A Christmas scrooge discovers a murdered librarian in this holiday novel from an Edgar Award finalist known for her “witty, literate, and charming” mysteries (Publishers Weekly).
Each December, the faculty of Balaclava Agricultural College goes wild with holiday decorations. The entire campus glitters with Christmas lights, save for one dark spot: the home of professor Peter Shandy. But after years of resisting the school’s Illumination festival, Shandy suddenly snaps, installing a million-watt display of flashing lights and blaring music perfectly calculated to drive his neighbors mad. Then the horticulturalist flees town, planning to spend Christmas on a tramp steamer. It’s not long before he feels guilty about his prank and returns home to find his lights extinguished—and a dead librarian in his living room.
Hoping to avoid a scandal, the school’s head asks Shandy, sometimes detective, to investigate the matter quietly. After all, Christmas is big business, and the town needs the cash infusion that typically comes with the Illumination. But as Shandy will soon find out, there’s a dark side to even the whitest of white Christmases.
A fun COSY mystery
This isn't a hard-boiled crime novel with desperate people littering the pavements. It takes place in an idealized university town where everyone knows everyone else and everyone has a few personality quirks. The main character is an older tenured professor who isn't above displaying a few quirks of his own. I found the book fun as the characters interacted but there were a few problems with the VERY heavy-handed type casting of security/police in a small town as completely inept and foreshadowing who to consider as villains in the crime. It may be something similar to Angela Lansbury, but with the twist where she spends most of her time wandering around a campus and visiting odd yet strangely fascinating people.