Monday, December 12, 2011

Mystery Mondays: Charlotte MacLeod's Rest You Merry (1978)

The holiday season is upon us, and now is the time to introduce my favorite Christmas mystery novel of all time, the late Charlotte MacLeod's Rest You Merry (1978) featuring Peter Shandy.  I read this first book in the Peter Shandy mystery series as an undergraduate and immediately fell in love with Macleod's quirky sense of humor and distinctive writing style.  The story begins with Shandy, a professor at Balaclava Agricultural College, deciding to get revenge on his obnoxious neighbor, Jemima Ames, for badgering him over the years about holiday decorations for his house.  Purchasing as many tacky and annoying items as possible, he sets everything up, leaves all the flashing lights and blaring music on, and flees town for an ocean voyage.  Unfortunately, the voyage meets with disaster and Shandy is forced to return home, only to find the body of Jemima Ames in his living room.  While the authorities deem it an accident, the professor is convinced that her death was murder, and he sets out to discover the killer, hopefully before the killer finds him!

This book sets the scene for a delightful New England university town full of colorful and eccentric characters.  This was my favorite of MacLeod's many mystery series, and I still enjoy going back to reread these novels.  In fact, I think it is time I reread Rest You Merry for Christmas this year!

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