Professor Peter Shandy finally succumbs to Jemima Ames, Chairperson for Balaclava Agricultural College's major fundraiser, the Grand Illumination. He buries his small brick house under an avalanche of tawdry plastic and escapes on a sea cruise. But he returns to find Jemima dead on his living room floor and a murder to solve.
Poor Peter, he thought he'd pulled a fast one on the overbearing wife of his good friend when he finally caves to her demands of Christmas decorating, goes completely overboard, and then skips town for the holidays before he can be discovered. Only nothing works out as he planned, and his little joke ends up with him being responsible for solving her murder. I really enjoyed Peter's character, he's a smidge curmudgeon, but also unexpectedly mischevious. I kept imagining a middle aged aged Ian McKellan or Peter O'Toole, even though the character is not British, it was that twinkle they get when they're up to no good that made me smile in imagining. There is also a dash of romance for our scholarly bachelor, if he can keep out of trouble long enough!
This is my first Charlotte MacLeod read and I give it a definite recommend for holiday reading and cozy mystery lovers. I'm looking forward to seeing what trouble Peter gets into next!