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

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3.48 of 5 stars 3.48  ·  rating details  ·  960 ratings  ·  206 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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Silence by Becca FitzpatrickThe Iron Knight by Julie KagawaDaughter of Smoke & Bone by Laini TaylorHalf-Blood by Jennifer L. ArmentroutThe Son of Neptune by Rick Riordan
Best books of October, 2011
54th out of 82 books — 184 voters
Hercule Poirot's Christmas by Agatha ChristieThe Adventure of the Christmas Pudding by Agatha ChristieCupcakes, Paws, and Bad Santa Claus by Pamela DuMondI Am Half-Sick of Shadows by Alan BradleyThe Nine Tailors by Dorothy L. Sayers
Christmas Mysteries
93rd out of 239 books — 90 voters


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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 2,046)
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Mandy
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
Mary Ronan Drew
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:
...more
Ray Palen
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
...more
John
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
...more
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
...more
Lori
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
Luanne Ollivier
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
...more
Larraine
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
...more
rabbitprincess
Aug 29, 2012 rabbitprincess rated it 1 of 5 stars
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
...more
Scott
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
Jeff
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
Lindsay Gentles
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!
Tristan Macavery
A delightful read, with a solid mystery, sufficient clues, excellent characters and local color, and a dash of Austen-like wit from time to time. The author never talks down to the reader, always making him keep up with the clever machinations of the story.

My sole bone to pick, and it's a small one (metatarsal, perhaps?), is that the author interweaves times and frames of reference that, on occasion, make it difficult to pick up the thread if one is interrupted during reading. In this sense, the
...more
Maryann
In the English countryside, in the little town of Thornford Regis, Father Tom Christmas is the new vicar, almost by accident, as he showed up for a funeral the day the previous vicar went missing. He is still recovering from the murder of his wife and a change to a small, sleepy town seems in order for him and his daughter, Miranda. Until the murder of Sybella, a 19-year-old with a past. Father Tom is part sleuth, part shepherd of his flock and a wonderfully written character.

This is a great st
...more
Rebecca
Two years after his wife's brutal, unsolved murder, vicar Tom Christmas takes his young daughter Miranda and settles in the village of Thornford Regis, where he anticipates a quieter life. He's bound to be disappointed, of course--all readers of British cozies knows that the worst possible place to move is a British village; that's just asking for it, thanks to Christie. In any case, during preparations for the May fair, Tom visits the village hall where a group of young drummers is practicing. ...more
Julie
A widowed vicar and his 9 year old daughter move to a small village to get away from the inner city where the vicar's wife was murdered. They are finding life in the village idyllic until the choir director's daughter is found murdered on the day of the fair. Is this murder connected to her use of drugs, her snooping personality, her famous parents, or perhaps the disappearance of the previous vicar a year earlier?

This book was nicely written. Engaging, well-paced, and with interesting plot twi
...more
Sopha
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.
Leslie
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
KarenF
I enjoyed this mystery but it did drag a bit in places. It also had a little bit of "first series book syndrome" where you're introduced to so many characters and so much backstory that it gets a little difficult to digest. I think having the vicar at the center of the story lent an interesting take on the English village mystery. In some ways people open up to him more, but in others they put on their best face for the priest. I liked his relationship with his daughter but could have done witho ...more
Christi
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.
Mary
An excellent and uncommon cozy mystery

This is a life more hard-edged than the usual cozy mystery. The characters are more complex and the story really kept my interest until the very end. I was excited to find this was the first in a series so I went to Amazon to pick up the second . Unfortunately, I discovered that all subsequent books in the series cost $12.99. The author has published a number of other books and this is obviously the publisher's price. However, I refuse to pay that much money
...more
Teri-k
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
Becky
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
Lauri
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.
Julie
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Kathleen
I enjoyed the story however some parts were slightly annoying. The main character was a vicar in a little English parish and yet, every time he was in conversation with a woman, the author felt the need to have the priest mentally undress her. As if the man, who was recently grieving the loss of his wife, could not speak to women without seeing them as a sex object. The rest of the time, his thoughts were often on his late wife and how he tragically lost her. The rest of the story was interestin ...more
Drew
I just couldn’t get into this. The mystery develops over the first third of the book or so then unravels slowly. It was fairly easy to put most of the pieces together before the big reveal of “the clue” so while I didn’t know exactly who done it, I knew why and I knew who hadn’t so I had a pretty good idea.

The characters were a bit static and cookie cutter of the type you would find in your standard small town story which doesn’t help the book stand out.

Finally with a name like “Twelve Drummers
...more
Susan Bertke
Well written mystery with lots of twists & turns. The drummers of the title are a group of students in this English village that have taken up Japanese Taiko drumming. They're scheduled to play at the village May Fayre, until a young woman is found stuffed into one of the drums.

My only negative comment: If you were saddled with a name like Tom Christmas, would you really agree to be the Vicar of a church named St. Nicholas? That bit of cuteness was not enough to keep me from grabbing up the
...more
Kate Watson
I avoided this series for a long time because of the name of the main character, Father Tom Christmas, thinking is was going to be seasonal and hokey. What a mistake to judge a book by the name on its cover. I discovered Twelve Drummers Drumming to be a well written, interesting and original story. [return][return]Not the type of character I normally gravitate toward, the center post of the series is an English vicar who flees to a small town with his young daughter after the murder of his wife. ...more
Tina
Nov 30, 2012 Tina rated it 4 of 5 stars
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
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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
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: A Mystery (Father Christmas Mystery #3)
Eleven Pipers Piping (Father Christmas Mystery #2) Ten Lords A-Leaping: A Mystery (Father Christmas Mystery #3) Death at Buckingham Palace (Her Majesty Investigates #1) Death at Sandringham House (Her Majesty Investigates #2) Death at Windsor Castle (Her Majesty Investigates #3)

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