Wednesday, December 4, 2013
Ten Lords A-Leaping by C.C. Benison
I really loved this book, the 3rd in the Father Christmas Mystery series. Personally, I think it's the best one in the series so far. Written in the style of a traditional British cozy mystery, this book is a wonderful read with solid likable characters.
One of my favourite part of the book is the vicarage housekeeper's letters to her mother. Mrs. Madrun Prowse periodically writes updates to her mother to keep her informed as to what is happening at the vicarage or in this case at Eggescombe Park. For the reader, the letters provide a nice recap of the mystery, as well as some new information that Madrun picks up or overhears, including bits of juicy gossip. The letters are written in a conversational style, just as she would talk. She's hilarious.
Father Christmas is one of my favourite characters in cozy mysteries. What I love the most is his way of getting to the bottom of things, which doesn't entail traditional investigating. He mostly does it by asking the right questions, noticing things that others miss, and putting it all together before drawing conclusions. In this story, we get to see how vulnerable he is, both physically and emotionally. Even though he's a man of the cloth, he's not invincible, nor is he a saint.
Jane Bee, the housemaid, from the Her Majesty Investigates series, also by C.C. Bension, is a major character in this story. She's Lady Kirkbride now. I've only read one of those books (so far), but I just love her. I was ecstatic to see her in her new role and hope to encounter her again. The next book, maybe? Two other characters that I really liked were Roberto Sica, the artist, who sculpted in the nude, and Maximilian, the fanciful young boy, who kept Tom Christmas's daughter, Miranda entertained during their visit.
Despite the family tree (which I appreciated very much) and cast of characters that the author provided at the beginning of the book, I still got some characters and family relationships mixed up. Part of it was the titles, Lord this and Lady that. I didn't know that earls, viscounts, and marquesses (among others I'm sure) were all addressed as Lord. Of course, there's a similar list for females with titles, who are addressed as Lady. Anyway, I think I had it straightened out by the end of the book.
Here are my reviews for the first two books in the series: Twelve Drummers Drumming and Eleven Piper's Piping. I loved them both. I also read Death at Buckingham Palace before I started blogging. You can read what I thought of it over at Bookcrossing.
With regards to the reading order in this series, I think it's probably best to start with the first one. It's a great series and you won't be disappointed. Besides, this story contains quite a few references to other "cases". If you're not bothered by that, though, there's nothing wrong with starting with this one. As I said before, I think it's the best one to date. You could always go back and read the others.
I still have a few older books by Benison on my to-be-read shelf. I really have to dig them out.
Highly recommended. I can't wait for the next book, which should feature Tom Christmas and the Nine Ladies.
C.C. Benison is the pseudonym of Doug Whiteway. He lives in my hometown: Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada.
For more information about this book and the author, please visit the RandomHouse website.
For more information about the author and his other books, please visit C.C. Benison's website.
I'd like to thank the author, C.C. Benison, who generously sent me a copy for review.
Ten Lords A-Leaping by C.C. Benison, Delacorte Press (Random House), ©2013. ISBN 9780385344470(Advance Uncorrected Proof), 491p.