery, we have two detectives but it’s our vicar who solves the crime by asking the right questions and listening to his parishioners. He’s a smart, charming man.

The plot is well-done. There are several
Jan 21, 2013 Christi rated it really liked it
I read a bunch of Christmas themed cozy mysteries this December. Twelve Drummers Drumming was my favorite. It isn't even set at Christmas! But it does feature Rev. Tom Christmas who has relocated to a little village in England with his daughter after his wife is murdered.

I think this will be a great series to keep up with. I liked getting to know the people in the village and the mystery kept me engaged and guessing.
Dec 31, 2013 Sopha rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: abandoned
What made me pick up this book was the quote on its cover: "A crime novel that Agatha Christie might have been justly proud to claim as her own." - Margaret Maron.

And that was a mistake on my part. No one can achieve what Mrs Christie had done in this genre.

I could not get into the book at all, nothing to grip my attention and interest. I'm 3/4 through but I just can't seem to finish it and unfortunately, it doesn't bother me not knowing who committed the murder.
Dec 16, 2015 Mo rated it it was ok
2 1/2 stars

What do you think the chances are, if an author wrote a book with a character named Father Christmas, and took the title of the book from a Christmas carol, and the cover of the book showed 12 nutcrackers beating drums, that the person buying said book might reasonably suppose that the book had SOMETHING to do with Christmas? I think the chances are pretty high.


Yup, I was wrong. This book doesn’t have a damn thing to do with Christmas. Which I could almost forgive had the title charac
Laurel Bradshaw
I am usually very conservative with my ebook purchasing, contenting myself with freebies and watching for books under $2, but I actually paid full price for this one. What can I say? It was Christmas, I was away from home, the title and reviews intrigued me, and I didn't want to wait until I could get it from the library. You could spend more on a movie and popcorn!

It did not disappoint! I love British cozies. And I love stories involving clergy and their families, since I'm a PK myself. While t
Jan 09, 2014 Leslie rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: kindle, mysteries, british
2 stars. While the mystery aspect was decent, there was something in the setting or writing that struck me as a bit wrong - I can't really describe what it is. I will try another one to see if this feeling is specifically related to this book or affects the whole series... ...more
Feb 17, 2014 Julie rated it really liked it
Shelves: mystery, 2014-books
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Nov 25, 2014 Becky rated it liked it
Twelve Drummers Drumming is the first in the Father Christmas mystery series by C.C. Benison. Tom Christmas, the hero, is a vicar in the village of Thornford Regis. He's a widower with a nine year old daughter, Miranda. Both are still healing and adapting. Tom's wife was murdered. So why settle in Thornford? Tom and his daughter were visiting his sister-in-law and her husband about a year before the novel opens. There was a funeral in the village that day, but, the vicar was missing. Tom Christm ...more
Dec 02, 2014 Teri-k rated it did not like it
Shelves: mystery, duds
Happily for the writer and publisher, some people will like this book. Unfortunately I'm not one of them. I should have investigated it more closely, but I've seen the cover of this and the later volumes in the series, and I made some assumptions. I assumed they were Christmas-themed cozy mysteries, light and humorous. So it's partly my fault that when this first book in the series fit a category I needed for a reading challenge I just grabbed it and started reading. On the other hand, if you ca ...more
Ray Palen
Dec 25, 2014 Ray Palen rated it really liked it
The first in a series of Father Tom Christmas mysteries is a compelling and engaging novel.

Set in modern times --- this mystery, contrary to its' Christmas carol title --- is no tea cozy of a novel. A young girl is viciously and inexplicably murdered and stuffed inside a large Japanese drum. The small English village of Thornford Regis is full of characters and each is offered as a suspect in some way.

Like the work of Agatha Christie, TWELVE DRUMMERS DRUMMING dips into social, political and his
Mary Warnement
This was an enjoyable mystery, although I was often annoyed by the author's device of ending a chapter with the prospect of a revelation and leaping forward in time in the next so that the reader only learned the revelation as a flashback. The housekeeper's letters to her mother contained important information as well. Did I entirely appreciate the change in point of view? I won't look immediately for the next in the series.
Lindsay Gentles
Sep 20, 2016 Lindsay Gentles rated it it was ok
Shelves: owned-passed-on
Sadly, I saved this for the holidays because the title made me feel it was appropriate for my Christmas mystery and NOPE.. it has NOTHING to do with the holidays... BOOOO!
Shirley Schwartz
May 10, 2015 Shirley Schwartz rated it really liked it
This book wasn't what I expected. I'm sure others thought it would have a Christmas theme because of the title and because of the other titles in the series. Father Tom Christmas is the name of an English vicar who has recently located to a small English village called Thornford Regis. Father Tom has recently lost his wife to a violent act and it happened in the church he was posted to in the city. He moved to the small village with his young daughter in order to try to raise Miranda in what app ...more
Bruce Gargoyle
Ten Second Synopsis:
After the murder of his wife, vicar Tom Christmas moves to the quiet village of Thornford Regis with his daughter Miranda, to pursue the simple life and be closer to his late wife’s sister and husband. When a young woman is found murdered and stuffed inside a drum at the village fete, Tom is afraid that Thornford Regis isn’t quite the country idyll he was hoping for.

This was very well done indeed and while the recommendation on the book cover – “a crime novel that Agatha Chri
Julie  Durnell
Sep 25, 2015 Julie Durnell rated it really liked it
Shelves: mystery, england-uk
This was a great beginning series book, I thought Mr. Benison has a wonderful way with words. Mr. Tom Christmas is not your garden variety village vicar, he is a bit of a wolf in vicars clothing! The cast of characters is long but a list with short descriptions at the beginning of the book is a great reference. The plot moves along at a good pace fraught with red herrings-all in all an enjoyable British cozy; I plan to continue with the next book in the series.
Dec 21, 2015 Joeyr rated it liked it
Shelves: 2015-list
The story was intriquing to start.
Not a bad cozy. I'm not a fan of the male point of view in cozies, so I wasn't taken by the whole thing.
No, it doesn't take place at Christmas, the drums are taiko and poor Tom Christmas found himself with a call to ministry so there he is, an Anglican priest doomed to be Father Christmas. He also was orphaned twice, has four mothers and was a stage magician for some time. That's a fair bit to be dealing with but he has lost his wife to a murderer in his parish in Bristol and is now looking for a quiet parish where he can raise his 9 year old daughter. The one thing he doesn't seem to have any dif ...more
Mary Baker
Sep 20, 2016 Mary Baker rated it liked it
The writer does a good job in the writing of this novel. If he hadn't, I would not have kept reading to the end. I thought the book was tediously drawn out.
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C.C. Benison is the pen name of Doug Whiteway, a journalist and author who lives in Winnipeg, Canada. He has a degree in journalism from Carleton University in Ottawa and has worked for the Winnipeg Tribune and the Winnipeg Free Press.

He is the author of a series of murder mysteries set on the estates of Queen Elizabeth II where the crimes are solved by housemaid Jane Bee, with the Queen's help. T
More about C.C. Benison...

Other Books in the Series

Father Christmas Mystery (3 books)
  • Eleven Pipers Piping (Father Christmas Mystery #2)
  • Ten Lords A-Leaping (Father Christmas Mystery #3)

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