Rest You Merry
Charlotte MacLeod
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Rest You Merry (Peter Shandy #1)

4.01 of 5 stars 4.01  ·  rating details  ·  880 ratings  ·  69 reviews
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.
The Armchair Detective Library, 222 pages
Published by O. Penzler Books (first published January 1st 1978)
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Sep 15, 2007 Cindy rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: fans of comic mystery
Shelves: mysteries, christmas, cozy
First in the Peter Shandy series. Very funny. Set at the fictional Balaclava Agricultural College. Out of print, something different. Worth looking for.
1977, #1 Professor Peter Shandy, Balaclava Agricultural College, New England; murder of an obnoxious woman at Christmastime involves a quiet academic in sleuthing and affection; her first adult novel, it's filled with all the right stuff for a lovely cosy village-type comedy/mystery, plus a bit more. Three-and-one-half stars.

Peter Shandy has had enough. QUITE enough, thank you, of being badgered and harrassed by the university's faculty wives, about participating in the college's annual “Illumi...more
This is the first in Charlotte MacLeod's Professor Shandy mysteries. In it we are introduced to Professor Shandy and several of the recurring characters in this series. Although each mystery stands on its own, it does help to read this one first if you can so that you can get to know these characters. If you enjoy humor based on character portrayals, you will enjoy these mysteries.
This is an annual re-read for me, and it was fun, as usual. I love the description of Peter's outside decorations, and the escape he makes immediately afterwards. I also love that he meets Helen March, librarian, through circumstances difficult to explain without plot giveaways; happily for me, the two are meant for each other :).
Book Review: Rest You Merry by Charlotte MacLeod

This is the first book in the long running (10 books) Peter and Helen Shandy mystery series, by the late Charlotte MacLeod, veteran mystery writer. It came out in 1978 and feature Professor Shandy, an aging bachelor professor at a fictitious New England college. A book very much in the Agatha Christie school of mystery, it was a humorous "closed door" murder mystery that provided several memorable characters.

Professor Shandy, a bachelor in his earl...more
For years, Professor Peter Shandy has been badgered in vain by Jemima Ames, Assistant Librarian and Annual Chairperson, to decorate his campus home for the Grand Illumination which is Balaclava Agricultural College's main fund-raising event. Now he can hold out no longer. Goaded to madness, he buries his small brick house under an avalanche of plastic reindeer, flashing lights, and fake Santa Clauses, hooks up an amplifier blaring "All I Want for Christmas is My Two Front Teeth," locks the switc...more
Reading this book right after reading Total Recall, I was struck by the fact that I had to comment in the review of that book on how capably Paretsky had kept her different characters straight--or, rather, so well defined that I as a reader had no difficulty in keeping them straight, even though there were considerably more than two dozen of them. In this book, however, I kept getting lost, absolutely confused as to who was who, when there were only a dozen of so characters. I am intrigued by th...more
Kamas Kirian
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....more
Perhaps it is with the knowledge that Charlotte MacLeod first drafted this as a short story, that I find the introduction weaker, detached from the astonishingly well-developed setting that unfolds. There is a smorgasbord of characters to digest, which is fine if one is on board with the protagonist. I relate less well to the male perspective, if nowhere near my lifestyle. At first, ‘Peter Shandy’ come across as a doddering, unmarried professor who appears out of synch with his peers. He overdoe...more
"Rest You Merry" is a litte, cute cozy mystery, perfect for this time of the year. MacLeod is not America's Agatha Christie, as the cover claims: the mystery is far from the masterpieces which are Christie's works, but the book is nonetheless very well-built and enjoyable to read.

The thing I appreciated most was the writing, which is always neat and elegant, and at the same time deliciously witty: I really laughed out loud at several lines. And the writing is what makes the main character, Profe...more
Professor Shandy has finally decided to fight back. His neighbors, all staff of Balaclava College, celebrate a lucrative Christmas each year by turning their neighborhood into a Grand Illumination, with lots of treats and keepsakes for tourists to buy. Peter Shandy, owner of the only undecorated house, at last gives in. But with a bite. His decorations are so garish as to be intolerable. Once they are set up, Shandy flees for a week-long sea voyage.

