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Publisher's Summary

The welcome return of C. C. Benison's delectable series featuring Father Tom Christmas - "an irresistible addition to the ranks of clerical sleuths" (Julia Spencer-Fleming).

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.

©2012 C. C. Benison (P)2012 Random House Audio

What members say

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  • Constance
  • New York, NY, United States
  • 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

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  • louise
  • BETHESDA, MD, United States
  • 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

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

Loved it!

Would you consider the audio edition of Eleven Pipers Piping to be better than the print version?

I love holding a book in my hands and turning the pages while I read. At times it's easier to listen to an audio book while getting on with my day. Since my holidays were busy, this audio book was perfect handsfree entertainment.

What did you like best about this story?

Kept me guessing as to who the mastermind was behind this fascinating plot. Suspenseful and intriguing.

What about Steve West and Jean Gilpin ’s performance did you like?

Fantastic! Each character had their own voice characteristics. Easy to tell one character from the other.

If you were to make a film of this book, what would be the tag line be?

If it were to be released around the holidays, "12 Mysterious Days of Christmas"

4 of 5 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

Literate but . . .

Any additional comments?

I'm sorry to say, for me, the plot line really dragged, none of the characters were very likable. Some good descriptions of things but excess verbiage on things not adding to character or plot made me feel like I was reading someone who just likes to hear him/herself talk.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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It takes a WHOLE village...

Phew! This is a good book, a good mystery, but quite challenging to listen to. I believe it would fall into the category of a "cozy," but they are usually light enough listening/reading that one doesn't feel too many demands getting through them. Not so with this book by C. C. Benison.

Father Thomas Christmas is a vicar in a small village, and has to attend a Robert Burns supper where there will be traditional piping and Haggis served. Snow is quickly closing in, everybody has drunk a bit too much, and a visitor arrives just slightly before one of the pipers is found dead.

Story, character development and mystery are quite good. But what is hard is the sheer length of the book and extraordinary number of characters in it. I would say every single person who lives in this place sooner or later becomes one of the cast. I had to begin this over several times, because I thought the confusion I felt must have been my lack of attention or something. After several tries, I realized that no sooner did I think I knew the characters, than new ones, new plot twists, had just been added. It needs a companion book to help sort out who everybody is.

In the end, I just listened as best I could. It helped when I realized that there were an unusual number of people and shifts of situation, and it would not be possible to keep up with them all. Oddly, that helped :-). In reading the reviews from those who read this instead of listening to it, I understand there was a list of characters in the beginning of the book. So I cannot understand why they didn't get included in the narration--it would have provided a resource to check back with.

So if you are interested in a book with the characteristics of a cozy(meaning, in my mind, not too much blood and gore along with fun characters in the books instead of violent ones) this is worth the listen. But don't try to do it while attending to other things, and suggest paper and pencil to write down the names so you won't get lost in it. I actually think it was a good bookin the end.

7 of 10 people found this review helpful