Another Brentwood librarian recommended this book and it was a quick and delightful read. Published in 1978, there were quaint references to dialing a telephone and arriving at the local airport within 20 minutes of a departing flight. The story was timeless, however, set in a small college town with faculty loyalties, betrayals and the jollity of the Christmas season. It has some romance and the spice of illicit activities, too.
When several local citizens turn up dead, the holiday merriment flees as Professor Peter Shandy finds no rest, only bodies. He is not a suspect even though the first murder victim turns up in his home, an apparent accident from a decorating impulse gone awry. Shandy notes the obviously staged scene of the crime does not stand up to the accident verdict. As he begins to investigate, he is joined by a newcomer to the area (an intrepid librarian) and romance sparks between them.
The author's deft touch offers a large dash of wry humor, some real science, and a realistic take on human frailty, greed and optimism. The characters are fun, especially Shandy. He is every faculty curmudgeon, bah, humbug, but with great humanity. Plus, he is redeemed by a charming librarian; what is not to like about this?