He regrets his joke when he comes home and find...more
Randee Baty
I don't have enough good words to say about this mystery! It's funny, it's witty, it's warm, it's cozy and the mystery is excellent! One of my all-time favorite cozies.

The setting is at Balaclava College, a small agricultural college with a cast of kooky characters that keep you amused from the start. Professor Peter Shandy, the fifty-some year old hero, and Helen, the 40 something year old heroine, are two of the most pleasant characters in the mystery world. You'll wish you lived next door to...more
Sandy H
Professor Shandy himself was a likable enough character and if I'd liked the writing style and the mystery itself any better I might be more inclined to read further in the series. Unfortunately, I couldn't get completely behind the writing style and found aspects of it off-putting. Additionally, it was a mystery in which there were several pages of exposition at the end to explain all the things that the reader was highly unlikely to have figured out for herself, which I've never liked. I like...more
A nice little cozy mystery set on a agricultural campus with wacky characters and goings on. Professor Peter Shandy has been pressured year after year to decorate his house on Presidential Circle to add to the Christmas festivities. Finally in a fit of pique he has it professionally done with garish decorations, obnoxious lights, and repetitive, blaring music. He locks it in place and takes off for a cruise. When remorse sets in-- and the ship returns due to mechanical difficulties --Peter comes...more
First read back in the early 80s but re-read for f2f Mystery group. On second reading I didn't find this as wildly funny as I recalled but attribute this to the cumulative effect of having read and loved all the Peter Shandy series which concentrates the memories of enjoyment. Absolutely love the crazy little world of Balaclava College & environs. So many quirky characters. Some aspects of the mystery this time around seemed to have been solved too easily (as if just pulled out of a hat). W...more
I picked this up purely for the rather cracktastic premise – mild-mannered professor goes slightly mad, outdoes himself on the uberannoying Christmas decorations, and then flees on a cruise, leaving his neighbors to deal with the aftereffects – a premise which, frankly, made my grinchy little heart shrink even further with pure joy. But utter disappointment set in when I discovered that this premise is established in the first two pages and resolved by the third (he felt guilty and came back).

Ken Bickley
This is a first-rate mystery, introducing Prof. Peter Shandy, a reluctant detective who must solve the murders of two of his colleagues at Balaclava Agricultural College. I look forward to reading the other 9 books in the series. Charlotte Macleod (1922-2005) was a very good writer.
Perfectly pleasant cozy-type mystery, which takes place in the ’70s and stars an old-fashioned professor at a small American agricultural college. I liked Professor Shandy’s quiet wit and general oddness, and MacLeod manages to deliver at least one deliciously creepy image. This was a rec from Wychwood, and I can see why she enjoys the series; if I stumbled across any of MacLeod’s other books at a library sale, I’d probably snatch them up. However, this wasn’t memorable enough that I’ll be activ...more
I laughed out loud at the reaction of the professor (Peter Shandy, PHD) who bought the best, loudest and brightest Christmas decorations in a childish reaction to a neighbor's determination that he needed to decorate. It was a little clumsily written, but overall it is still my favorite among all the Shandy stories, and quite possibly among all of this author's books, both as Macleod and as Alisa Craig (where she did another series about a western writer and his wife).

