Tom Christmas is an Anglican priest (yes, that would make him Father Christmas), a widower and a parent of pre-teen Miranda. He serves as vicar in the picture-postcard village of Thornton-Regis, but there is one cloud on his personal horizon; he is expected to say the blessing at the annual Robbie Burns (he of “auld lang syne”) Supper a festivity which features haggis as the main course. The feast, whose entertainment is supplied by the Thistle but Mostly Rose South Devon Pipe Band (translation: more Brits that bonnie lads), occurs on one of the snowiest nights in memory, so many of the guests do not appear, and one who does ends up dead. That would be Will Moir, proprietor of the Thorn Court Hotel, the site of the Burns Supper. In addition, a woman shows up at the men-only eventa woman who says she has roots in the community and is thinking of investing in the Tidy Dolly Tea Shop. In short order, ingesting bites of haggis, tatties and neeps is the least of Tom's concerns.
When the general assumption that Will had a heart attack proves false, the weapon of choice is regarded by most to be yew berry seeds which might have been in the dessert created by Tom's housekeeper, the matriarchal Mrs. Prowse. That innocent lady (as well as several other townsfolk) comes under the scrutiny of CID Inspectors Bliss and Blessing who seem to be everywhere at once.
Yes, there is a bit of mayhem, but there are also the villagers who provide quite a bit of literary entertainment. There is Mark Tucker who took a creative writing course and has decided to write a book about a boy wizard and call it Harvey Porter. When Tom asks the name of the school Harvey attends, Mark replies, “For some reason Pigblisters popped into my head.” Mark's other idea is a Civil War (That would be the Cavaliers vs. the Roundheads) romance whose heroine would be a red-haired charmer named Pinkie O'Shea.
This is the second novel in the Father Christmas series, and in it, there is a plan to have members of the local peerage jump out of an airplane to raise money for the church. So, now we can wait with great anticipation for Ten lords a-leaping!
To learn more about this and other books, visit the Boulder City Library at 701 Adams Boulevard, 293-1281, www.bouldercitylibrary.org