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Father Tom Christmas, the recently widowed vicar adjusting to life in the English village of Thornford Regis, would do almost anything to avoid attending the annual Robert Burns Supper at the local hotel. But as chaplain to a traditional Scottish pipe band, Father Tom must deliver the grace - and contend with wailing bagpipes, whiskey-laced parishioners reciting poetry, and the culinary abomination that is haggis.
As snow falls to unprecedented depths, the revelers carry on - briefly interrupted by an enigmatic stranger seeking shelter. Then Will Moir, proprietor of the hotel and a dedicated piper, inexplicably goes missing - only to be found later in the hotel's dark tower, alone and dead from what appears to be a heart attack.
Father Tom's own heart sinks when he learns the actual cause of Will's demise. When word gets out, the flurry of innocent speculation descends into outlandish gossip. And, for all its tranquil charm, Thornford Regis has plenty to gossip about - illicit trysts, muted violence, private sorrows, and old, unresolved tragedies. The question is: Who would benefit most from the piper's death? Suspicion swirls around many, including Will's beautiful widow, their shadowy son, Will's obnoxious brother-in-law, and even the mysterious party crasher, who knows more than she lets on about the grudges she left behind - but never forgot.
Brimming with wit, full of genuine surprise, and featuring one of the most memorable (and unlikely) detectives in mystery fiction, C. C. Benison's second Father Christmas mystery will delight listeners with a puzzle that truly defies solution.
Customer ReviewsMost Helpful
By Constance on 10-29-13
Multi-layered, character-driven mystery
Any additional comments?
This is a "village cozy" in the tradition of classic British mysteries. It is well written, with fully developed characters in a wide variety of personalities and tones. The plot is complex and even a touch bizarre, but all the dots connect at the end. I highly recommend this for people who enjoy Agatha Christie and Dorothy Sayers. The narrator is top notch.
15 of 16 people found this review helpful
By louise on 12-07-13
Fabulous winter mystery
If you could sum up Eleven Pipers Piping in three words, what would they be?
Entertaining, atmospheric, engrossing
Did the plot keep you on the edge of your seat? How?
Unlike other mysteries where someone dies (is killed) in the first ten pages, this author takes time to develop the surrounding characters (and eventual victim.) By the time the victim is killed, the listener/reader already has suspicions about what actually happened.
Have you listened to any of Steve West and Jean Gilpin ’s other performances before? How does this one compare?
No - but this one is great.
If you were to make a film of this book, what would the tag line be?
A snowed-in Rabbie Burns dinner in a quaint English village goes terribly wrong when a reveler is found dead in the hotel watchtower: heart attack or poison?
Any additional comments?
I never read (or listened to) any works by this author before but I was looking for a UK-setting for a Christmas/winter mystery. So glad I stumbled upon this. If you have a lot of driving to do over the holidays, plug this in and forget the radio - something to look forward to every time you click on the ignition.
4 of 5 people found this review helpful