Father Tom Christmas, the recently widowed vicar
adjusting to life in the English village of Thornford Regis, would do almost
anything to avoid attending the annual Robert Burns Supper at the local hotel.
But as chaplain to a traditional Scottish pipe band, Father Tom must deliver
the grace, and contend with wailing bagpipes, whiskey-laced parishioners
reciting poetry, and the culinary abomination that is haggis.
As snow falls to unprecedented depths, the
revelers carry on, briefly interrupted by an enigmatic stranger seeking
shelter. Then Will Moir, proprietor of the hotel and a dedicated piper,
inexplicably goes missing, only to be found dead in the hotel’s dark tower from
what appears to be a heart attack.
Father Tom’s own heart sinks when he learns the
actual cause of Will’s demise. When word gets out, the flurry of innocent
speculation descends into outlandish gossip. And, for all its tranquil charm,
Thornford Regis has plenty to gossip about, illicit trysts, muted violence,
private sorrows, and old, unresolved tragedies.
The question is: Who would benefit most from the
piper’s death? Suspicion swirls around many, including Will’s beautiful widow,
their shadowy son, Will’s obnoxious brother-in-law, and even the mysterious
party crasher, who knows more than she lets on about the grudges she left
behind, but never forgot.
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