I recently started rereading the Peter Shandy series by Charlotte MacLeod. I last read them in high school and I had forgotten just how good they are.
Rest You Merry
Professor Peter Shandy of Balaclava Agricultural College comes back from an abbreviated Christmas cruise to find his next door neighbor, and wife of his best friend, dead in his living room. Some things don’t seem to add up to him, and with the help of Helen Marsh (who’s been requisitioned to take care of the victim’s house while his friend visits his daughter in California) Shandy tracks down the responsible party.
A wonderful cozy mystery. Not very long by today’s standards, but well written and well paced. The quirky characters felt very comfortable and relatable, which made keeping track of individuals within the story much easier. It seemed a little odd that Balaclava was considered so forward thinking in that they had the students run the faculty cafeteria to give them real world job experience. This seemed the norm when I started college in ’90.
There were a few things that struck me while reading it. 1) Expectations in culture have changed somewhat. Frugality was in, now it’s extravagance and over-indulgence. Having one car was an understandable necessity; having two was ostentatious. Sugar was a luxury. Packing a single small suitcase for a week long trip. 2) I’d forgotten how varied the vocabulary was. Perspicacious and alacrity are rarely used in today’s novels. 3) Everyone drinks and pretty much all the time. Seems they are always having a sherry, or a highball or something. Someone would walk into a room and they’d be offered an adult beverage.
The Open Road eBook was well formatted, though there were a handful of misspellings.
The Luck Runs Out
The faculty and students at Balaclava Agricultural College thought that whoever turned the horseshoes upside-down in the stables didn’t really mean to bring bad luck-until the college’s prize sow is pignapped, and gentle Martha Flackley, the college farrier, is found murdered in the mash feeder.
Another well written edition to the Shandy lineup. I thoroughly enjoyed it. Once again, it was a funny and erudite cozy mystery. I kind of forgot how good these books were. I really love President Thorkjeld Svenson, he makes the books as much as Peter and Helen Shandy do. I did think the whole plot to smuggle the precious metals out of the county was a little too clever and overly complicated, but it was still an extremely entertaining read. Though rather short by today’s standards, it also had a much wider ranging vocabulary than most of today’s fare.
The Avon paperback was well formatted though it did have a handful of misspellings.