I learned from this book no...more
Julie Duffy
Perfect little cozy mystery full of larger-than-life secondary characters and a sympathetic, flawed protagonist. Really fun. Sophisticated use of language in places that made ma laugh out loud, but not a difficult read at all. I can hardly believe the book was written in the 1970s as, for something that relies so heavily on social interactions, it doesn't seem at all dated. Brava, Ms McLeod. (I immediately downloaded the next one, and the next one after that!)
This Is Not The Michael You're Looking For
While not a bad mystery, the characters and (to a lesser extent) setting failed to grab me. Primary character, Peter Shandy, worked well, and I liked love-interest Helen, but most of the supporting cast was way too over-the-top and the narrative felt rather jumpy due to the in-your-face nature of so many of the characters. Over half the characters come across as alcoholics and most of the women are portrayed as bored, horny housewives. I had higher hopes for this book.
Oct 26, 2013 Jackie rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: cozy mystery readers, Yankees
Recommended to Jackie by: my sister
Got the holiday blues? Here’s one of my annual cures to the overhyping of Christmas, read Rest You Merry. One too many holiday wreaths gets handed to Peter Shandy & he snaps. If “The Crescent” wants Christmas decorations, he’ll give them Christmas decorations; which is a great idea until he returns from his escape to sea to find a dead body in his living room. Things get crazier and funnier and the next thing you know, you’ve been come addicted to Peter Shandy novels.
This is the first Peter Shandy mystery. I am in the process of re-reading a bunch of Charlotte MacLeod books and while I like the Sarah Kelling series better, this is a good cozy series also. Once again, there are a lot of quirky characters and a lot of humor. In this one, Peter returns from a trip to find a neighbor dead in his living room and he has to figure out why.
Feb 19, 2009 Kevin rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Fans of Neal Stephenson's Big U, but much better written
Laugh out loud funny, bachelor Professor Peter Shandy, must deal with Christmas, murder and an the unprecedented attention of the females in his sphere of colleagues at Balaclava Agricultural College in this biblo-mystery, when he first must inform his best friend that his wife was found dead by Peter after performing a prank on his neighbors.
Actual Rating: ***1/2
Prof. Peter Shandy of the Balaclava Agricultural College takes matters into his own hands when Christmas celebrations get a bit too much for him in this first in the Peter Shandy mystery series. Yes, murder is involved; but the over the top characters, holiday festivities, and clever dialog had me laughing throughout.
It's been years since I first read this book. The second time around I was a bit disappointed that it hadn't been more fleshed out. The characters and plot were a bit thin, but I still feel that these are characters I'd like to read more about, and hopefully the sequels will help put the flesh on this bare-bones beginning.
Good cozy mystery with a twist...the main character is a male. Peter Shandy is a horticultural professor at a university in New England, who dabbles in amateur sleuthing. He has his work cut out for him when several suspicious deaths occur during the college's annual Grand Illumination festival during Christmas holidays.
Enjoyed this first in her Peter Shandy series. Lots of suspects, clever solution. The mystery is set on the campus of a small agricultural college where the 'closed room' is a faculty housing community. The characters' distinct personalities add a touch of humor and promise for the next mysteries in this series.
An old school American mystery set in a quaint college town complete with nosy neighbors and armchair detective, Professor Shandy. The author's writing style reminds me a bit of Agatha Christie but with a touch of humor. While not necessarily a breakneck page turner, definitely an enjoyable read.
A delightful little mystery set in a small university town at Christmas but don't let the holiday theme put you off - it can be read any time of year. This is the first (and I think the best) of the Peter Shandy mysteries featuring Balaclava Agricultural College and its assorted colourful characters.
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Goodreads Librari...: quotes around publisher name 3 16 Dec 24, 2013 08:26PM  
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Naturalized US Citizen

Also wrote as Alisa Craig

Charlotte MacLeod, born in New Brunswick, Canada, and a naturalized U.S. citizen, was the multi-award-winning author of over thirty acclaimed novels. Her series featuring detective Professor Peter Shandy, America's homegrown Hercule Poirot, delivers "generous dollops of...warmth, wit, and whimsy" (San Francisco Sunday Examiner and Chronicle). But full...more
More about Charlotte MacLeod...
The Family Vault (Kelling & Bittersohn, #1) The Silver Ghost (Kelling & Bittersohn, #8) The Withdrawing Room (Kelling & Bittersohn, #2) The Bilbao Looking Glass (Kelling & Bittersohn, #4) The Luck Runs Out (Peter Shandy, #2)

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