Reviews: Ten Lords A'Leaping

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Publishers Weekly

An affable lead with a sympathetic backstory anchors Benison’s carefully crafted third Father Christmas mystery. Four years earlier, the Rev. Tom Christmas, the vicar of St. Nicholas Church in Thornford Regis, lost his wife as a result of a violent crime, and even as he serves his flock and takes care of his daughter, who has “reached the age of finding her father faintly embarrassing in certain instances,” the wound is still fresh. Christmas once again turns sleuth with his discovery of the strangled corpse of Oliver fforde-Beckett, seventh Marquess of Morborne, on the grounds of the Devon estate of fforde-Beckett’s brother-in-law. The victim, an entertainment entrepreneur, had no shortage of people wishing him ill, including family members disgruntled at his unilateral decision to sell valuable paintings belonging to the family trust and replace them with forgeries. Readers will hope that Christmas will keeping detecting past the partridge-in-a-pear-tree volume.

 

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Reviews: Eleven Pipers Piping

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Publishers Weekly

Canadian author Benison successfully applies a classic Agatha Christie framework to a contemporary setting in his impressive second whodunit featuring Rev. Tom Christmas (after 2011’s Twelve Drummers Drumming). Christmas, who has been vicar of St. Nicholas Church in Thornford Regis for less than a year, finds himself in the midst of another murder investigation. Some months earlier, Will Moir, coach of a cricket club for teenagers, “flared with rage at Harrison Kaif in language unbecoming to an adult charged with children’s welfare” during a practice. This unfortunate incident may have led the 14-year-old to commit suicide soon after. When Moir is poisoned, the obvious suspects are members of the dead boy’s family. The vicar provides solace as best he can, while employing his empathic gifts to the crimesolving. The interplay among the residents of Thornford Regis creates a rich psychological background and gives this entry even more depth than its predecessor.

 

Kirkus Reviews

...a must-read for lovers of classic English mysteries, chock full of suspects, red herrings and details of village life.

 

Booklist

Widowed vicar Tom Christmas returns for a second adventure in this satisfying, twisting mystery. He attends his first Burns dinner only to have the host, Will Moir, found dead before the end. Mysterious guest Judith decides to stay at the vicarage and has secret ties to many people in the area. When the detectives discover that Will was poisoned, possibly with the tarts Tom’s housekeeper made, the townsfolk point fingers. Tom is the recipient of many confidences about Will and his wife, Caroline, who is now acting strangely. At the town’s traditional wassail, another victim is claimed, and Tom hurries to find out what is happening. Many surprises and layers here add to the clever characterizations. Fans of traditional British sleuths will enjoy this, along with titles by M. C. Beaton and G. M. Malliet.

 

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Reviews: Twelve Drummers Drumming

starPublishers Weekly

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 … An intelligent and empathic protagonist and skillful prose make this a winner.
 
 

Library Journal

This marvelous series debut by Ellis Award winner Benison (Death at Buckingham Palace) is a satisfying, character-driven read. The author presents a full plate of options, leaving the reader puzzling through the possible motives of an intriguing ensemble cast. The likable vicar and his Nancy Drew– loving daughter should become reader favorites. Highly recommended.
 
 

Kirkus Reviews

A promising departure … this English village mystery moves slowly while the many interesting characters are fleshed out, but it proceeds deftly to a grim conclusion.