Wednesday, November 28, 2012

"Eleven Pipers Piping"

C.C. Benison is the writer most recently of the crime novel, Eleven Pipers Piping. He has worked as a writer and editor for newspapers and magazines, as a book editor, and as a contributor to nonfiction books. A graduate of the University of Manitoba and Carleton University, he is the author of five previous novels, including Twelve Drummers Drumming and Death at Buckingham Palace. He lives in Winnipeg, where he is at work on his next Father Christmas mystery, Ten Lords A-Leaping.

He applied the Page 69 Test to Eleven Pipers Piping and reported the following:
Page 69 of Eleven Pipers Piping nudges one of the themes of the novel, that of marital love and protection and their (sometimes perilous) limits, and illustrates one of the arcs of the Father Christmas series, that of finding and committing to new love. In the first novel in the series, Twelve Drummers Drumming, readers meet the Reverend Tom Christmas, an Anglican priest and recent widower, still coping with his loss. In this sequel, he begins to move on with his life, denoted on this page by his dilemma of what to do with his wedding ring, still on his left hand.

Page 69:
“But you’re a young man …” She didn’t need to say more. The implication was clear: You could marry again.

“Odd,” he said. “You’re the first person to remark on this. At least in my hearing.”

“I don’t mean to offend.”

“Don’t apologize. I have wondered from time to time what I should do with it … the ring. I expect in some way, I’m not really quite ready …” To let go, to move on, he thought, which removing the ring would imply. “I wonder for instance what my daughter will think…”

“You do have your own life.”

“Yes … yes, of course.”

“Don’t mind me. I’m being intrusive.” Judith laughed lightly. “You have other family, I’m sure.”

“Yes, at Gravesend. Shall we?” He gestured in the vicinity of the private dining room toward which the other guests were drifting. “They were all down at Christmas,” he continued happing to abandon the topic of rings. “My wife’s parents live in London and dote on their granddaughter. We were up to London at half-term. And then there’s my wife’s sister—she used to live here in the village, but she moved to Exeter in the summer, which is a pity, but, still, she’s near enough. So, on the whole, I’m not … ill commoded when it comes to rellies.

“And you?” he added conversationally, “do you have children?”

“I have a son,” she said as they passed into the dining room where Kerra was finishing setting out the coffee service.

“And where does he live?”

“My son? Oh! In Shanghai.”

“So far away. That’s a pity. What does he do?”

“Oh, what do they call it? I. T.?”

“Ah, computers.”

“I’m afraid he’s not able to come home very often.” Judith resumed her seat.

Tom resumed his and glanced around the table as the other guests returned to the room, now chilled slightly in the absence of human bodies and the
Learn more about the book and author at C. C. Benison's website.

--Marshal Zeringue