Thorn Court Country Hotel tower, England/C.C.Benison (John Whiteway)
Not only had I visited the village 19 years before what I thought was my first visit, I had stayed in the very hotel.
—C.C. Benison, author
C.C.Benison stormed the Christmas book sales last year with his novel, Twelve Drummers Drumming. It was the first in a cozy new whodunit series set in England and featuring vicar Tom
Benison has made a pledge to write an entire series of 12 books, one for each day of Christmas. For example, Ten Lords A-Leaping is due to hit shelves in 2013.
Eleven Pipers Piping has just marched onto bookshelves so SCENE asked Benison to give us a sneak preview.
A hotel is the setting for tragic death in Eleven Pipers Piping, the Father Christmas mystery following last autumn's Twelve Drummers Drumming.
In this new novel, the hotel, a 19th century Italianate confection with a Belvedere tower, dominates the fictional village of Thornford Regis, which is set in Devon, England. Thornford is based on a real Devon village named Stoke Gabriel, some few miles west of Torquay, a city probably best known outside of the UK as the setting for the comedy series Fawlty Towers.
I had picked Stoke Gabriel as a likely place to set the Father Christmas novels largely from a picture book, and when I first visited in 2005 I found it had all the elements I needed for an English cozy mystery setting - including a wonderful old hotel.