Looking for a something to give to a bookworm friend or family member? Twelve Drummers Drumming by Winnipeg writer C.C. Benison might be the perfect choice.
Twelve Drummers Drumming transports us to a small town in rural England. It features the Reverend Tom "Father" Christmas who takes on the role of detective when one of his parishioners gets murdered.
Twelve Drummers Drumming marks the debut of a planned twelve-book mystery series featuring the brilliant Father Christmas.
SCENE asked author C.C. Benison why he sets his novels in Britain:
Why do you write novels set in Britain, I'm sometimes asked, even though I've lived almost all my life on this flat communion wafer of a landscape known as the prairies. Well, I must blame - excuse me, point to - several things:
Two of my grandparents were born in England; the other two had English and Scottish roots.
An aunt who became an important figure in my childhood emigrated from England.
I grew up at a time when every schoolroom had a Mercator projection map and all the pink bits signaled the Commonwealth.
Over the chalkboard at the front of the classroom was a picture of a certain monarch and her consort, as ever present as Mao in a Chinese classroom at the time (perhaps still).
Hard to believe but we sang God Save the Queen as one of our "national" anthems and didn't think it odd.
Canadian children's literature was scarce on the ground then, too, so when I wasn't reading The Hardy Boys, I was reading A.A. Milne or Enid Blyton; then, as a teenager, graduating to Agatha Christie and P.G. Wodehouse and that ilk, with further cultural-imperialist enforcement coming with the British Invasion in music, film, and fashion: The Beatles, To Sir With Love, Mary Quant.
But the thing I would most like to blame - excuse me, point to - is this: landscape. I seem to have grown up on the prairies, but in reality I spent my earliest years in a cookie-cutting of pan-North American, post-war suburbia. I could have been almost anywhere.
More to the point was the terrain in which friends and I played: Assiniboine Park - a thousand acres of gently rolling lawn, set against groves of stately elms, ornamented with a serpentine water feature and formal flower gardens, and punctuated at its heart by a reproduction, complete with half-timbering, of a Tudor pavilion. Built by Winnipeg's ascendant Anglo bourgeoisie at the turn of the last century, the park replicates as much as it can - no surprise - the English Landscape style of the 18th century.
There! That's why I write novels set in Britain.
C.C. Benison (Robert Barrow)
Above photo: C.C. Benison (James Hammel)
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