The lead character is actually a widowed vicar by the name of Tom Christmas. He makes his home in the rectory with his daughter Miranda and housekeeper Madrun. I happily settled in with a pot of tea and gingersnaps, eager to visit Tom and the lovely, quirky residents of Thornford Regis.
Tom has been asked to attend and bless a historical reenactment of a 1645 battle. The original battle "...appeared to be rather less a 'battle' than a 'skirmish', or perhaps, an 'incident' or - really - little more than an 'unpleasantness' as the weary locals dragged themselves out for a final bash at one another in the protracted war that divided England in the seventeenth century." And it is here that the body is found.
Father Tom is such a great lead. He's likable, naturally curious, kind and thoughtful. His vocation lets him make discreet inquiries and piece things together himself. He just can't help himself. The residents are a mixed bunch - quirky, suspicious, friendly, nosy, secretive, helpful - there's no lack of suspects in this parish. There are many I miss from previous books and *hope* there might be more Father Christmas and et al tales. I truly miss Madrun's missives to her mother.
Thornford Regis reminds me of one of those English village displays you'd see on a mantle at Christmas - the church, the local meeting hall, the corner store, the manor house, a tea room (where you would find me) and more.
The first three books in this series are distinctly cozy - despite the bodies. This latest novella is a cozy entry as well, but with a darker 'why' at the heart of the whodunit.
I can heartily recommend this latest Father Christmas - it's an engaging, easy little read that will entertain you. And the size of the book makes is just right for Christmas stockings!
Join At Bay Press and Whodunit Mystery Bookstore for a virtual launch of The Unpleasantness at the Battle of Thornford happening tomorrow - November 4th. Check out the details here.